Wow, what an evening! Went to my first whisky festival ever, and I've had a smashing time so far. First up was a Bowmore Masterclass hosted by Nick Ravenhall. He's certainly a very charismatic person and manages to fully involve all participants. I loved the tasting which included the 12, the 15, the 18 (which was less of a character than the previous 17 imo) , a 16 Port Finished, a 16 Bourdeaux finished and finally the 25. This lineup demands respect. It's all about balance rather than the "full on peat in your face experience" so often associated with single malts from Islay. The Bourdeax finished 16 Cask Strength was very interesting - and also quite good. It reminded me of the smell you get when firing a toy gun and something remotely "earthy" - something you'd expect to find in a wine. Going back to the 25 was indeed a fantastic experience where the succulent ripe flavours of apple and pears felt like a dry fresh white wine. Fantastic!
I was also lucky to have a chat with Di Blasi and Misako Udo - and I'll be attending both their Masterclasses tomorrow.
Other highlights of the evening included Glenmorangie Signet and the Astar, and on Misako Udo's recommendation; Yamazaki 18
A great evening and I'm looking forward to tomorrow!