BorderShop Whisky Festival – April 2017 (Event)

BorderShop Whisky Festival in Puttgarden in April 2017 (Whiskey Bourbon Fair Event Travel Retail Bottle BarleyMania)

If you have read our blog post on last October’s BorderShop Whisky Festival, you will not be surprised that Aaron and I headed for Puttgarden again this weekend to catch the latest realization of Scandlines’ bi-annual whisky and spirits fair. While the atmosphere, the people and the drams were just as great as they were last time, there was an additional factor that made our second visit to the BorderShop even more fun. The weather was amazing! Back in October, it was pretty cold and windy on the isle of Fehmarn in the Baltic Sea, where the floating BorderShop is located. But in early April, the sun was smiling down on us and it was so warm that we could stroll by the water in our t-shirts. Or hang out on the BorderShop’s huge summer deck and let our gazes wander forever across the endless blue. A sight to behold, believe me. (T)

Whisky-wise, we also tried something new this time and attended a masterclass. Although it was a superb experience, I will not go into detail on the 60+ minutes we spent with Beam Suntory’s brand ambassador Gordon Dundas here. Instead, I will dedicate a full blog post to it tomorrow. Beam Suntory’s booth, which was manned by Gordon and two other very nice gentlemen, I visited several times over the weekend, tasting such outstanding whiskies as a Laphroaig 25yo or a Hibiki 17yo. I also stopped by there briefly before we left and grabbed a bottle of Bowmore’s helluva punchy Springtide, which Gordon recommended to me the day before and which the BorderShop had on sale for a hard-to-believe bargain price. (T)

For me, going to a whisky fair always means catching a lot of impressions and getting in touch with different people. But time and the amount of whisky you can enjoy in one day are limited. Thus, spending much time at a single stand shows that you have found something special. This is what happened when we visited the booth of Box Whisky from Northern Sweden, where we got to know their brand ambassador Bo Eng. Time flew as Bo told us about the different whiskies from Box and the idea behind the company. We not only had a lot of fun together, but we also really enjoyed the excellent whiskies from their range. Among others, we had the very sherry-ish The 2nd Step Collection 02, the 38-ppm-strong The 2nd Step Collection 03 (which I took home later), and some other drams with different amounts of peatiness. Needless to say, we are totally looking forward to meeting Bo again in autumn. If you are curious about their whiskies, keep your eyes open for my review of their The 2nd Step Collection 02 in the next few days. (A)

When you are talking about whisky from Sweden, you cannot forget Mackmyra! Of course, they also had a stand at the fair and we were very happy they brought along their latest release, the Ten Years. A very nice dram with a pleasent sweetness and very enjoyable fruity notes matured in bourbon and sherry casks. Just a few steps to the left, we also met the people of Glenfarclas. Besides their impressive core range including the 12yo, the 18yo, the 21yo, the 25yo and the 105 in cask strength, they also offered some of their Family Cask editions. Since it is impossible to try all whiskies you are interested in on a fair, we concentrated on the 18yo this time. Just as expected, it turned out to be another very delicious dram with great value for money. It is hard to find a bottling from Glenfarclas that is not bang on target! (A)

Another booth we always enjoy staying at is the one of Glengoyne, who not only had some excellent single malt whiskies on offer (this time, I tried the 25yo and the Cask Strength) but also a super-fun spirit drink called Rocket Cat and a killer collection of heavily peated blends going by the name of Smokehead. Since whisky and fudge is always a great pairing, we also spent quite some time at the stand of BERetail GmbH, who produce whisky-infused fudge for brands such as Jack Daniels, Glenfarclas or The Famous Grouse – while all of their caramel was really delicious, the last-mentioned fudge left a particularly great impression with me. (T)

Although my main focus was clearly on whisky, I also looked over the rim of the tea cup (or should I better say Glencairn) a little. From the nice people at Altia Denmark, I bought my first bottle of cognac (a full-of-vanilla Renault Age du Temps) and learned the difference between cognac made in France and brandy produced in the rest of the world. And at the booth of family-operated Swedish micro-still Norrtelje Brenneri, I was offered sips of three different bottlings of fruit schnapps as well as a deliciously sweet punch and a very refreshing gin (ahhh, that grapefruit note!). Regardless of what your personal preferences look like, at a festival as well-sorted and ably organized as the BorderShop Whisky Festival, you will definitely find no shortage of awesome drinks and nice conversations. As goes without saying, Aaron and I will be in Puttgarden again half a year from now. And so should you. (T)

by Aaron & Tobi

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