When you operate a well-sorted whisk(e)y shop, host regular tasting events and attend a lot of fairs as an exhibitor, you will naturally end up with quite a few open bottles in your assortment. To solve this luxury problem, Pinkernells Whisky Market in Berlin runs the “Day Of The 100 Open Bottles” several times a year. A ticket for this highly popular (and always sold-out) get-together costs 30 Euro and gives access to a rich and diverse selection of spirits that can be enjoyed without restrictions – Scotch or bourbon, single malt or blend, original release or indie bottling, upstart unit or closed distillery. There are (almost) no limits!
The most recent installment of this high-percentage happening took place in the Pinkernells shop in Berlin-Friedrichshain on June 30. Following up on an invitation by our friend Andi Bernhardt, who manages the store on the owner Klaus Pinkernell’s behalf, my girlfriend Dini and I hopped onto the Flixbus from Hamburg to Berlin early in the morning. As no traffic jams or construction sites slowed us down, we arrived at the venue at 1.30 pm – just half an hour after the event had officially begun.
To grease my palate accordingly, I started with two original bottlings in drinking strength – Glen Scotia Double Cask and Macallan Select Oak – before I went on to try some single casks with a higher ABV. Among others, I had a great Tomatin 11yo from The Whisky Chamber, a fantastic Glentauchers 9yo from Jack Wiebers and a super-sweet Glen Moray 12yo from Claxton’s. The latter I liked so much that I bought a full bottle. I would have loved to do the same with the immensely fruity Imperial 20yo by The Ultimate, which also found its way into my glass that day. But at 100+ Euro, it would not have fitted into my whisky budget for June anymore. Still, I might keep that bottle in mind and consider grabbing it at a later point.
Another fun experience was sipping two of Klaus Pinkernell’s notorious Stupidcask releases, namely Fishky and Torf. The first was a 14-year-old Bruichladdich that got finished in a herring barrel. And the latter was a heavily peated Islay malt that got “refined” in a cask holding actual peat. While the Fishky bottling was insanely salty and oily in a rather unpleasant way, the Torf expression was so earthy that you could almost feel the sand grains crack between your teeth. Would I buy any of these bottles and pour myself a glass on a delightful evening after work? No way! But am I happy for the adventure of trying them first-hand? Hell yes!
Throughout every moment of the 5-hour event, the 60+ attendees were in high spirits. People shared drams, asked questions, engaged in conversation and exchanged opinions. As the weather was pretty nice and sunny that day, many also took their glasses outside to catch a bit of fresh air and participate in the public viewing of Argentina vs. France, which the bar next door hosted at 4pm. Afterwards, me and my friends grabbed a bite at a near-by burger joint and watched the second last sixteen match of the FIFA World Cup 2018 (Portugal vs. Uruguay) in the cozy Fargo bar (where my pals from Whisky & Vinyl host their tastings). Here, Andi also joined us for a beer. As he operated one of the three counters at the “Day Of The 100 Open Bottles”, he did understandably not have too much time for chit-chat in the afternoon. So it was really nice to catch up on that at a later point, talking whisky and football for an hour or two before we finally went off to bed – tired and tipsy, but also very, very happy.
Pinkernells Whisky Market @ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pinkernellsberlin/ (Organizer)