Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2018 Wrap-up #1
Over a dozen festivals we at The Whisky Shop Dufftown, courtesy of our guests at Spirit of Speyside Whisky festival, have been trying to answer this life-affirming question. Each year we pitch 3 new contenders against the reigning champion from the previous festival to see which one wins and goes forward to the next contest.
Haggis, neeps and tatties
The winner is decided upon by guests attending our haggis and whisky tasting who vote for their favourite in a blind tasting. We have collated the votes from all of the tastings we held. Counted them. Checked them again. And ensured there was no outside influence.
We can now formally announce the results:
4th - Ben Nevis 10 Years Old (4)
3rd - Glenfarclas 10 Years Old (1)
2nd - Glen Scotia 15 Years Old (3)
1st - Tomintoul 15 Years Old Port Wood Finish (2)
The number in brackets denotes the place of the whisky in the order of the tasting.
Glen Scotia 15 had been the winner in many many beautiful tastings previously and was pipped this year by Tomintoul 15 by just 1 vote!
62 people took part and we thank them for their kind support.
This is probably the other greatest question in life so to find out what is the best single malt to have with haggis we have been asking guests to our festivals to take part in a blind tasting to vote for their favourite. We have had our guests try over 50 different single malts over the years we have been doing this experiment. This is just haggis, neeps and tatties. No additions or substitutions allowed. This is pure science!
At this year's Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival the reigning champion from the previous festival, Glen Scotia 15 Years Old, in fact the winner from the past 3 festivals, was pitched against 3 whiskies we had not tried in the competition previously. The full line up was:
Now that the festival dust has well and truly settled it is time to recap the results of our various competitions.
The Whisky Shop Dufftown Challenge for Independent Bottlers: Speyside
The Whisky Shop Dufftown threw down the gauntlet and challenged the independent bottlers to find the best Speyside Single Malt. Our guests at The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2016 voted for their favourite in blind tastings. The winner was Old Malt Cask Speyside 1993 21 Years Old from Hunter Laing.
Old Malt Cask Speyside 1993 21 Years Old (£86.95)
Adelphi Glenrothes 1991 25 Years Old (£189.00)
The Whisky Shop Dufftown Challenge for Independent Bottlers: Rest of Whisky
The Whisky Shop Dufftown threw down the gauntlet and challenged the independent bottlers to find the best whisk(e)y not from Speyside - it could be any whisk(e)y just not a single malt whisky from Speyside. Our guests at The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2016 voted for their favourite in blind tastings. The winner was Adelphi Bunnahabhain 2005 11 Years Old. We should also mention the Old Perth Sherry which coming in second place and at that price is amazing!
Adelphi Bunnahabhain 2005 11 Years Old (£75.95)
Old Perth Sherry cask from Morrison & MacKay (£29.95)
Each year, Mike as Chairman of the awards, has a look at the whiskies that did not win to see if there is another one that did really well with the public but also shows value for money considering how highly it was placed. If he sees one then he will award it The Chairmans Award for a Cracking Dram. This year he has decided there is a deserving dram and that is the Old Perth Sherry which to beat off competition from much older more expensive whisky to come second place in the Rest of Whisky category makes it worth £29.95 of any ones money.
The Best Tasting Note
As part of the Challenge for Independent Bottlers we ask our guests taking part in the judging to write tasting notes for the whiskies as well as picking their favourites. At the end of the festival we pick the best tasting notes and the winner receives a bottle of their favourite whisky from the competition.
This year it was won by Ruth Ball and she wins a bottle of Old Malt Cask Speyside 21 Years Old.
What is the Best Single Malt to go with a Bacon Roll?
According to the Guests of The Whisky Shop Dufftown during The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2016 it is Arran Lochranza which has won at 3 festivals in a row now. Could this be the ultimate companion to a bacon roll? Please note that the bacon was unsmoked. There was no sauce. This is science!
Arran Lochranza (£33.50)
Glenrothes Vintage Cask (£40.95)
What is the Best Single Malt to go with Haggis?
According to the Guests of The Whisky Shop Dufftown during The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2016 it is Glen Scotia 15 Years Old which has retained its title from the last festival. Please note that neeps and tatties where involved but the voting on the pairing was done just with the haggis!
Haggis, neeps and tatties
Glen Scotia 15 Years Old (£50.95)
Singleton of Dufftown Spey Cascade (£38.95)
The first Spirit of Speyside: Distilled festival will be in Elgin from 9 to 11 September. We will be running the retail shop at the event an we will also have a few drams for you to try. The aims is to get all the Speyside distillers under one roof with our Speyside beer and gins. It's going to be great.
The Whisky Shop Dufftown Autumn Festival run's from 22 to 26 September this year. We hope to launch the programme on 1 July with tickets on sale from 8th on our website. We will have masterclasses and distillery tours as usual.
On 12 of November we are off to Osby in Sweden for an all day tasting with Whiskygastronomerna. Tickets are available from them right now.
The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival in 2017 will be from 27 April to 1 May.
On the 8th and 9th September 2017 we will be making our return to Maltstock as they can't do with out us apparently. Tickets will be available from them later in the year. Not sure when as they are very relaxed about these things,