Last January I attended an open tasting at Hamburg-based winery Weinkellerei von Have. I enjoyed that evening so much that it was no question I also had to get a ticket to their open whisky tasting on the last weekend in June. While von Have already hosted several of these events before, it was the first time they combined a cool tasting with a cosy barbecue in their backyard. Not only was everyone served a delicious beef steak, but you could also help yourself to crispy salad and fresh-baked bread as well as different sauces and spices.
To make sure their guests were not left stranded, the team of von Have selected twenty whiskies from Scotland, Ireland, the Netherlands and the United States, all of which you could try all evening long. To learn a bit more about the different drams, everyone got a nice brochure which contained an affectionate and detailed explaination of all whiskies offered. Once again, three whiskies were included in the ticket price. Besides Douglas Laing’s brilliant Lowland blend The Epicurean (which I find to be the perfect start into an evening of dramming) we also got a dram of Tomintoul’s bourbon-matured NAS expression Tlath for free plus a glass of an easily drinkable Kentucky Straight Bourbon called Woodford Reserve Distillers Select. In the latter, I found pleasant notes of vanilla, caramel, apricots and cocoa.
A nice start, but my personal highlights of the evening were yet to come. Next, I got to try two new bottlings from Douglas Laing. First I had the Timorous Beastie 18yo with lucious notes of honey, vanilla and dried fruits. I am sure you won’t have to wait too long for a full review on this brilliant blend to appear on our pages. Afterwards, I ordered the Rock Oyster 18yo. What can I say? It got me more than excited. It was one of the most maritime whiskies I ever drank with a full load of salty sea air and a likeable amount of smoke coated by a pleasent honey sweetness. I will definitely have to get a full bottle of this whisky soon.
Before we went home, I embarked on a short journey to Ireland. The Teeling Revival 13yo with a Calvados finish is all about apples. First you have sweet and fresh apples combined with cinnamon in your nose, then you got some nice apple pie on your tongue, and finally you got a medium long aftertaste with sweetness and more apples. This might sound a bit one-dimensional, but actually it is not. If you take your time to enjoy this dram, you will bit by bit discover all of its rich notes. My last whiskey of the evening was the cask strength edition of Writer’s Tears – another dram I extremely enjoyed! It offered a very complex mixture of sweet and fruity notes combined with sweet chocolate and was bottled at a not-too-strong ABV of 53%. This whiskey, too, made its way onto my wish list.
Thanks once again to the team of Weinkellerei von Have for a wonderful evening with nice drams, delicious food and a lot of interesting conversations with people we already met before as well as new acquaintances. We are already looking forward to the next event in Hamburg-Bergedorf!