Hanse Spirit 2017 – Explore the liquid life (Event)

Hanse Spirit 2017 (Whisky Fair Hamburg Spirits Whiskey Gin Vodka Rum Drinks Event)

From February 17 to 19, Northern Germany’s biggest whisk(e)y and spirits fair, Hanse Spirit, took place in Hamburg – for the seventh time in a row. Needless to say that the BarleyMania gang did not think twice about going there. We already had a blast at last year’s event and were really excited about another weekend dedicated to our favorite drinks. Besides whisk(e)y from every corner of the world, there was also a huge selection of other spirits available, including rum, gin, vodka, korn and more. For us, however, all eyes were on the water of life. (T)

Two steps in, I kicked off my Friday evening whisky adventures with a real highlight. At the booth of Berlin-based special interest importer Prineus GmbH, I bought a dram of Compass Box’s 10th anniversary edition of The Nectar – a limited edition exclusively released in Belgiun. Through their connections, the Prineus staff managed to score one of these rare bottles and thankfully they decided to give the Hanse Spirit folks the chance to taste it. I was told that The Nectar Tenth Anniversary is basically a marriage of Compass Box’s own Spice Tree blend with select Ardbeg single malts. So essentially, it utilizes the same formula as the incredibly good Flaming Heart, albeit with Ardbeg instead of Caol Ila. I found the Islay peat to be surprisingly powerful in this whisky, which certainly is a good thing. Especially, when it gets such wonderful support from its full, rich and spicy “partner” whisky. If they had full bottles for sale, I would have been tempted to bring one home… (T)

One booth that I kept returning to throughout the whole weekend was the one of Flickenschild from the small town of Itzehoe in Northern Germany. They brought along some really nice bottlings from distilleries like Glenfarclas, Penderyn, Ardbeg and many others. In addition to these standard bottlings, they also presented some whiskies exclusively bottled for their own brand. One of them was a Bruichladdich from a blood tub, which only contained whisky for 36 bottles. It was extraordinarily sweet and very powerful – a dram you won’t find any time! But unfortunately, it was sold out at the end of the second day. Two other drams that left a huge impression on me were their own bottlings of Glenfarclas, both of which were very intense. The younger one was distilled in 2008 and bottled in 2016, while the older one was distilled in 2005 and bottled in 2015. I found the latter to be particularly good with notes of cherries, plums and red fruit jelly. I could not help but take home a bottle of the older ‘Farclas at the end of day one. Which was a really good decision, because it was sold out at the end of the second day. (A)

If you looked for value for money, the stand of the BorderShop Puttgarden was definitely one of your best options. Unfortunately, they were not allowed to sell any bottles, but they offered some very nice drams at extremely low prices. Besides a very nice 12 years old Springbank matured in a Burgundy cask, they also offered a 15 years old Glen Garioch matured in a sherry cask. These excellent drams were accompanied by a Glenmorangie Signet and a few other nice bottlings. If you ever have the chance to get to their shop on Fehmarn, you should definitely go there. Highly recommendable is also their BorderShop Whisky Festival, the next iteration of which will take place from March 31 until April 2 this year. (A)

Stopping by at Cadenhead’s booth almost has tradition for me. Last year at Hanse Spirit, I bought an exceptional 24 years old Dalmore with an irresistably syrupy rum finish from them. This year, I was looking for a Tobermory. Before I went home on Friday, I had an out-of-this-world Tobermory 20yo from The Maltman at another booth. Its salty liquorice finish stayed with me the whole night. Unfortunately, it was sold out the next day, so I had to look for an alternative. Luckily for me, the Tobermory 21yo from Cadenhead’s went for the same price and had a similar flavor profile, including that long and oh-so-good finish. So I grabbed it right away. Also at this booth, I met Fabio, who runs a great Italian whisky blog called A Song Of Ice And Whisky. We spoke before on Facebook and WordPress, but never met in person. He turned out to be a really nice bloke and sharing a dram with him was great fun. If you have not done so, check out his blog via the link below! (T)

As always, a single post like this does by far not cover everything we have seen, heard, experienced and tasted in the two days we spent at Hanse Spirit. Aaron and I could go on almost endlessly, reminiscing the amazing drams we had at the booth of the Bremer Spirituosen Contor (including a “just-wow” Aultmore 25yo that spend its entire maturation time in a sherry cask) or going into detail about the nice chat we had with the people of Kammer-Kirsch, who poured us a superb BenRiach 1998 that was bottled exclusively for their company. And as a metalhead, I also want to give the Grave Digger whisky by Aureum a shout-out. It not only tastes really good, but it also comes in one of the coolest packages I have ever seen for a whisky: a box in casket form! Ah, well… but now I better call it a quits, as this is already the longest post ever published on BarleyMania. If you still have questions about the fair or the whiskies we tasted, feel free to post them in the comments. And if you still don’t have enough, look out for the separate posts on the tastings and masterclasses we attended at Hanse Spirit. One is already live and two more will follow soon. (T)

by Aaron & Tobi

Hanse Spirit: http://www.hanse-spirit.de/ (Event)
Prineus GmbH: http://www.prineus.com/ (Importer)
Compass Box: http://www.compassboxwhisky.co.uk/ (Whisky makers)
Flickenschild: https://www.whizita.de/ (Whisky shop)
BorderShop Puttgarden: http://www.puttgarden.border-shop.dk/ (Whisky shop)
Cadenhead’s: http://www.cadenhead-berlin.de/ (Whisky shop)
A Song Of Ice And Whisky: https://whiskettini.wordpress.com/ (Blog)
Bremer Spirituosen Contor: http://www.bremerspirituosencontor.de/ (Importer)
Kammer-Kirsch: http://www.kammer-kirsch.de/ (Distillery & importer)
Aureum: http://www.brennerei-ziegler.de/ (Distillery)


    1. Yes, it was indeed a great event. Lots of nice people and an infinity of great whiskies. Having never been to a whisky fair in the Netherlands, I didn’t know the exhibitors were not allowed to sell their spirits directly at the events there. For me, a special bottle is always a nice souvenir. However, I also tend to get carried away and buy more than I originally intended at such a festival… ;)


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