Monday, 9 September 2013
The Relaxed Whisky Weekend...
Maltstock, the Relaxed Whisky Weekend as it is also called, came highly recommended by many people to us in the last year, so we just had to check it out... :-)
So off we went to Overasselt near Nijmegen in the Netherlands. This is the 5th time Maltstock is being held and many whisky enthusiasts were gathered here.
I traveled there together with my husband and two friends, all for the first time being there. In the short introduction I have written before that I am just starting to explore the wonderful of whisky, and so I hoped to meet some of the people I have met online so far, and to have some lovely drams and fun off course...!
The last year a lot has happened, and also learned a lot about whisky. Many travels, distillery visits, tastings etc. over which I wrote here. But I still have my blog and notes for my own reference and do not want to be too serious about it, but just have fun that is the most important thing I find with whisky. A short walkthrough of my experiences at Maltstock...
Before checking in at Maltstock we stopped next door for some late lunch at a restaurant, and to meet also with some people we before met online. After this we went next door where the wonderful Maltstock crew welcomed us at the door. At the room a bottle of whisky was welcoming us to the relaxed weekend, very nice!
I was looking forward to have the chance to attend some great masterclasses and to have some great drams. At Maltstock many people bring a bottle to the table for sharing. This has as a result that many tables are just totally filled with bottles, so many, often I just could not choose from it.
Soon it was time for the first masterclass. Billy Abbott was on time, and according to everyone there that was something special, and he was ready to start even a bit early. He brought us some very nice bottlings from the Whisky Exchange to taste. My tasting notes and post about his masterclass can be found here.
At the masterclass it was time to get some dinner. They have arranged some Chinese food for us all. In the meantime the group I came with was together again and we found also some connection with some other people being there for the first time. Some had some other beautiful masterclasses to go to, so after dinner we split up a bit again.
So off to the tables again to have a look around for what whisky's there are and what to taste this evening. I wanted not to just drink, but also really taste and try to make some quick notes, so I can build my further reference field. So had a look around and found my self with some different editions of brands, off what I tasted something before Maltstock, and wanted to expand the list on those ones, to see what more they have.
Or from some distilleries I did notice that people brought some different bottlings, so that gave me also a chance to taste some things side by side, to try to see the differences, or to see if something I might have not liked in an official bottling I like in the independed ones... An attack plan for the massive amount of whisky available was born. Now I just had to tell my liver that it was going to have a hard job this weekend, and that it was, but fun...
Friday night we had some fun at the whisky quiz, hosted by Michael Lord. It was a challenge for sure and we found that we did know some trivia, but much was just too specific knowledge for us. We became the proud owners of the shared last spot. The only way is up we found, and see a challenge for the next time we participate! Have to brush up the knowledge, but also want to keep it also realistic and there is more then trivia...
We shared some drams with some very nice people we met that evening, and had some great conversations. There was a great atmosphere around have to say, and we had much fun. On the Saturday morning we were up early to get some very very very nice breakfast prepared for us by the the Highlander Inn. That was very welcome to us all, can tell you that.
After having this lovely breakfast I went to the Chapel for the next masterclass. The one I was looking very much forward to. Suntory presented by Tatsuya Minagawa. This was a lovely masterclass and he told us the history and differences between the Scottish and Japanese way of working. My tasting notes and post about this masterclass can be found here.
At the tables later I was also looking a bit at the not Scottish bottles. Find it very interesting to experiment a bit and try the different things out there. Found that the most there was Scottish, but found some Swedish, Danish, and also Japanese ones. Had a try at some of those, and found it very interesting to see the differences due to different climates or techniques.
Some distilleries are maybe a bit young still, but they made me curious to keep an eye out for them and see what the future brings there. This is what I find nice at occasions like this, just to be able to compare and experiment a bit. There are some beautiful expensive whisky's there to taste, but decided that I would not give in to those, and sticked to the tasting of the "a bit more easy to obtain in budget".
Don't get me wrong, have no problem with the other ones, but want to be realistic. My palate and nose are still work in progress, and still developing a lot at the moment. And find it a bit a shame to taste something, and like it, and not been able the to purchase, but just to have said "I have tasted that one, from cask no.X and year Y" No, I find that is less important. I have to enjoy it, and understand it. Whisky should be fun. Should give you a smile...
After a sandwich and some nice drams, it was time for my last masterclass of Maltstock, so back to the chapel for the Masters of Malt. We got a masterclass on the 'That Boutique-y Whisky Company' and not a line up from some other great bottlings that they have, that was were I was hoping at. Have written about it a little post together with my tasting notes on the line-up here.
The Saturday was concluded with a nice BBQ, and then we all went so warm a bit up by the huge campfire and have a little desert tasting from some great ones from Benriach, Glendronach, and Glenglassauch. We had some great entertainment and fun, and after that I rolled in to my bed for a couple of hours much needed sleep...
The Sunday morning we had another great breakfast, and then it was time to pack up and say goodbye to every one... We had fun, and we met some very nice people. It was great to be there, and I can understand why they call it the Relaxed Whisky Weekend. Thanks to the Maltstock crew for the great weekend! It was fun!