1st Whisky-Schiff Lucerne

Based on the same concept as the Whiskyship of Zürich, the 1st Whisky Schiff (Whisky Ship in English) was held at Lucerne in Switzerland between March 23 and 24, 2007. Since this was the first edition, the festival was held on two ships.

The Whisky-Schiff was held at the proximity of the famous wooden bridge of Lucerne.

During the two days of the event, only one master class was organized, but I didn't attend. On the other hand, I took my time to visit the different retailers and tasted quite a few whiskies in a very comfortable atmosphere; not too crowded.

The mobile distillery of Brennerei Lüthy

At the Lateltin stand, the Swiss distributor for Springbank, Bruichladdich, Longrow and Murray McDavid, mainly the same products as in Zürich were present (click here to read the report) and the only product which I tasted was the Glen Spey 1974 Murray McDavid, 30 YO, Mission 4, 46%, a very smooth and light whisky, with its flavour profile dominated by honey, with a short and round finish.

I moved then to the stand of Angel's share, with the Morrison Bowmore and MacArthur products. I started with the MacArthur Longmorn 1990, 14 YO, 59.7% cask 30110, a rich, fruity, round and floral Longmorn, with vanilla and some blackcurrant, which gets on heather when diluted. The second whisky I tasted was the Glen Garioch 1988 from MacArthur, 18 YO. 53.9%, cask 1535, a surprising whisky, rich, full of flavours, complex, with heather and honey married with the malt. Excellent, with more depth and complexity than the regular bottling. Amongst all the MacAthur and Bowmore products, I spotted a bottle of BenRiach 1986, OB, 58.6%, cask 285 that I could not resist to try. This whisky was heavily peated, nutty and spicy and on dry rye bread with a long and intense peated finish showing some sweetness. For the last tasting, I tried the new Bowmore 25 YO, OB, 43% in its new bottle. The Bowmore 25 YO is now replacing the 21 YO. It is nice, round, on sweet honey, sea spray and round peat. Smooth, not too complex but easy to drink and quite docile.

The stand of Acla da Fans with the rarities on the top right shelf.

On the same deck, there was Acla-da-Fans, selling rarities and the Strathblair products. I haven't heard of the Strathblair collection and decided to try to the very appetizing Glen Grant 1970, The Strathblair Collection 2, 55.5%, bottled for Switzerland, 84 bottles, a very sherried Glen grant, deliciously smooth, on black berries and sweet fruits, full, relatively spicy with a long, silky and lingering finish. I did not hesitate to take one back home. They had a full display of Bowmore Sea Dragon 30 YO, OB, 43%, Edition 2006 limited to 1800 bottles, which I could not resist to taste. It was a nice round and full sherried Bowmore, lightly peated, on berries, toffee, some diesel, liquorice and seaweed, with a disappointingly short finish. Good but nothing special and not comparable to the excellent old ceramic bottles of Bowmore. Amongst the rarities, I went for a dram of Glen Garioch 1968, OB, 56.6%, cask 626. A beautiful peated Glen Garioch, with a harmonious equilibrium between the peat, the sherry, the juicy malt and the sweet exotic fruits. A superb whisky that is unfortunately not any more available. If you find it!

On the other side of the deck, Glenfarclas, Highland Park and other Macallan and Bunnahbhain were represented by the Smuggler. Highland Park released in 2005, a very dark sherry single cask bottling for Switzerland and available for tasting was the Highland Exceptional Single Cask (ESC) 2 for Switzerland, OB, 55.5%, 15 YO, cask 4888. In contrast to the 2005 version, the ESC 2, is almost as sweet and round, but more spicy and more explosive, with the peat more present giving a different caracter. The ESC 1 was sweet round and hone, bu the ESC 2 was sweet and explosive. I liked it very much. I moved then to the Highland Park 30 YO of the MacPhails collection from G&M, 43%. A sweet, honey, on round peat smoke, oranges, tangerine with a pleasant maritime influence. Complex and multi-layered, an old Highland Park which I enjoyed better than the 30 YO OB.

On the same boat, I moved then to World-of-Whisky, the swiss distributor of Signatory and Tullibardine. I could not resist when my eyes fell on the Glen Grant 1965, 40 YO, Signatory, 56.8%, cask 5543, a rich, spicy, very floral and resinous sherried Glen Grant with a long and rich spicy (curry) finish, but maybe a tad woody. An excellent sherry Glen Grant from Signatory. After that, I went for the Brora 1981, 25 YO, Signatory, 60.1%, cask 1519, a round, sherried, maritime and mediumly peated Brora, a bit harsh with some fruitiness. Not bad. From the same distillery, I also tried the Clynelish 1973, Signatory, 45.5%, cask 8914, a delicious, sweet, juicy and fruity Clynelish, lightly peated. Very pleasant on the palate with a rich fruity component. An excellent whisky, that will appeal to the Clynelish connoissours.

JWWW, David Stirk and other products at the stand of Monnier.

At the stand of Monnier, representing the products of Cadenhead, Jack Wiebers, David Stark and Mackillops, I tried two Glen Grant and two Longmorn. The first Glen Grant was the Glen Grant 1971, 35 YO, Cross Hill, 53.6%, with lots of sherry, exotic and ripes fruits, some rubber and with some saw dust. Complex and rich, but with some woody/saw dust notes in the finish. The second Glen Grant was the Glen Grant 1970 Prenzlow Collection, 33 YO, Jack Wiebers (JWWW), 55.1%. As dark as the Cross Hill, the JWWW is sweeter, rounder, with more exotic fruits (mangos) and stronger influence of berries to the Cross Hill. It is also smoother on the palate and slightly more peated. A beautiful Glen Grant, maybe not as expressive as the Cross Hill, but more complex and subtle. I really loved it! The Longmorn 1972, MacKillops, 58.3% cask 1099 is a quite typical Longmorn from the 1970s, probably matured in a refill sherry, allowing the floral side of the Longmorn to be expressed, with a nice and subtle sherry influence. Very easy to drink. The Longmorn 1976, MacKillops, 54.3%, cask 5879 is comparable to the 1972, but more floral, more fruity and sweeter. This Longmorn is deliciously sweet and very remarkable. If you like the sweet and fruity Longmorns, in balance with the sherry, don't miss this one!

On the second boat, to finish off my day, I went to the Glen Fahrn stand, the new swiss distributor for Duncan Taylor. For the event, they had also the products from Diageo, LVMH (Glenmorangie, Glen Moray and Ardbeg) and Balvenie. The tasting notes of the Ardbeg Almost There are published here and I focused my tastings on the Duncan Taylor products. The first dram was the Benriach 1968, Duncan Taylor, 48.6%, 262 bottles. Very similar to the OB cask 2712, it is a beautiful expression of Benriach, on blackcurrant and sweet exotic fruits. After the first day, all the bottles were sold out but new ones will come. Before I left, my last dram was the MacDuff, Duncan Taylor 1968, 38 YO, 45.4%, cask 8545, an extremely fruity whisky, on mango and exotic fruits, with a very smoky (pipe) finish.

A small selection of the products at the stand of Glenfahrn.

I regret no having spend some time at Pernod Ricard Swiss (Glenlivet, Longmorn), who had unfortunately not the new Longmorn 16 YO for tasting or at Michi's Whiskywelt and their Blackadder selection.

In conclusion, I had the opportunity to enjoy a broad selection of whiskies in a very pleasant atmosphere. The prices were correct and I paid for most of the drams between 3 and 8 CHF (2-5 euros/ 1- 4 £/ 2-6 $). It was not as busy as in Zürich and you could really take the time to enjoy your whiskies and talk to the retailers. This was really agreable and I will not miss the Whisky-schiff 2. In addition, the surroundings are really nice, like the city itself.

P.Brossard ©08 April 2007