Wherever my whisky life takes me, over land or sea or foam, the Midlands Whisky Festival will always hold a special place in my heart. Not only is it the first whisky festival I ever attended and the place where so much of my whisky education has taken place, but it also holds so many memories of good times and adventures with my friends. This year’s spring offering was arguably the best one yet, for many reasons, but mainly for a host of stunning drams at every turn. Below are my ten highlights, a list which took a lot of whittling down:
It’s three am. Dressed in a bright white blazer I am dancing, alone, on stage, at my local goth/biker bar, to 90s rock legends hole. I guess sometimes you just really need to celebrate!
It’s 2am on a Sunday morning.
I have no idea how I got home.
My head’s pounding and there’s a strange buzzer ringing throughout the house.
What the hell happened?
Whisky Birmingham: the first big whisky event in my calendar this year. Despite drinking whisky for a few years now, last year was my first time at Whisky Birmingham. Not only did I love it enough to return this year (despite being “hungover as fuck”, as Tomasz reminded me on Saturday), but it also convinced my to join The Birmingham Whisky Club and take whisky a lot more seriously. Needless to say, I had another great time this year. So, obligatory waffle over; here are my top ten highlights of this year’s festival: Continue reading Rob B’s 10 to 1 – Whisky Birmingham
I have a picture on my phone. It’s of me in an unknown location, wearing an unknown person’s glasses, looking miserable for an unknown reason. This can only mean one thing… Birmingham whisky festival 2017!
Now in it’s 5th year, WhiskyBirmingham, run by The Birmingham Whisky Club, is always going to be close to our hearts. As paid members of The Birmingham Whisky Club we’re big fans of Amy, Craig and Vicky and know they never disappoint.
Situated in Digbeth, a 10-15min walk from Birmingham New Street Station, The Bond is a fantastic venue with plenty of both outdoor and indoor space.
Upon entry we found 25+ exhibitors spread between 2 exhibition halls and an outdoor marquee, 2 food vendors situated in the courtyard with a covered outdoor seating area and a VIP room with some special drams and a seating area to take a break in.
As we walked in we were greeted by Amy, founder of the Birmingham Whisky Club, with a complimentary nosing glass, dream dram tokens and programme each.
We made a beeline for the coat racks before passing the VIP room and heading into the smaller exhibition hall.
Whisky festivals are without a doubt one of my favourite places in the world. Like a wedding with an exceptionally well stocked open bar, everyone is going to have a
great time. I’ve been to a fair few, learned some lessons (mostly the hard way) and have some advice: prepare, take notes, know your limits, experiment and have an
1) Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
Anticipation is always a large part of any great experience. Depending on the festival in question you could have an idea of the distilleries/bottlers attending
(likely), the dream drams on offer (hopefully), and maybe even a full list of everything on show (only happened once to me, but gave me some of the best days of geeky
whisky planning of my life!). Personally I like to research to the nth degree on everything I can find out. I would suggest you at least have an idea of some stalls
that you really want to visit, and maybe a few that you will avoid. If you want to get geeky, write them down (see item 3: take note) so you don’t get carried away and
forget. One of joys of the internet is you can research what everyone’s core offerings are, what their latest releases are and anything new and limited they might
I try to plan my first 10 drams to the letter, then hit them (especially the dream drams) with military like precission. This is when my palate is at its best, my
faculties are mostly intact, and I’ve got the most energy and interest. Once I’ve hit those first few I know I can sit back and relax, the formalities are done, and
its time to have fun. My second ten-fifteen tend to be a bit more experimental, distilleries I’ve not tried before, stuff that people are talking about/recommending,
old favourites to check the current release, looking for a surprise. Finally my final five tend to be anything goes. Bourbon, blends i’ve had before, flavoured things,
rum, gin, anything I’m not going to have to think about or analyse too much, just for the joy of it.
2) Know your limits Continue reading Tom’s Guide To Whisky Festival Winning