Whisky business!
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Whisky business!

Richard Cawthorne previews The Whisky Event, an exclusive showcase of more than 150 varieties of this beloved spirit, sourced from around the world

Everything you need to know about the wonderful world of Scotland’s famous uisge beatha, or ‘water of life’, will be revealed in London next month at the inaugural, exclusive and simply-titled showcase, The Whisky Event.

Hosted by The Whisky World, the one-stop show takes place on Sunday, 17 June, from 5pm to 10pm, at the J W Marriott Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane, a property that the organisers point out is “synonymous with luxury and elegance and the perfect venue for sumptuous indulgence”.

While no longer limited to Scotland, or even Ireland, it was these two countries that brought the word “whisky” to the world from their Gaelic language.

The prestigious show has assembled a wide-ranging collection of more than 150 different whiskies from around the globe and will offer a host of exclusive tasting experiences, all part of a fascinating immersion into the diverse whisky culture of today.

Setting off the tastings will be a lavish kosher buffet from Wembley-based firm, Catering by Ezri, promising “home-style cooking with flair and flavour” .

The array to be featured ranges from top labels, including Glendronach, Glenlivet and The Macallan to international distilleries that have also made a mark, such as the pace-setting Japanese company Suntory and the award-winning Penderyn operation in Wales.

Guests will also have an opportunity to taste the Diageo organisation’s 2017 Special Releases, which are being exhibited exclusively at the event.

As well as the tastings, ranging from elegant classics to the newer arrivals, and selection of food at the buffet, other features include a complimentary cocktail of the guest’s choice from a cocktail bar specialising in new flavours to be experimented with and experienced.

Visitors will also be offered a virtual-reality tour of the Glenfiddich distillery.

All whiskies will be available to buy from The Whisky World shop at the event or can be bought at any time from its online shop.

The Whisky World has also invited a host of senior brand ambassadors from some of the world’s top distilleries, who will be on hand to offer their extensive international knowledge and advice.

Their presence will give visitors added depth to the interactive tasting sessions and food pairings for what the organisers say is
“an experience like no other”.

An idea of the diverse nature of the whisky industry can be gleaned from the story of one of the newest independent players on the
scene, the GlenAllachie Distillers Company.

It was set up last year by three directors, Billy Walker, Graham Stevenson and Trisha Savage, with the idea of launching a range of premium quality, yet affordable whiskies aimed at boutique retailers in domestic and export markets.

With almost 100 years of experience in the Scotch whisky industry, the team has also bought MacNair’s and White Heather, a pair of blended Scotch whisky brands, which it plans to rejuvenate, with bottlings at
various age ranges.

Among the innovations on show at The Whisky Event, they will be launching a 100 percent richly-peaty malt blended whisky with 21-year,12-year and non-age expressions.

GlenAllachie is among the many brands looking forward to the show as a way of spreading the word about how the industry is developing, with room for independents, as well as the multi-nationals.

“We like talking to the customers that we are trying to serve,” adds Walker. “There is life in the independent sector.”

Pointing out that blended whisky is 90 percent of the total product, he adds: “The big players are very helpful, but they do recognise the importance of having a strong independent sector, which might be able
to be a little but more creative with flavours and ageing.”

The brands exhibiting at The Whisky Event give some idea of the breadth and scope of the industry today.

They include Aberlour, Ardbeg, Bain’s, Balvenie, Benriach, Boondocks, Bowmore, Bunnhabhain, Dalmore, Deanston,
Diaegeo Special Releases 2017, Elijah Craig, Evan Williams, and Flora & Fauna.

Also on hand will be GlenAllachie, Glendronach, Glenfiddich, Glenglassaugh, Glengoyne, Glenmorangie, Glenrothes, Gordon & MacPhail, Highland Park, Jura, Kilkerran, Laphroaig, Ledaig, Longrow, and Macallan, while rounding off the list are Monkey Shoulder, Mortlach, Penderyn, Smokehead, Springbank, Suntory, Talisker, Tamdhu, Teeling and Yamazaki.

Tickets for The Whisky Event are priced at £100 and include unlimited
whisky tastings, all interactive experiences, the extensive kosher buffet and an open bar.