This week in London: The Whisky Show

Whisky is having a moment. If you have missed this information, then frankly, you haven’t been going out enough. I literally can’t get enough of the stuff. But maybe one of the reasons for this is that, for the past two years, I have been a keen visitor of The Whisky Exchange Whisky Show; a magical whisky haven for anyone who enjoys a good dram.

Whisky Show 2011 (1)The thing about whisky though, is that a lot of people think they don’t like it. I was probably one of these people to start with, but much like learning about wine, the trick is to drink lots of different ones, and to keep drinking until you find out what your taste buds like. There’s no wrong or right answer, it literally comes down to what YOU like. I, for example have learnt that I don’t really like Islay malts as they are a bit peaty for me. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a whole host of incredible whiskies to suite my palate. JJ has learnt that she has very expensive taste (typical)!

Whisky Show 2011 from the Whisky ExchangeTWE Whisky Show, held in gorgeous Vinopolis in London Bridge, is hands down the best place to experiment and find out what works for you. The tickets may look a little pricey initially, but for what you get they are actually great value. For the cost of your ticket you get the following: entry to the show, the opportunity to try as much whisky as you like from over 80 brands, a two course meal designed by legendary whisky and food expert Martine Nouet,  a chance to take place in master classes and indulge in food whisky pairings, access to all the experts to quiz them for their knowledge, and (my favourite) a “Dream Dram” token.

The Dream Drams are a small number of extremely rare and expensive whiskies that vary in price from about £500 to over £3,000! Trade in your Dream Dram and try a spectacular whisky you might never otherwise have to opportunity to try. Additional Dream Dram tokens can be bought at The Show if you just can’t decide which one you want.

Whisky Show at VinopolisThe master classes are also a great way to buff up on your whisky knowledge and learn to talk the talk. Previous tastings have been led by the likes of Whyte & Mackay Master Blender (who last year told me to close my eyes, imagine I was in Antarctica, had just come off the ice and could smell the penguins whilst I was trying their Shakleton whisky. Nothing like some good visualisation to get you in the mood). Legendary spirits writer Dave Broom has also spoken in the past, but my piece of advice if you go is to find Colin Dunn from Diageo. This man is infectiously enthusiastic about whisky and one of my favourite eccentrics in the drinks industry. He has a fantastic knack for making whisky easy to understand and taught me everything I know! He is also hilarious, which is a bonus.

That’s the great thing about this place. You can enjoy it whether you have a vast existing knowledge and are already a collector, or whether you just want to learn a bit more about the wonderful world of whisky and try some new brands.

See you all down there! Bottoms up.

The Whisky Exchange Whisky Show is on the 7th and 8th of October at Vinopolis.

Tickets are £99 for one day, or £185 for the whole weekend.

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