For the 15th time, Germany’s northernmost annual whisky fair took place in the Steigenberger Hotel right next to Kiel’s cruise terminal on the first weekend of May. Though the fair is rather small with round about ten exhibitors, it had a lot to offer for the attendees: Meeting new people and ones you did not see in quite a while, having a chat with other whisky maniacs and, of course, enjoying a lot of drams you always wanted to try. All this makes events like Whisky Fair Kiel so much fun.
I had my first dram at a booth I returned to again and again throughout the day. The very nice people of Gradls Whiskyfaessla came all the way from Nuremberg to show a selection of their range. In tried the wonderful A Drop Of The Irish 2017 St. Patrick’s Day Edition by Blackadder, which is a very fresh and fruity whiskey with lots of green fruits bottled at cask strength. I enjoyed it so much that I could not help but take home a bottle of it.
After a short lunch break I took part in the first of the two tastings I had booked. Ranald Watson, Sales & Marketing Manager at Springbank, presented four excellent whiskies and gave us a lot of insight into the world of Springbank. Starting with a great Hazelburn 13yo matured in an Oloroso cask, we went over to two cask strength bottlings. Both, the Kilkerran 8yo as well as the Springbank 12yo, were really excellent. If you asked me which one I enjoyed the most, it would be very hard for me to answer your question. They were all very different, but they were also too good to let any of them finish in second place. The last whisky of the tasting was a peaty Longrow. This was also a nice dram, but I found the other three to be in a different league.
Later that afternoon I came back to the tasting room for a masterclass with Klaus Pinkernell from the independent bottler Cadenhead’s. Leading through the tasting with a lot of charm and humor, he presented us five expressions from their enormous range. We started with a MacDuff 10yo and a Dalluaine 21yo, which were both bottled at 46%. Next came my favourite whisky of this tasting. A rather young Knockdhu that spent ten years in a bourbon hogshead and was bottled at cask strength. In it I discovered notes of honey, vanilla and yellow fruits as well as lots of cake mixture. A 23-year-old Islay malt from Bruichladdich and an 18-year-old Tasmanian whisky from Cradle Mountain rounded the tasting off perfectly.
All in all, this afternoon in Kiel had so many highlights that it would simply be too much to list them all in one article. In addition to the whiskies and tastings I mentioned above, the new Scallywag 13yo by the fabulous Douglas Laing left a strong impression, too. I tried this sherry-matured blend at the booth of Bremer Spirituosen Contor. Another fun meeting was the one I had with Malte Schweia, who operated the stand of Paul’s Prime. Before the fair, I only knew him from Facebook and Instagram. Not only was I very happy to meet him in person, but he also had a fine selection of drams on offer, e.g. by Mackmyra and Tullibardine. Now that this year’s event is over, I am already really looking forward to next year’s edition of the Kiel Whisky Fair!
Kieler Whiskymesse: www.kieler-whiskymesse.de
Gradl’s Whiskyfässla: www.whiskyfaessla.de
Bremer Spirituosen Contor: www.bremerspirituosencontor.de
Paul’s Prime: www.whisky-nach-wunsch.de