2016 saw many celebrations, with Lagavulin's 200th Anniversary and Richard Patterson's 50 Years in the industry. Take a look below at what went on.
200 Years of Lagavulin
To celebrate the bicentenary of Lagavulin, we will be joined by Dr Nick Morgan, Diageo’s head of whisky outreach and an expert in the history of Scotch whisky, as he shares stories from his 25-year association with the brand and the distillery. Expect a compelling combination of facts, history, personal anecdotes and some very special whiskies.
We will be delving into the archives to try whisky from the 1980s and an incredible 1938 vintage bottling of the White Horse blend, known for its strong Lagavulin influence – all alongside the iconic Lagavulin 16 Year Old, the celebratory 8 Year Old and Islay Festival release. In addition, there will be a final mystery dram that we will hopefully be able to reveal closer to the tasting.
If you are interested in the history of Islay whisky or whisky production in Scotland in general, then this is the class for you. If you're a Lagavulin fan, you can’t miss it.
50 Years with Richard Paterson
Known as ‘The Nose’, Richard began his career in whisky in 1966 as a production assistant at a Glasgow blender. In 1970 he joined Whyte & Mackay and five years later, he was promoted to master distiller at the impressive age of 26. He still holds this position today and when not in his Glasgow laboratory, spends his time travelling around the world to teach people about whisky.
We are privileged that Richard will be hosting this special masterclass to mark this milestone in his career. This is sure to be a truly unforgettable experience.
A Beginner's Guide to Whisky
Becky Paskin, editor of Scotchwhisky.com and renowned whisky expert, will guide you through the basics, from the whisky production process through to nosing and tasting techniques, plus how to distinguish between different whisky styles from different corners of the earth.
During the one-hour session you will learn:
- the unique characteristics of different whisky-producing regions
- how whisky is produced, from grain to bottle
- how whisky’s complex flavours are created
- the skills to identify key aromas and flavours
- how to identify a whisky’s maturity and cask type
- nosing and tasting techniques
This masterclass promises to give attendees the confidence to explore the fascinating world of whisky further, during The Whisky Show and beyond.
Bowmore: from One Master to Another
The distillery is both named after and located in Islay’s capital, and is one of Scotland’s earliest distilleries, dating to 1779. It is unique on the island as its whiskies, loaded with smoky, tropical-fruit flavours, sit firmly in the centre of the peaty spectrum, in contrast to other Islay distilleries.
David Turner has been with Bowmore for 25 years. He started in the malt barns and mash house, working his way up to head distiller before becoming distillery manager in 2012.
Eddie MacAffer initially worked in the warehouses before moving on to malt barns and then the position of master distiller. Eddie has been with Bowmore for 50 years, meaning the pair have racked up three-quarters of a century at the same distillery.
The masterclass will showcase the distillery’s past five decades, from the legendary fruit bombs of the 1960s and 1970s to the feistier drams of the 2000s. This is an incredible opportunity to try a fantastic line-up - with a total value of more than £30,000 - hosted by some of the longest-standing staff members of Bowmore.
Cigar and Whisky Pairing
James J Fox are the oldest cigar store in the world and have been trading for more than 225 years at their home: 19 St James's Street in London. Glenfarclas is one of Speyside's greatest treasures and has been an indepent family run distillery since 1865. We are delighted to have them both join us at the show to teach us about this wonderful tradition.
There will be three classes on each day, matching a different cigar with a Glenfarclas whisky. The pairings have been carefully chosen to best express and compliment one another. Nic Barker, cigar expert and one of the few people to hold the prestigious qualification of ‘Master of Havanas’, will be on hand to lead us through the pairings;
- 1.00pm – Glenfarclas 10 Year Old with Por Larranaga Picadores
- 3.00pm – Glenfarclas 21 Year Old with Montecristo Petit Edmundo
- 4.30pm – Glenfarclas 15 Year Old with Bolivar Belicosos Finos
Each session will last for approximately 35-45 minutes.
While Glenfarclas was founded in 1836, it’s since 1865, when John Grant bought the distillery, that it started to gain recognition. Still owned by the Grant family, it is now run by father-and-son team John and George Grant, who continue the family’s traditional approach to production. Sherry-cask maturation is the signature style at Glenfarclas, producing whiskies loaded with notes of dried fruit and sweet spice.
Our host for the masterclass is son George, the sixth generation of the family to work at the distillery. George is brand ambassador and loves to introduce his family’s whiskies to appreciative drinkers around the world. In this class we will taste some of the distillery’s best whiskies of the past 70 years, including single casks, old bottlings and some of George’s favourite from the current range.
In 2011, Glenfiddich was the first single malt to sell more than one million cases in a year, but despite its huge scale, the attention to detail and years of experience has ensured that its flagship 12-year-old whisky is the world’s biggest-selling single malt. The distillery was established in 1887 by William Grant and is still family run to this day.
Brian started as a whisky chemist at the company in 1997, but his keen nosing ability led to him becoming malt master David Stewart’s apprentice. After years of training, Brian took over from David and is now responsible not only for Glenfiddich’s single malts, but also the rest of the Grant’s range of single malts and blended whiskies.
In this masterclass, Brian will take us on an exploration of some of Glenfiddich’s most innovative expressions and will explain how the distillery remains at the forefront of the industry. Along with the ground-breaking 15yo Solera and 26yo Excellence, and the serendipitous Snow Phoenix, we will get to try The Original, a recreation of the original 1963 recipe for Glenfiddich Straight Malt, and two unreleased cask samples.
An essential masterclass for all Glenfiddich fans.
Kavalan Sherry Finishes
The past few years have seen a meteoric rise for Kavalan, Taiwan's first single malt distillery. From a handful of releases that could be only found in south-east Asia, Kavalan has grown its award-winning range and you can now find Taiwanese whisky all around the world.
We are delighted to announce the arrival of the new Kavalan Solist Manzanilla, Amontillado and PX in the UK, and that they will be showcased, along with the award-winning Solist Fino, at The Whisky Show in a tasting that highlights the effects of different styles of sherry on the maturation of whisky.
Kavalan master distiller Ian Chang and whisky expert Dave Broom will present four sherries made by the distillery's cask supplier, each paired with a whisky from Kavalan's Solist range, aged in a cask that once held that style of sherry.
This is not only an incredible opportunity to try four incredible whiskies with the distiller who created them, but also a chance to delve deeper into the world of whisky maturation and the influence of sherry.
This a must for fans of Kavalan and sherry-matured whisky.
Kilchoman and Chichibu
Over the past decade there has been an explosion in the number of distilleries around the world. Building a modern distillery from scratch, rather than on years of tradition, is a daunting prospect, and only a handful of producers have achieved worldwide recognition. We are very pleased to announce that we will be joined by two of the most successful – Kilchoman's Anthony Wills and Chichibu's Ichiro Akuto.
While their distilleries seem at first to be very different – with Kilchoman sitting on the Rhinns of Islay off the west coast of Scotland and Chichibu perched in the hills of Saitama Prefecture in central Japan – they appeared on the scene at the same time and have been confronted by many of the same problems during the development. While the result of their hard work over the past decade is the excellent range of whiskies that we are now able to try, it has been a difficult path to follow.
In this masterclass, hosted by whisky author Charles MacLean, Anthony and Ichiro will tell us about the successes and challenges that they've had in setting up their distilleries and will give us the chance to taste the whiskies that their extensive efforts have made possible.
This is an incredible opportunity to try some rarely seen drams and hear from two of the most respected pioneers of modern whisky.
Three Masters of Whisky
One of the most talked-about masterclasses from the 2015 Whisky Show was Three Legends of Whisky, bringing together three of the best-known Scottish whisky blenders for an afternoon of stories, toasts and fantastic drams. This year, we have looked further afield and assembled three experienced whisky makers, well known for their hands-on experience of producing spirit.
Each of the masters will be selecting three whiskies for the class:
a current whisky they have created
a whisky that they consider to be a masterpiece
a whisky that they have created specially for this class.
Alan Winchester is a veteran whisky maker, with more than 40 years of working in distilleries. During that time, he has been involved in every part of production, from mashing and brewing to warehousing, distilling and blending. One of the most respected whisky makers in Scotland, he is now master distiller for The Glenlivet. He's a busy man, but after years of trying, we've finally managed to get Alan to The Whisky Show.
Dr Bill Lumsden is a biochemist with a PhD in microbial physiology. He has been working in the industry since the mid-1980s, but became well known to whisky fans after becoming Glenmorangie distillery manager in 1995. He is now responsible for all of the spirit produced at Ardbeg and Glenmorangie as well as being the curator of both ranges.
Shinji Fukuyo is the chief blender for Suntory, who he joined in 1984. A graduate of Heriot-Watt university in Edinburgh, he has also created whiskies for Bowmore, Glen Garioch and Auchentoshan. He now leads the Suntory blending team, overseeing production of Yamazaki, Hakushu, Chita and Hibiki.
Whisky writer Dave Broom will host the tasting, which promises to offer a fantastic insight into the world of whisky making.
Nine whiskies and three master makers with more than 100 years of experience between them.
Whisky Speed Dating
Scotchwhisky.com is offering the chance to get to know some of Scotland’s most-loved and experienced whisky heroes in an intimate, yet fast-paced speed dating session. Each presenter will bring along one exceptional, rare dram with which they hope to win your heart, though they will have just 10 minutes to put their charms to the test. With only five people at each table, it’ll be an intimate affair with time to get know both your date and their whisky.
All proceeds from this masterclass will be donated to five charities nominated by our presenters.
Becky Paskin, editor of Scotchwhisky.com, will host the session while acting as stern timekeeper and wingman.
Five distillers. Five whiskies. One winner.
Alan Winchester is a veteran whisky maker, having racked up over 40 years of working in distilleries. During that time, he has been involved in every part of production, from mashing and brewing to warehousing, distilling and blending. One of the most respected whisky makers in Scotland, he is now master distiller for The Glenlivet and oversees distilling across Chivas Brothers’ entire distillery portfolio.
Dr Bill Lumsden is a biochemist with a PhD in microbial physiology. He has been working in the industry since the mid-1980s, but became well known to whisky fans after becoming Glenmorangie distillery manager in 1995. He is now responsible for all the spirit produced at Ardbeg and Glenmorangie, and – as head of whisky creation – is responsible for the distilleries’ many experimental releases.
Brian Kinsman started as a whisky chemist at William Grant & Sons in 1997, but his keen nosing ability motivated malt master David Stewart to take him on as his apprentice. After years of training, Brian took over from David and is now responsible not only for Glenfiddich’s single malts, but also the rest of the Grant’s range of single malts and blended whiskies.
Eddie MacAffer started work in Bowmore’s warehouses in 1966 before moving on to its malt barns, and eventually the position of master distiller. After spending 50 years with the Islay distillery, Eddie is officially retiring this October, making this one of the last opportunities for him to regale whisky fans with his tales of Bowmore.
Nick Morgan is head of whisky outreach at Diageo, the world’s largest producer of Scotch whisky. He may not be a distiller as such, but Nick’s knowledge of Diageo’s brands, the men and women who created them, and the strategies which made them world famous, is unsurpassed. Nick joined United Distillers (now Diageo) in 1990, when he established the world’s largest collection of historical material relating to the spirits industry. He earlier taught modern Scottish History at the University of Glasgow.