Every year in November, my friends and I head to Bremen for a day of tasting, laughing, and exploring at Bottle Market – one of my absolute favorite whisky and spirits fairs up here in the north. This year I enjoyed my visit to the fullest, trying quite a big number of drams. To get them all covered on BarleyMania, I have decided to skip the introduction and get straight down to business. Also, I have split my lengthy event report up into two parts. Feel free to start with “Part One” here and continue with “Part Two” over there. And now, off to my 2022 whisky extravaganza at Halle 7 of Messe Bremen …
Just a few steps into the extensive exhibition hall, I already met the first familiar face: Didi of Vibrant Stills. At his stand, I chose the new, fully bourbon-matured Single Cask Release for Germany by Kingsbarns Distillery. It was wonderfully sweet and creamy with lots of sugared popcorn, vanilla crescents, and light fruits. Plus exotic notes and, in the great finish, an invigorating ginger kick. In parallel, my wife Dini tried another very special pour: Meadowside Blend 2022. This kingly dram was made from “forgotten” casks from the vast Meadowside Blending stock (e.g., The Maltman and The Grainman). Most of the brilliantly sherried components are several decades old; some are even rumored to be over half a century of age! As they had fallen under 40% ABV, however, they were joined by the contents of a younger sherry butt. This added some oomph and lifted the whisky up to its natural batch strength of 43.1 per cent. Quickly after I had swallowed the first sip, I had made up my mind: I needed a full bottle of this rare, old-school Scotch!
As a huge fan of Danish whisky, I was extra-happy to see no less than three distilleries from our neighbouring country being present at Bottle Market with own stalls. Of course, I stopped by at all of them! At the booth of Mosgaard Distillery, which I had just visited on site a few months ago, I had a nice chat with founder Jes over a glass of his latest release: the exciting, sophisticated, and complex Amontillado Finish. Just as Meadowside Blend before, this one impressed me so much that I took it home with me. Only a few meters from Mosgaard resided Stauning. From them, I tried something rather experimental and crazy: a single malt and a rye whisky finished in a hot sauce cask. While the spiciness was rather accentuated in the malt, it literally went through the roof in the rye. This was, no doubt, the wildest tasting experiences I had at the fair!
The third Danish distillery to exhibit at Bottle Market 2022 was Thy. On Saturday, when I was there, they got some help from my friend Aaron, who also runs the Drams United blog and the “Thy Whisky Society Germany” community on Facebook. Together with Jakob and Mathias from the family-owned farm distillery, he held a free premium tasting at the booth. The line-up was phenomenal: it included old releases, limited editions, and warehouse samples alike! You find a photo of the most excellent selection in the gallery below. Check it out and you will know why the Thy Premium Tasting was one of my absolute highlights of the day!
When I Bremen, it comes natural that I also stop by at the booths of Bremer Spirituosen Contor and Kirsch Import, both of which have their headquarters in the North-German city. At the BSC stall, my pal Timo treated me to a glass of Dailuaine 15 Years Old from Douglas Laing’s Old Particular line. That one was really grimey with lots of mushy fruits, crumbly cookies, sticky marmelade, burnt raisin, and brown banana as well as lingering sulphur and damp stone wall. It certainly had a bit of Campbeltown vibe to it, which – of course – is a big compliment! Over at the Kirsch Import stand, I then spent some quality time with one of the most fascinating distilleries in their roster, namely Lochlea from the Lowlands. At Bottle Market 2022, they were represented by BizDev Executive Patrick. He poured me a dram of Lochlea Fallow Edition (matured in Oloroso casks) and gave my wife Dini a dram of Lochlea Harvest Edition (ripened in a combination of Port, Sherry, and Bourbon casks). Both were very different from another, but equally great! I found the Fallow Edition to be heavy, sticky, and chocolatey, whereas the Harvest Edition appeared to be lighter and leaner with lots of Lowland-typical grasses, grains, and yellow fruits.
And that’s it, fellas! But only for “Part One”, of course. If you are still hot for more Bottle Market impressions, click here to read “Part Two” straight away. It includes my visits to the exhibition stands of many more amazing companies, such as Prineus GmbH, Schlumberger, Irish Whiskies, and Loch Lomond as well as Distilleerderij de Bronckhorst from the Netherlands and Liquorland – a new distributor from my hometown of Hamburg, which has just brought the superb bottlings of Belgian Owl Distillery to Germany! Have fun reading on!
Bottle Market @ Web: http://www.bottle-market.de/
Bottle Market @ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bottlemarket
Bottle Market @ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bottlemarket_bremen/
Messe Bremen @ Web: http://www.messe-bremen.de/
*** I won a free ticket to the fair in a social media
give-away hosted by Kirsch Whisky. ***