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Swiss Whisky Awards (4 November 2016) and Interspirits Zürich (3-5 November 2016), Switzerland


For the photo gallery, click here

The venue: Sihlcity in Zürich

I could not refuse the invitation to participate to the Swiss Whisky Awards organized by the Swiss magazine Whisky-Time.

The first awards were for the best whisky bars, with the winner being the Devil’s Place-Quaglinos that opened about 1 year ago in Switzerland. At the second place was Le Bar du Nord in Carouge.

The winners of the Best Bar of Switzerland, Devil's Place-Quaglinos in Zürich

Paul Ullrich was elected as the best whisky shop. Starting with selling whisky 25 years ago (with a selection of about 20 bottles), this was one of the first whisky shop in Switzerland.  The winner of the Whisky National 2016 was attributed to Single Lakeland malt whisky close to Biel/Bienne.

The Awards for the best shop went to Paul Ullrich AG

The Whisky International 2016 awards was won by Wild Turkey/Campari for their tasting tour 2016, a series of whisk(e)y  tasting organized throughout Switzerland to taste the Wild Turkey range. The final awards was attributed to Peter Haecky from the Haecky group, importer of the Suntory, Jim beam and Douglas Laing whisky products.

The whisky motion awards went to Peter Haecky distributing 50 brands in Switzerland

After the awards ceremony was presented the new Whisky Guide Schweiz 2017 from Patrick Tilke, highlighting a new clearer layout, with new articles, more whisky bars, shops and distilleries in Switzerland and a better coverage of the West part of Switzerland. Having browsed the book during my journey home, the improvement of the layout is clearly noticeable and the photographs are simply beautiful.  The graphical quality of the book is impressive.

The Säntis Whisky stand at Interspirits

After the ceremony, I moved to the InterSpirits, a whisky and spirit fair organized for the first time in Zürich Sihlcity.  The fair was small to very small and you pay whisky at the glass, the common practice in Swiss whisky fairs. I had a nice chat at the Chivas stand, unfortunately, the new Longmorn was not available, as they are having issues with the filling of the new Longmorn 23 YO, and thus the new products might only be available by early 2017. My first tasting was at Säntis to taste their Föhn Sturm, a 4 years old whisky matured for 3 years in ex-bier casks, and with a final maturation in a wine cask. The whisky was smooth, well matured, with a light to moderate winey influence, some vanilla and hopes. Pleasant.

A selection of whiskies at the stand of Haecky

Further, I could taste the new Jim Beam Double oak, which is basically a Jim Beam White Label, with one additional year maturation in new oak casks. This maturation in new “fresh casks” makes the whisky spicier and more oaky, with more pepper as well. The Single Minded Speyside 24 YO is a new anonymous Speyside whisky from Douglas Laing, nicely sherried and floral, with light spices and sweet fruity flavours (orange, tangerine) certainly coming from a famous distillery starting with a “M”. The Booker’s  7 YO 2015-02 was a very good Bourbon, mellow, rich, quite sweet, on treacle, cinnamon, soft spices, some peach and apricots. Very good.

A selection of the Douglas Laing products

The Douglas Laing Givran 21 YO Old Particular was a nice creamy, smooth and elegant grain whisky, with a hint of spices and a good roundness. The Port Dundas 27 YO was more mellow, fruitier and of the same quality.

At Glenglassaugh, I could taste the new single cask 2009 for Lateltin. It is young, but quite mature and with a pleasant round fruitiness.

At Paul Ullrich, I was advised to taste the Teaninich 1983 from Adelphi, a mellow, complex, rich, slightly aromatic, and with a hint of tobacco. Very good.

Ainneamh, a new range of single casks whiskies from the Lost Distillery Company.

I haven’t tried so far whiskies from the Lost Distillery Company, a company trying to recreate whiskies from lost distilleries in Scotland. A flavour profile was established based on historical information  (e.g., production reports, shape of the stills, type of barley, yeast and peat) and then a whisky produced. The Gerston was a round, slightly fruity and malty whisky, with an elegant smokiness, slightly peaty, and a lingering mineral-oily peat smoke, as well as a light fruitiness. A well made whisky that reminded me of an old recreation, the Shackleton whisky. The Lossit was a recreation in the style of the old Lossit distillery at Ballygrant, the largest distillery then on Islay. It tasted pretty much like a young peaty Caol Ila, with a dry peaty palate and a rounder finish. Finally, while the show was closing, I tasted a 21 YO Braes of Glenlivet from the new range of Lost Distilleries, Ainneamh, single cask and cask strength whiskies.

The number of visitors was limited on Friday as the number of whisky stands.  I did not visit the second floor reserved for the other spirit. There were no spitoons and the choice of whiskies quite limited, as well as short opening hours (i.e., 16-21h on Friday). A larger range of products and opening times (e.g., until 22h) would be appreciated for the next edition.

Patrick Brossard, 05 Nov 2016. Last edit: 06 Nov 2016