Whisky-live Paris 2008.
For the photographs of the event. Click here. The tasting notes of all the bottles illustrated (and more) will be provided in the months to come.
Note: This is a preliminary report written on my way home…
The whisky-live in Paris was held on September 20-21, with September 22 reserved for the professional.
This year, the whisky-live was held closed to the Palais de l’Elysée (French Government) at the Pavillon Gabriel, in once of the nicest in Paris, with a large park. The premise was also more spacious than last year, which was very welcomed. The price for the two days pass, including the VIP access was 75 euros. Slightly more expensive than last year, but worth every euro. The concept was similar to last year, but access to collectors bottlings was limited to the holder of the VIP pass and without restriction concerning the amount of collectors or premium bottlings that you could taste. In addition, there was a book corner with “dedicace”, some specials stands associating whisky with food, cocktails, tea and chocolate.
The title of this year’s edition was: L’Expérience Totale (Total Experience).
Was it a total experience? Yes!
Tasting notes will be provided on an ongoing basis, but the choice of new products was quite expensive.
So what are the new products launched and the latest news coming out of this event?
Aberlour: The new Aberlour 14 YO double matured for La Maison du Whisky (LMDW)
Ardbeg: The new Blasda, a lightly peated Ardbeg, has arrived, a sweet, young and sugary Ardbeg, with only a hint of peat. A special experience.
Arran: 1998 single cask for LMDW is present in the new catalogue of LDDW, but not on the stand. However, a 1998 in celebration of the famous Scot author Robert Burns could be tasted.
Auchentoshan: The new range was presented, including the 21 Limited edition. According to the sales Manager, Glen Garioch, one of the other distilleries owned by Bowmore (Suntory) will be completely redesigned for the end of the year or starting next year. At the collector’s stand of LMDW, the Balvenie Single Cask 1976 and 1972! were opened during the whisky-live.
Balblair: A Balblair 1987 Cask Strength for LMDW was available, as well as the full range, from 1975 to 1997. The distillery manager was present on the stand and as nice as usual.
Balvenie: The new Balvenie 17 RumCask, Signature and the 1993 were available.
BenRiach: The standard range was present. I haven’t noticed any single casks bottlings, but the new product, the Birinie Moss was present. Birnie Moss is the name that will be used in France for all peated BenRiach.
Benromach: A large range of Benromach was presented, including the Origins, Organic and 21 YO. Hannah Jenner, skipper of the race around the world presented the Benromach Latitude, a special bottling done to commemorate her race.
Bomwore: the new annual 16 YO cask strength limited edition was released.
Dalmore: The new range of Dalmore was presented, including the King Alexander III, a mixture of 6 finishes. Of course, Richard Patterson, the Master blender was there and his new book will be published at the end of next month.
Edradour: The new Edradour 2003 Port Cask and Ballechin #3 Port Cask were the new products on the sand.
Glenfarclas: The normal range was present, as well as the 1988 Glenfarclas Family cask. The distillery owner could also been seen walking around the stands. In the VIP area, the 1965 single cask family reserved was served and some samples of the 1952 and 1953 family casks could be tasted. The 1953 was a stunning Glenfarclas. Thank you Alexandre V.
Glenfiddich: The new Glenfiddich 1977 Cask Strength was launched, but available for tasting only in the VIP area. A very good Glenfiddich!
Glendronach: The new products are still to come, so the 12 and 33 YO from the Chivas time could be tasted. I had a nice chat with Billy Walker, the new owner of Glendronach. The plans are to extend the range with a 15 and 18 YO 100% sherry, as well as a few single cask bottlings by the end of the year. His plan is also to change the shape of the bottle. Good news! I managed to get a sip at the advance cask sample of the future Glendronach 1972 to be bottled by the end of the year and it is very good, with lots of red berries, spices, a long finish and without sulphury-rubbery notes.
Glen Grant: The range has considerably increased, with a 10 YO, a single cask cask strength bottle, as well as some 25 YO and Glen Grant 50 YO bottled by Gordon & McPhails.
Glenmorangie: The “new” range could be tasted up to the 18 YO, as well as the 25 YO, but only in the VIP area.
Glenrothes: The 1994 and 1978 Glenrothes bottled in 2008 were present, as well as the 1979 Cask Strength Glenrothes.
Highland Park and Macallan: No new products could be tasted and the Highland Park 40 YO could not be seen.
Isle of Jura: At the exception of the 1974 and the new packaging, no special releases.
Karuizawa: A 1986 was present, as well as a 1977 for LMDW.
Kilchoman: A 2 YO single cask spirit specially bottled for LMDW was available. The first whisky of Kilchoman is expected later this year.
Lagavulin: The new Lagavulin products could not been seen, only the 12 YO special release of 2006 and 2007.
Laphroaig: At the stand, no new products but the information was provided that the 25 YO 40% will be discontinued and replaced by a new 25 YO cask strength, at 50.9%. In the VIP area, the new Laphroaig 30 YO Cairdeas 43% was circulating.
Myagikyo 1986 single cask for LMDW. This is the first released of a peated Myagikyo and one of my preferred new product of this year.
Talisker: The Talisker 57% North had a lot of success and on Sunday afternoon, all the bottles were emptied. Fortunately, the new 25 YO Talisker made a short apparition in the VIP area.
Yamazaki: The new Yamazaki 1990 and 1993 made their public appearance.
Yoichi: Some new products were presented, as well as the Yoichi 1986 single cask for LMDW.
Berry Bros: A new highly peated Caol Ila 1996 cask strength, as well as a 1971 Glenlivet specially bottled for LMDW. An excellent Caol Ila 1982 for LMDW could be tasted in the VIP area.
Compass box: A new peat monster, with more peat, more strength and higher volume (1.5 L bottle only) was made to celebrate the 5 years of the Peat Monster.
Douglas Laing: For the first time, Douglas Laing was present at the Live, with some bottles such as a “Speyside Finest” 41 YO, a young Ardmore and a Port Ellen.
Duncan Taylor: A small selection of the NC2 and Rarest of the Rare (RoR) was present. The RoR range was mainly composed of grain whiskies. An Inverleven 1978 was specially bottled for LMDW in their “Huntly to Paris” range.
Gordon McPhail: In addition to their new packaging, a Strathisla 1964 and Caperdonich 1972 sherry for LMDW could be tasted in addition to their core range. In the VIP are, the Longmorn 1969 for LMDW could be tasted.
Part des Anges: a Hanyu 1986 was specially bottled for LMDW.
Signatory: Quite a new products, including an old Glenglassaugh could be tasted, in addition to a few other Cask Strength collection and their “unchill filtered” serie. An excellent Highland Park 1991 for LMDW was present in the VIP area. The Port Ellen for LMDW was present in the catalogue, but unfortunately not during the live.
And at the Collectors Stand of La Maison du Whisky in the VIP area, some impressive whiskies could be sampled, amongst them the Bowmore 1972 Prestonfield for la Maison du whisky, Brora 25 YO (OB, B: 2008), Brora 1980 Prestonfield, Longmorn 1969 LMDW, Rosebank 20 YO
Thank you very much Jean-Marc and Alexandre for serving us those drams. With the VIP pass, the experience was total! Well done and see you next year!
P.Brossard © 22 Sep. 2008