Saturday saw the second Manchester Whisky Festival take place at the Castlefield Rooms. After stories of last year’s binging leaked out, it was no surprise that this was a sell out. Who was going to miss out on the chance of (possible, but tricky) five hour’s (one more than last year!) drink all you want whisky?
There was, perhaps, a surprising mix of punters. Yes the white middle classes were well represented and the beer festival stereotypes were also there. But word had obviously got round; as the student presence showed-they know a chance to get off their head when they see it. And there were women. Old ones, young ones, potential nooky of all shapes and sizes, in fact.
But enough of this sociological discourse. What of the whiskies? It was interesting to try the full range of English whiskies from the St Georges Distillery in Norfolk. Both peated and unpeated versions had potential, but at 3 years old they were very green in whisky terms.
The Bangalore based Amrut Fusion has recently been hailed as the third finest whisky in the world, scoring a very impressive 97/100 in the Whisky Bible. It’s certainly complex, but very heavy. I didn’t get any of the “seductive gentleness”, only a feeling I’d been hit in the throat by a large whisky butt.
The Dutch distilled Millstone whisky was receiving a lot of attention and I (finally) was able to get a sample. It tasted rather like Glenfiddich but with a bit more bite. However, probably the best on offer was either the 41.8% Teaninich 1973 or the 46% Glen Mhor 1982. Whist not detecting the supposed white chocolate aroma in the latter, the pear and melon flavours mingled well with the peaty finish.
Despite suffering a high casualty rate, punters are already eager to see what next year’s event brings.