Last year, I stumbled upon Whisky Week at Alsterhaus by happenstance. So I only caught the last day of the two-week event. This year I was better prepared. I had marked the dates way in advance and when the time had come, I went there not once or twice, but three times in total. Paying Whisky Week several visits made sense for a number of reasons: First, because it was impossible to try all drams that interested me in just one session. Second, because more than half of the stands changed after week one. Third, because the whole thing took place in my hometown and was entirely free – so I neither had to buy a ticket nor any of the drams.
The list of exhibitors, who presented their products to the Alsterhaus customers at this year’s Whisky Week, was long and diverse. Most of them came from Scotland, like Johnnie Walker, Aberlour, The Dalmore, Ardbeg, Glenmorangie, Bruichladdich and Kilchoman. Additionally, there were Irish (Jameson), Japanese (Nikka) and German brands (Glina Whisky and Emill Whisky) plus international companies (Beam Suntory and Bacardi). Last but not least, there were also two wine tables offering fine drops that cost up to 50 bucks a bottle. Just like the high-percentage spirits, the tasters of these classy wines did not cost a dime either.
At Johnnie Walker’s, I sipped the brand’s flagship expression Blue Label. This was my first encounter with this premium-quality, subtly smoky blended Scotch whisky. I liked it quite a bit. Another cool experience was blending my own creation from various bottlings of the Classic Malts Selection. In this undertaking, Haig Club formed the grainy basis. On it, I placed the following highlights at my own discretion: Glenkichie 12yo (fresh), Cardhu 12yo (fruity), Dalwhinnie 15yo (sweet) and Talisker 10yo (smoky). Of course, this was a very brief and simple detour into the realm of the master blenders. But it was good fun nonetheless!
At the remaining booths, I sipped all kinds of lovely pours. Some of them, I already knew before – e.g. the flavorsome Glenmorangie 14yo Quinta Ruban, the peaty Kilchoman Machir Bay or the multi-layered Port Charlotte 10yo. Others, I drank for the first time – e.g. the elegant Aberlour 18yo, the nice-to-sip Suntori Toki and the stunning Dalmore 18yo. Another two whisky brands that found their way into my glass were Glina and Emill from Germany. Both drops, namely Glina 8yo Triple Wood Cask Strength and Emill Stockwerk, showed that there is some mighty fine whisky being made in my home country at the moment. Especially the complex and exciting Emill Whisky left a strong impression on me. I understand why their cask strength expression, which I tried a week before at Weinquelle Lühmann, got recently crowned as “Best Whisky National 2019” at Germany’s Best Whisky Awards.
All in all, the Alsterhaus team put up a fantastic “mini” whisky fair with Whisky Week 2019. While this was a promotion event first and foremost, it did not feel like one at all. During my three visits, I had casual talks with many of the stand personnel, good drams amass and a ton of fun. Not once did I feel obliged or pressured into buying something. So my plan for next year is already set: I will be back!
Alsterhaus @ Web: https://www.alsterhaus.de/ (Location)