This year’s Hanse Spirit is over. So now it is time for me to reminisce the events of the last two days once more; an undertaking that is easier said than done considering the sheer flood of impressions and sensations that rained down on me over the course of the weekend. But hey, I will give it a shot anyway and try my best to paint a lively picture of what the 8th iteration of Northern Germany’s biggest whisk(e)y and spirit fair. The first thing that struck me was the new location. After all, the event did not take place in the fair halls of Hamburg Messe this time, but in the beautiful Fischauktionshalle at Hamburg’s legendary “Fischmarkt”. Of course, the new venue was less spacious than the previous one and especially at the entrance the queue was not short during the peak hours. But once you were inside, the old architecture and beautiful layout of the place helped to create a really unique atmosphere.
Both on Friday evening and on Saturday afternoon, I had my first sip of the day at the booth of Bremer Spirituosen Contor. On Friday, I started with the new Timorous Beastie 10yo (of which I also bought a full bottle to complete the field mouse family at home) and on Saturday, I picked the elegant Paul John Kanya as my kick-off whisky. Good choices, for sure. Just a few steps away from the Bremer Spirituosen Contor resided the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. As I absolutely love their luscious single cask bottlings, I could not help but stop by at their place several times. While doing so, I not only got to meet various members of the recently founded SMWS Appreciation Society group on Facebook, but I also made the acquaintance of Mark and Matthias, who manned the booth. The former is the Society’s International Commercial Manager, the latter is the co-founder of their Berlin-based PR agency Alle Vögel Fliegen Hoch and they both turned out to be really cool chaps. As goes without saying, the drams they poured me – including an Aultmore 14yo (73.86) and a Longmorn 24yo (7.146) – were really classy as well!
My craving for a good bourbon was then stilled at the stand of Borco-Marken-Import, where blogger and tasting host Jerry AKA Herr Lutz treated me to a smooth and spicy Larceny 92 Proof. Since Borco is also the German importer of numerous high-profile Scotch brands such as Dalmore or Jura, I went for a luxurious single malt when I visited them the second time. The 20-year-old Jura One And All was quite a treat! The same can be said about the Manzanilla-finished Tobermory 21yo I had over at Distell’s place. The company’s Brand Ambassador Chantalle, who I first met at a Tobermory and Ledaig master class in November of last year, recommended this whisky to me and it was love at first sight… or rather first sip. A delightful candy sweetness mingled with fascinating notes of extinguished sparklers to create one helluva whisky sensation! This cask strength masterpiece ended up being one of my personal highlights of the fair!
Another very special dram was the Pulteney 33yo from Gordon & MacPhail, which I sipped at the booth of Whisky Südholstein (yeah, that’s the guys whose WSH Cup we won last year). Distilled in 1982, this was actually the first time I knowingly had a whisky from my year of birth! Too bad a full bottle of this rare jewel was way out of my budget range.
Three more companies that cannot go unmentioned are Prineus, Kammer Kirsch and Beam Suntory. From the first, I bought an insanely good pour called The Exceptional Grain, which I had ordered at a bar called Christiansen’s two weeks earlier. I enjoyed it so much that I got in contact with the importer right away and asked if he could bring a bottle along for me. At Kammer Kirsch, I had a super-caramel-y single cask bottling from Inchmurrin as well as a dram of Peat’s Beast 25yo from Islay. While I really liked them both, I ended up taking home yet another whisky, namely the Four Grain by Koval from the US. I always loved this distillery, which had only recently been added to Kammer Kirsch’s roster of brands, and I figured it was about time I owned a full bottle of theirs. The Beam Suntory booth, I must confess, I would probably have missed if my girlfriend and I had not bumped into the company’s Regional Sales Manager Elena by happenstance. After a quick chat, she invited us over for a glass of the new Highland Park 17yo The Dark, which was very deep and rich and full of flavor. Keeping the liquid in sherry casks for 17 long years really paid off here!
For reasons of brevity, I will not describe my visits to the stalls of Ardbeg (where An Oa was my poison of choice), Stauning (too bad that amazing Heather is already sold out), Langatun (their Port and Rioja-finished expressions totally ruled) and Vibrant Stills (glad I finally got to try Wolfburn’s celebrated Batch 128) in detail. However, if you make use of the search field above, you will find quite a few articles dedicated to these companies and their products here on BarleyMania. I hope it is okay if they only get a brief mention this time. So what is still missing? Of course, a loud and bold “Thank you!” to the fair’s organizer Chris Rickert and his team for yet another fantastic Hanse Spirit! See y’all next year!
Alle Vögel Fliegen Hoch @ Web: http://allevoegelfliegenhoch.de/
Beam Suntory @ Web: https://www.beamsuntory.com/
Borco-Marken-Import @ Web: https://www.borco.com/
Bremer Spirituosen Contor @ Web: http://www.bremerspirituosencontor.de/
Douglas Laing @ Web: http://www.douglaslaing.com/
Hanse Spirit @ Web: http://www.hanse-spirit.de/
Herr Lutz @ Web: http://www.herr-lutz.de/
Kammer Kirsch @ Web: http://www.kammer-kirsch.de/
Langatun @Web: http://www.langatun.ch/
Paul John @ Web: http://pauljohnwhisky.com/
Prineus @ Web: https://www.prineus.com/
The SMWS @ Web: https://www.smws.com/
Tobermory @ Web: http://www.tobermorydistillery.com/
Whisky Südholstein @ Web: http://www.whiskysuedholstein.de/