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Whisky Live London 2005

The official Whisky Live forum - The world's premier whisky tasting show.
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Postby big C » Sun Dec 05, 2004 10:30 am

I have read through these posts with amazement at the tales of drunks and of course the voucher scheme. I have been for the last three years and have not seen anyone unable to stand unaided or out of control. Is this political correctness going a bit far and making a mockery of the event attended by connoisseurs and not yobs. I like the point by lawnmower man that as it stands it makes the pricing worse than a trip down to the pub which given UK prices is quite something! The prices are worse especially when you consider travel costs on top of all of this... Each year I travel up with a group of 6-8 people as it stands right now none of us will be attending this next event.
Please let common sense prevail.
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Postby Matt2 » Mon Dec 06, 2004 11:55 am

I would just like to make a couple of points.....

1. The voucher system is not intended as a profit making scheme. We would rather not have it....

2. Although you may not seen the drunks, they are there. At every event some people have to be escorted offsite, and a couple even need some form of medical attention. (The common one is falling over and hitting your head).

3. WM can not just sit back and wait for a visitor to sue us for injuries. We have to be seen to take some sort of action and be acting responsibly before the accident happens.

:cry:
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Postby lexkraai » Mon Dec 06, 2004 12:05 pm

Matt, of course I see the potential problem, but I just don't see how hitting especially the whisky enthusiast hard is going to solve it. This whisky enhusiast is interested in exploring what whiskies are on offer, s/he will just taste a tiny bit. Charging £2.33 for each of the first 12 tiny sips and then another £2 for any sips beyond the 12 is pretty hefty. If people really want to get drunk, they will get drunk anyway and the money then won't stop them. But it will prevent the real whisky lover from attending.

Let me ask you this: Are you going to refuse selling vouchers to people who have clearly had too much already? If the answer to that is 'yes' you can just as easily make extra vouchers free but reserve the right not to give them to people who have gone too far, just as you suggested in your retracted post.

Cheers, Lex
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whisky live solution

Postby ikendal » Thu Dec 09, 2004 6:18 pm

I have read with interest the discussion board on the voucher system for Whisky Live this year but have not been prompted to reply until now, and I blame this on lexkraai.
lexkraai appear to have solved the problem. Let hope WM listen. (as I can not see any argument against it.
Firstly, I must state I have never been to whisky live and bought my tickets before I knew about the voucher system,
I understand WM concern over excessive drinking as I understand a little about human nature (including my own) and the truth is that some people will drink too much, not to be yobs, but alcohol has the effect of loosening people inhibitions and as such one-drink tends to lead to another, and there are some people (a minority) who are not as strong willed as most of the contributor to this board claim to be, and will drink to excess. (I include myself as proven at many New Year parties) So WM is right. Also I am sure people are occasionally escorted off site and I think it is a testament to their organisation that they have managed this situation (and the people) without letting it affect the enjoyment of all those around them. As a result no one noticed the trouble. Well done

The voucher system does have the impression of a 'money making scheme'. You have to buy, to drink (a voucher) - therefore acquiring money - therefore making money. Unless, of course, the money is going to 'pay' for the cost of the whisky provided by the various whisky producers attending. (is it?)

Finally, I am sick of the litigation culture, and a stand needs to be made to stop the possibility of people suing at every opportunity, giving into the problem through bureaucracy, is not the solution. Disclaimers posted around the building may be. (why not get us to sign a disclaimer as we walk ???)

Therefore, lexkraai sensible solution of giving (free of charge) vouchers to those people who are sober (or reasonable sober) will answer all WM concerns, and will put the responsibility of drinking clearly on the individual, therefore no possibility of a law suit.

Such an action will show WM are taking appropriate action against people’s inability to control their own drinking, it will show that WM are not interested in making a profit out of the attendees, and it will show good faith on the part of WM that they are listening to the concerns of their 'customers'.

I look forward to meeting many of you there.

Yours
Ian Kendal
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Postby lexkraai » Fri Dec 10, 2004 11:28 am

Exactly my thoughts, Ian.

Matt, any idea yet as to whether there will be a rethink of the voucher system or whether it will remain as it is? Like quite a few other potential visitors I'm holding back ordering tickets until I know what I'm actually ordering.

Cheers, Lex
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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Dec 10, 2004 12:09 pm

If I may respond: Giving away free vouchers to people who aresober or at least sober enough doesn't exactly solve the problem. Where do you draw the line on a person who is sober or sober enough?? Any rules of engagement for this??

The problem lies within the drinking culture and maybe, just maybe why not entering the Whisky Live only by membership with proper identification. In this way you are able to control the drinking habits of some of the abusive drinkers amongst us. If some one crosses the line, then he or she looses his or hers membership for ever. Or if some else who is clean buy's a membership for some one else who previously got expelled from the membership list, that person got to disappear from the membership list aswell.

I believe a membership is one of the solutions for the problem and in that controled eviroment you can say why not give some vouchers for free to members or think of something else to come towards the true coinnoisseurs..

Just a thought.

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Postby lexkraai » Fri Dec 10, 2004 12:14 pm

Where do you draw the line on a person who is sober or sober enough?? Any rules of engagement for this??


The rules for that are exactly the same as the one you use for deciding whether to sell vouchers to someone. Unless you decide to sell vouchers to anyone who wants to buy them, no matter how drunk they are. Clearly you can't do that if you want to be seen to encourage responsible drinking, so a line will have to be drawn somewhere, independent of whether the extra vouchers are free or have to be paid for.

Cheers, Lex
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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Dec 10, 2004 12:22 pm

If I was in the organisation of all of this and had some previous bad experiences, I surely would go for a membership it's the only way to encourage responsible drinking instead of let everybody in with a drinking problem so to speak. I think that in this way you are able to separate the true coinnoisseurs from the freeloaders.
Because if someone crosses the line, he's out of the game forever.

Cheers,

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Postby Rudolph Hucker » Fri Dec 10, 2004 1:59 pm

Sad to say, Erik, but I have attended too many events which have been members -only where the behaviour has been pretty outlandish, so I am not convinced that it would solve the WL problem.

As I have said, I was involved in the first two WL events in London, and the number of visitors who became drunk and incapable was very low, probably no more than 3 or 4 each time. And yes, sensible precautions ensured that these people were isolated away from the main areas, and assisted to taxis, without other visitors even becoming aware of the problem.

But the fact remains that WM as the organisers could be liable to litigation in the event of such unacceptable behaviour resulting in injury or damage, so they are quite properly putting procedures into place to minimise the likelihood of trouble.

The question is - Are vouchers likely to be the answer? Several people have made the point that it is the opportunity to sample many different whiskies that attracts them - and have also said that they take no more than a couple of sips from each dram. This surely has the ring of truth about it, since anyone drinking in a short period of time 12 full measures as covered by the ticket price would be pretty obviously drunk - and as I have said, only a very small number were at the two events I was involved with..

Also the added costs of drinking beyond the first 12 samples might well encourage more people to actually drink the full measure of all 12 - resulting in more driunks and even greater potential problems.

Could the problem not be better addressed by each visitor being required to sign in to the event on a form that stated that they accepted that should they consume too much drink and as a result cause or suffer injury or damage, they would be entirely responsible and no resulting claim could be made against the organisers, the producers or the venue?

Although this would add a little time to gaining entry to WL London iin 2005, in future years and the other WL events, this could be printed on the tickets, and attendance at the event would be taken as confirmation that in attending the ticket holder accepted the condition of entry?

Cheers

Rudolph
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Postby lexkraai » Fri Dec 10, 2004 2:33 pm

As I strongly feel people have responsibility for their own actions, I would be more than happy to sign away my 'rights' to any litigation against WM for getting hurt as a result of me being drunk. Like others on the forum, I despise this litigation culture and it would never have even crossed my mind to sue WM if I had toppled over and hurt my head after having tasted too many samples. If I'm stupid enough to drink too much then that's exactly that: my very own self-inflicted stupidity. I can't see how WM could in any way be responsible for that.

So, once again, I hereby officially accept that, quoting Rudolph, "should I drink too much and as a result cause or suffer injury or damage, I am entirely responsible and no resulting claim can be made against the organisers, the producers or the venue. I understand that by ordering one or more tickets, I accept this condition of entry". I'd be happy to repeat this in writing, and signed, with my order of tickets.

Hope others will follow.

Cheers, Lex
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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Dec 10, 2004 2:41 pm

Well Rudolph, it was just a thought.

I have too attended quite some festivals and I think it depends a little bit on the organisation how they are dealing with that (security guards etc.)

No matter what I believe that the person in question is still responsible for his or her actions. Now these people must ask them selves the following question: "Can I behave myself with an alcoholic drink?"

It's a sad thing that people still behave like that, but where do you draw the line in this one? But it's still the 3 or 4 people as Rudolph stated who get drunk every time at Whisky Live and they just ruin it for the rest of us.

In Leiden this year I have seen some people who had a dram to many and as I recall they get removed by the security guard who are patroling during the event. In general, they are everywhere no matter where you go.

Will see what happens and WM decides to do.

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Postby Lawrence » Sat Dec 11, 2004 4:03 am

I've read with some interest all the posts regarding vouchers and the pros and cons and I think you should all take a moment to remember how incredibly lucky you are to have these whisky events so frequently and geographically close to where you live.

Those of us who live off in the far off Americas, Australia or Asia (to name a few) rarely have a chance to attend whisky fairs, normally we have to get on an airplane and travel there at great expense and it takes up several days.

The voucher system is a change from the past however you can still attend the event, how lucky you all are. Many of us would be thrilled to attend any Whisky Live, vouchers or not.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society limits the tasting panel to eight whiskies per session; they claim that the nose and brain are tired out after that.

From my limited experience at such events I found that my palate was of little use to me near the end of the evening, I cannot imagine trying 30 different samples and arriving at a fair judgment. However I can only presume that I am a lesser being.

However at the end of the day the customer is always right and will vote for the voucher system accordingly by attending or not.

Just remember you can still go and many cannot, you are very, very lucky.
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Postby mr_a_non » Sat Dec 11, 2004 1:28 pm

I agree that being based in London I am well located for whisky, whether it be events, shops or bars. If the worst comes to the worst, my house to Scotland is only 3-4 hours by a trip to the airport and a cheap flight.

However, I have to agree with the majority that the voucher system is most unappealing. I fully take the point that WM has to concern itself with the safety of those attending the event: to that end their advanced thinking is laudable.

I feel that people's main bugbear is the price of the extra vouchers. IF the scheme is not in place because the organisers are hoping to pocket a little extra money, there is no reason at all why an extra book of vouchers is not given out for free or at a nominal charge (say £2 a book).

I am sure everyone understands WM's caution n this unfortunate age of suing and ambulance chasing, but they may understand the response more if it didn't look like a money-making exercise.
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Postby Admiral » Sat Dec 11, 2004 2:36 pm

I endorse and second Lawrence's comments. (I've been saying that a bit lately! :) )

Perspective is a valuable thing, and I'd give my left arm to be able attend the sort of whisky fairs & festivals that are on offer in the UK.

Australia is a big country, and we think nothing of a three hour drive to get from Point A to Point B. Three hours to drive to a whisky festival?? That's practically in my backyard!!!

As for the vouchers - well, again, the mere fact that these vouchers facilitate the ability to attend such an event should probably just be seen as part of the deal. Alright, it's different from previous years, but at least the event is being offered.

If someone would like to buy me a voucher, and donate the $2400 I need to fly there, I'll be first in line!! :D

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby bond » Mon Dec 13, 2004 11:33 am

As is expected of someone living in far-flung Asia, I too endorse Admiral and Lawrence's sentiment. IMHO, vouchers are an idea which need to be experimented once before dismissal.

One possible option to reduce dissonance would be for WM to have an eminent panel of experts score the whiskies on offer (in advance). For those who believe they might be sore at landing up a dud whisky, they would at least have some expert opinion to help them make their decision and minimise chances of a "bad" whisky.

Cheers,

Bond

P.S.: If pre-scoring is already a practice, please accept my apologies. It probably highlights the kind of ignorance that can exist if one does not have access to whisky events like Whisky Live 8)
Last edited by bond on Tue Dec 14, 2004 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby lexkraai » Mon Dec 13, 2004 3:50 pm

Of course we are lucky in this part of Europe to have so many whisky events being organised so close-by. But being in that situation means there is choice and you will go to those which offer the best value-for-money. I have tremendously enjoyed the previous four WL events and had every intention of going for a fifth time. But if they are now charging more than double what they used to charge for attending last year, is it strange that lots of loyal visitors have a rethink?

Cheers, Lex
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Postby MAMS » Tue Dec 14, 2004 7:32 pm

Would a Solution not be for the £10 extra vouchers to include the 5 vouchers for the samples and a £10 voucher off a 70cl from some of the retailers at the show.

That way WM can not be accused of doing it simply to make money and Whisky enthusiasts will then have something for their money i.e. money off the bottle they purchase.

Personally I can see why WM are dong this and a lot of it comes down to the "blame" culture we seem to live in.
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Postby adogranonthepitch » Mon Dec 27, 2004 12:01 pm

Does anyone sue their pubs landlord when they go to the pub for a few pints?

OK, WM, lets have the vouchers if that keeps you happy. Just dont charge £10 for 5. That will be an expensive show. You get £28 per person from us, £11 for the masterclasses, you get the distilers to pay YOU for being there and then, you have the gall to ask for more money on top with vouchers

Yes we are all in business to amke some money. These events must make you a packet or two (otherwise you wouldn't be jetting around the world to South Afica, Japan and Europe in 2005), but something says to me you are taking it too far. We are the people who BUY your magazine. (A good magazine at that :D ), but the number of pages has been reducing in each copy, compared to a few years ago.

If it means Marcin or Dominic selling these bookleys for a £2 for a book of 5, to keep the lawyers happy, thats what we will do. Only don't sell them to the drunks. If you want to lord it with show, I am happy to offer my services as "CHIEF TICKET GIVER OUT-ER" . I will require a full bottle of Ardbeg 1974 Provenece, a big straw, and a disposable camera to show my family the big smiles whilst I drank the nectar of the gods.
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Postby Rudy » Mon Dec 27, 2004 11:24 pm

Hello Rebecca,

as you have noticed, there are quite a lot of faithful visitors here that are not so fond of your intention to have vouchers at the next Whisky Live London.

I have to say, I am not a big fan of vouchers either.
There are several reasons:

1. Here in the Netherlands at similar events in the Hague and Leiden, I know the organisor wants a % of the value that the people from the stands return to the organisation. I feel that as a rip off. I pay EUR 40 to get in, and all the whiskies I'm interested in need to be paid again. There happened to be a 40yo Strathisla, and I know the organiser gets a % of what I paid additionally... So I will NEVER again visit the International Whiskyfestival in the Netherlands (or Belgium, same organisation).
I trust that it will not be your intention, but most have bad feelings with vouchers and even worse: you will not reach your goal of avoiding people gettung drunk. Anybody taking 12 full measures will have difficulties to keep standing. I guess most will fail. I know I will.

2. At the before mentioned event in the Hague I had a friend over from northern Norway, you know, close to Santa C. He visited only 1 session (that lasts a rediculously 4 hours), paid EUR 40, talked to destillery people too long, had to leave in a hurry and was left with 9 vouchers he bought additionally, worth EUR 9...

In case you want to avoid issues regarding litigation, you should let your attourneys find out whether:
1. a disclaimer printed on tickets and
2. agreeing on terms and conditions by entering the event,
should be sufficient to waive future liability claims from adults behaving like adolescents overestimating themselves.

I visited Whisky Live only once, this year, and I must say it was a wonderful event. Went 2 days, visited 4 masterclasses, hardly had time left to try whiskies at the main event. So 12 vouchers would be more than sufficient to me, but without the masterclasses, I would need more.

Some suggestions I have not read yet:

1. Double the vouchers, but for 1 cc only. Those who would like to assess a lot, can do 24. Those who thoroughly would like to enjoy a dram, can do 12, or stick the whole day to just 1...

2. Lower the entry fee to say, 10 pounds, and let the people pay for ALL the drams.
Those who want to get drunk will reluctantly pay for every next dram they order...The good thing is that they need to say what they want, instead of shouting "give me your best whisky" to the people behind the tables. Now they have the risk of paying maybe 20 pounds for it.

3. Cooperate with the police or agency that is running "don't drive drunk" campains. Let them run free alcohol tests on participants. In this way, you can find out how sensible you are on alcohol consumption. That will show your intention of sensible enjoyment of whisky. And it might even avoid people of getting drunk in public there and then...

Wish you wise decisions and good luck with the organisation of a great event!

Rudy.
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Postby Spirit of Islay » Wed Dec 29, 2004 12:04 am

lexkraai wrote:Of course we are lucky in this part of Europe to have so many whisky events being organised so close-by. But being in that situation means there is choice and you will go to those which offer the best value-for-money.


I think Lex has touched on why there is a kick back on this , personally i've never been to whisky Live , always had the added cost of accommodation to add into the equation , I prefer my Week on Islay amongst good friends at the Feis Ile .
It's boiling down to people picking what is most cost effective and enjoyable to them , the only event similar to this i've been to is Royal Mile Whiskies "Whisky Fringe" and i thoroughly enjoyed that (and am looking forward to next years) .

It'll be interesting to see how many people don't actually go to this event (and how many cave in and go after all the hot air .....) ,i still think it'll be well attended after all the moaning and groaning .

See ya at the two main events ! (the Feis Ile and the Whisky Fringe that is....)
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Whisky Live and the Voucher System

Postby Top Cat » Thu Mar 03, 2005 7:47 pm

I am surprised that no one has asked, " What happens if a customer requests a whisky, has a voucher in hand but is not judged to be Sober by the server"?

1. I would hope that the server would say politely "I'm afraid that sir/madam has probably had sufficient".
2. I would expect a FULL REFUND for the customer for ALL unused tickets.
3. I would expect the customer to be allowed to stay on the premises but not allowed to partake, unless he was a risk to himself or any other person.

I have been to the last 3 Whisky Lives and my feeling is that the first 2 hours are when you can nose and taste Whiskies in all their magnificence, the remainder of the time is spent drinking with a toned down palette (enjoyable but not as good judgement).

I would say that by the end a fair number of people are "merry" but few are over the top.

Your security guards are well trained and good at keeping situations low key.

The last time I came I was with a party of stewards and first-aiders who run the security at dozens of Beer Festivals (where we do not drink on duty), they were impressed by the standard of behaviour, which does equate with beer festivals.

2 questions for Rebecca or whomsoever:

1. Does the voucher mean a measure rather than a taster? In which case 12 vouchers = 12 Units of alcohol.

2. Is the "Goody-bag" going to be as poor as last year, 1 or 2 miniatures and a bottle of beer that was used to wash out casks before the whisky was matured!

Thank you for your time and patience.

:twisted:
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Postby ikendal » Tue Mar 15, 2005 1:33 pm

" Is the "Goody-bag" going to be as poor as last year, 1 or 2 miniatures and a bottle of beer that was used to wash out casks before the whisky was matured! "

Yes it was,

In-fact I did not even get a miniature in mine, although the other in the party did.

I also would like to add, what a fuss about vouchers - and I would like to apologies for making a fuss. I had a full booklet of vouchers left. Not every stall insisted on a voucher as we were deep in conversation. Although, I was a little irritated with Glenrothes who wanted two vouchers, albeit it was for a 1973, as I had plenty spare, I made no fuss.

Bruichladdich the best stall, for friendliness, openness, etc. I could have stayed for hours chatting.

Master class - well I would value other opinions - I went to the one run by allied - robin sheild was not leading the session although I was told he was, 20 mins before hand. It was not a class but a sales pitch for a range of whiskies that I already have on my shelf. A waste of time and money in my opinion. A class is about education. I was not educated in any way.
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Re: Whisky Live and the Voucher System

Postby Matt2 » Tue Mar 15, 2005 2:03 pm

Top Cat wrote:I am surprised that no one has asked, " What happens if a customer requests a whisky, has a voucher in hand but is not judged to be Sober by the server"?

1. I would hope that the server would say politely "I'm afraid that sir/madam has probably had sufficient".

That is correct
Top Cat wrote:2. I would expect a FULL REFUND for the customer for ALL unused tickets.

No chance! It isn't our fault if you get too drunk.
Top Cat wrote:3. I would expect the customer to be allowed to stay on the premises but not allowed to partake, unless he was a risk to himself or any other person.

It depends on how drunk you are, if you are staggering around you will be escorted off the premises. There will be a zero tolerance towards drunk people. The show is not there to get drunk at and there are no excuses, use the spitoons provided.

Top Cat wrote:1. Does the voucher mean a measure rather than a taster? In which case 12 vouchers = 12 Units of alcohol.

It is a taster and not a unit of alcohol. Just enough to ummm taste it.

Top Cat wrote:2. Is the "Goody-bag" going to be as poor as last year, 1 or 2 miniatures and a bottle of beer that was used to wash out casks before the whisky was matured!

Sorry, but it was :(
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Postby ikendal » Tue Mar 15, 2005 4:59 pm

"The show is not there to get drunk at and there are no excuses, use the spittoons provided.”

I was there for the first time ever this year, and I did not notice any spittoons, therefore I was forced to swallow (nudge - nudge).
Perhaps the spittoons should be made more obvious. I will not comment on my sobriety as I know I will get shouted at by some members of the bulletin board.
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Postby lexkraai » Wed Mar 16, 2005 8:48 am

I thoroughly enjoyed myself (again); tasted about 40 whiskies over the 2 days.

Few comments on what other people brought up:

Drunk people - there were a few who clearly had too much, but the security people handled those situations perfectly, friendly and with a minimum of fuss or disruption; kudos to them!

Vouchers - hardly any standholder bothered. Over the 2 days I used up 3 vouchers and those were all in the first 2 hours of day 1. After that, no one seemed to bother anymore.

Goodie bags - that's not what I come to WL for, but given how little 'goodies' and how much brochures and flyers they contain in recent years, my suggestion is just to do away with them.

Masterclasses - I only went to one (Mackmyra, which I enjoyed very much; this is a distillery which deserves to be taken seriously). I've heard negative comments on the Morrison Bowmore masterclass as well. Titled 'Recent Rarities', the rarities included Bowmore 12 y.o. and a few Suntory blends (next to the Bowmore 30 y.o. Sea Dragon and the 'Claret'). Some people told me they walked out in protest.

Spitoons - they were there all right. Tall slender 'waste bins' at various points on the floor.

In all, for me it was a very successful show, meeting old and new friends, tasting excellent whiskies and just having a great two days. Heard that next year the show goes to a much larger hall next door.

Cheers, Lex
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Postby Hendriks » Tue Apr 12, 2005 7:33 am

Have to agree with Lex.

I was a bit sceptic about the voucher system but there were no worries.
The masterclasses were fine allthough some of a lesser quality then the previous years.

I still enjoyed my fifth time at whisky live , it's good to meet up with all the people in the industry.

Still the entrance fee rise and the poor goodybag are something to consider as this years lineup in brands was less than previous, i missed a lot of the smaller and bigger brands out there.Also the quality and price of the masterclasses are something to consider .

I had a great time again, but with higher airfares and hotel costs i have to think about next years.


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