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Whisky Live London 2007 - Report

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Whisky Live London 2007 - Report

Postby RufusA » Sat Mar 03, 2007 10:55 am

Thought I'd create a new thread for people to post thoughts / impressions and reviews of WL.

I'm posting this on the train heading to Victoria for a second helping.

Friday:

I survived....... just!

The Glenlivet masterclass - some very special whiskies - left notes at home so more later. Big thanks to all at Chivas for making me feel so welcome.

There is a very different layout this year. Islands of exhibitors rather than rows. Feels much more open apprroachable with plenty of room to drink or chill.

New display stands are higher - just a bit taller than a pub bar so you feel a little removed from the people you are talking to.

Infamous vouchers - mixed bag really. Some exhibitors will happily charge your glass with whatever your heart desires. Some will take a token voucher off you but aren't enthusiastic. Some have arranged their bottles in groups behind printed voucher tariffs and won't supply the whisky unless you pay the price. You can guess which stalls are the least frequented! On the whole not as bad as I feared but there are some whiskies I felt excluded from.

Exhibitors - don't know if it's me or the layout but there appear to be less this year. Where's the award winning Buffalo Trace?

Finally a big thanks to Matt for helping out a mag member - top bloke! And to all the enthusiasts I met on the day.

More later....

Rufus.
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Postby Steve Rush » Sat Mar 03, 2007 2:18 pm

Well it has to be said that I thought some umph was missing from this years event but all the same it was an enjoyable day.

Some interesting discoveries made with the likes of Pebble Beach and Alchemist. Plenty of quality under the counter drams to this year, was particularly impressed with a sampling of Lord of the Isles from Ardberg. To be honest the likes of Ardberg, Jura, Whisky Shack, Alchemist and Heaven Hill were absolutely top notch this year. Far more enthusiastic and less corperate about things than many of the others.

WIth regards to the vouchers I did buy an extra ten but only used three of them. Definately a case this year of this year if you show that your serious about the stuff you needn't worry about currency as it were. Though did see a couple of people there purely there to get lathered up so I think this year system despite my initial thoughts was a good one.

The big highlight for me though was meeting and having chat with the man himself Mr Michael Jackson.

Lowlight, spending far too much money at Royal Mile. Only joking, some fine purchases where made and as ever greatly guided by Arthur.
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Postby Mustardhead » Sun Mar 04, 2007 11:13 am

Yesterday was an excellent day out. I'll post a full report later when I can decipher my notes :D

The highlight of the day was the fabulous reception at the Douglas Laing stand. A big thanks to the team there, especially Susan.
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Postby Arthur Motley » Sun Mar 04, 2007 6:46 pm

On train back up from a tiring but fun weekend in London.

New layout - Great decision to change this. More relaxed atmosphere than the last two, very hectic years when customers fought for drams and pourers looked knackered from shouting over the mob.

Vouchers - I really felt for the guys who I'd seen year after year and who were wincing about how expensive it has all become. From a standholders perspective the crowd was much more pleasant to serve than previously. A few idiots, but better than before.

Whisky - Only had the chance to have a few drams over the weekend and two of them were an North American single malt matured in an ice wine cask, given blind! Not quite what I'd planned...
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Postby Matt2 » Mon Mar 05, 2007 11:28 am

From our point of view it all seemed to go very well. Hi to everyone I met from the forums (won't list names because I will end up forgeting someone, but you all know who you are :) ). Was planning a long post here but my head is a bit fuzzy at the moment.

Great day and great people.

The only complaint I would have is the few people who try to steal anything that isn't locked down. Had whiskies go from stands / store areas, people trying to steal boxes of HP 12 minatures (they even ripped open the sealed boxes and hands dove in grabbing what ever they could) and one of the team had his WM jacket stolen - guess you always get a few of the scum where ever you are :cry:
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Postby bamber » Mon Mar 05, 2007 12:06 pm

Had an absolutely fantastic time on Friday, although I am still suffering.

Glenlivet was the highlight of the day for me (just so much fun at their stand) and the Van Winkles were they usual friendly knowledgeable selves.

Had great drams at Ben Nevis (always a pleasure), Heaven Hill, Signatory, Ardbeg and DL.

My top pours:

Glenlivet 1972
PVW 23yo
Rittenhouse 21yo rye.

Thanks to all involved.
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Postby les taylor » Mon Mar 05, 2007 12:13 pm

Can I say to Arthur thankyou to you and your staff. I did talk to you Arthur on saturday and you guys were very helpful and pleasant even putting under the counter bottles for us to pick up later so that we did not have to carry them around. Thanks very much.

Matt first of all I'm sorry to here about the looting it's not good. I personally did not see that happening. That must have put a bad view on things for you, thats a shame.

We did meet Rob very early on. He invited us to the Dominic Roscrow Question time panel. We had already booked for that one. I must say it was an absolutely Brilliant hour.

Your panelists were really good and very honest with us which made it even more interesting. The whiskies selected for the tastings were really good to. So good My brother and I have both bought two of those sampled and might get some of the others later.

So a big thankyou to Whisky magazine for putting on the event. It was our first Whisky Live. We enjoyed it so much that we will now definitely go to others.


Many thanks to all.


:D
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Postby les taylor » Mon Mar 05, 2007 12:21 pm

Hey Bamber I thought it was just me. I was really quiet yesterday and Mrs Les thought that there was something wrong with me. I could not quite put my finger on it. But after Matt's and your commments. Its obviously pre show Blues.

My favourite pours were the Glenlivet 1964 which with my Guardian of Glenlivet was offered. Also the Hanu King of Diamonds, The Yamazaki 18 year old. Also surprisingly the new Bowmore Darkest which was just bueatiful.

We did not get to Ben Nevis PVW Rittenhouse and many others. We were there from opening until closing and can't believe how quick the day went.

:)
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Postby Paul A Jellis » Mon Mar 05, 2007 12:39 pm

A very good day out!

The new layout is a big improvement, it was only late in the afternoon when there was a couple of congestion points, but you will always get crowds around some stands.

After all I'd said about the vouchurs in the past, the new system worked very well, I had no qualms about only asking for the older and more expensive expressions on some stands when you felt that you were paying extra to get something extra. I bought an extra ten vouchers which lasted all day. £35 pounds for a day like that, still very good value.

Some of the memorable whiskies for me were the Classic Malts Distillers Editions, Dewars Signatory (very nice, but I don't think I'll be paying £180 for it), Arbelour 12, Jury Heavily Peated, and thanks to Marcin Millar for introducing me to Ichiro's Malt Card Series (I did tell him that I didn't like Japanese Whiskies, but he made me change my mind - big time). There were a few disappointing ones, but I'm too much of a gentleman to name them.

It was great to meet Matt and Rob as well as Mustardhead and whiskybembel. Also had brief chats with Dave Broom and Michael Jackson. (I meet up with the wife at Kings Cross and we got the train home together, when I was telling her about the day I told her I'd meet Michael Jackson and had a brief word and she said half the people in the carriage spun around!!!)

A big thank you to everyone involved in making it such a great day out.
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Postby bamber » Mon Mar 05, 2007 12:53 pm

les taylor wrote:Hey Bamber I thought it was just me. I was really quiet yesterday and Mrs Les thought that there was something wrong with me. I could not quite put my finger on it. But after Matt's and your commments. Its obviously pre show Blues.

My favourite pours were the Glenlivet 1964 which with my Guardian of Glenlivet was offered. Also the Hanu King of Diamonds, The Yamazaki 18 year old. Also surprisingly the new Bowmore Darkest which was just bueatiful.

We did not get to Ben Nevis PVW Rittenhouse and many others. We were there from opening until closing and can't believe how quick the day went.

:)


Yeh - I missed a lot of stuff too. It's just great to chat whisky, with whisky people.

Interested about the Bowmore Darkest - time to brave another bottle ? Is the presentation different ?

I got to try the '64 Glenlivet as well, which I also thought was a fantastic dram, but for me was just a teeny bit oaked compared to the '72. To be honest though, I was a little bit more than 'a teeny bit oaked' at that point !

Sorry I missed you.
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Postby Matt2 » Mon Mar 05, 2007 12:56 pm

les taylor wrote:Glenlivet 1964 which with my Guardian of Glenlivet


Oh yes, I think we were all there flashing our cards at Ian - very nice dram. I don't think I got to see you Les .....

Just to give some of the team a mention who made it all happen, here is what people were up to on the day....

Rubyna - Organiser / management - made it all happen
Rob - Swanning around doing editors stuff :wink:
Matt - Front entrance management - ticket collection
Tom - Ticket collection
Gordon & Jo - Trade and Press
Steve - Ticket purchase
Paul - Stage management
Pippa / Alicia - Whisky Magazine stand
Sally / Louise - Masterclasses
Nikki / Nicola (temps) - Glass collection
RHS Staff - General all rounders helping out when ever needed
Temp staff - General all rounders working non stop
Security - Registration and security

And of course all the exhibitors and helpers who without it couldn't have happened.

Raise a glass to them all next time you have a dram. :)
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Postby les taylor » Mon Mar 05, 2007 1:38 pm

I was wearing my Red Carnation as promised :wink:

My first dram of the day was the Glenlivet 64 about 11:15 so that made it particularly memorable.


I sorry I did not get to say hello to all you guys personally. I did shake hands with Rob Allanson though, and he was doing his editorship stuff. Bless.

We did have a nice chat with Colin Dunn from Bowmore at lunch and he looked after us on the Bowmore stand later. That was nice.



:)
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Mar 05, 2007 1:43 pm

Come on all you WL London visitors, the reports so far have been interesting, but what we really want to hear about is who won their fortune(s) at the Casino?

:wink:
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Postby les taylor » Mon Mar 05, 2007 2:18 pm

Sorry MT I don't do Bingo the Lottery the horse's no Gambling so the Casino was a no no. Did have a Viceroy Threvuje curry in the evening though. That makes me a winner.



:D
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Postby Steve Rush » Mon Mar 05, 2007 2:52 pm

Following on from my original critique of the Friday which was done let's say while I was still somewhat worse for where on the Saturday, allow me to give a sobered up and clear headed offering.

As originally stated I did think some umph was missing from the day with regards to some exhibitors not being there such as Buffalo Trace and also the likes of Glenfiddich / Balvenie, who's new toasted numbers I'm very interested to try.

Was the first of the day on Friday with my Glenlivet card and taste wise the day kicked of in good sted with the Glenlivet 64, when they managed to open the bottle with it's rather satisfying dry edged finish in my opinion.

Some exhibitors were fabulous. Henry at Heaven Hill as always a joy to converse with and boy that man can pour. A few names I 've forgotten along with some notes I lost but allow me to fumble with the following. The lady at the Ardberg stand who I believe was French was just fantastic, whilst conversing for well over half an hour she very kindly let me sample a dram of The Lord of The Isles and a glass of something which escapes me now but does normally retail for around £300, it was a fabulous dram.

The Classic Malt guys were great and indeed where some of the new additions of the day such as Alchemist and Whicky Shack. Now a proud owner of a bottle of the rather pleasent Pebble Beach 12 yr and though I only intended to buy whisky on the day now an owner of the 15yr Calvados from Alchemist.

Last year I wasa disapointed with the Jura stand, not this year though. The ladies there were some of the more passionate exhibitors of the day and yet again was impressed with a couple of the under the counter drams.

Loved some of their drams but was disapointed by the exhibitors at the Nikka and Highland Park whom didn't really to care in wanting anyone to converse and ask questions about there respective drams. The same could be also said for the Milroys stand until second time round there was a lady whose enthusiasm for the stores range was fantastic.

The voucher system allthough initially I thought it was madness, did seem to work very well. Did buy an additional ten and only used three of those. There where some stands that were a tad petty with the voucher system but largley most stands did go with the token gesture attitude. It did come to a stage where I couldn't give the things away, as most stands not bothering to ask if you seemed to be a genuine whisky enthusiast as it were. But inforcing the vouchers if you genuinly were not. Unfortunately there were some people who were there as cheap way of getting drunk and indeed offensive to other ticket holders and stand exhibitors. The one incident that stands out when at the Jura stand and one guy starts going onto his girlfriend about how S#!T this stuff tastes without coke and starts making a fuss that nobody has any coke.

Highlight for me was indeed my unexpected chat with Michael Jackson and not forgeting a brief pleasent exchange with David Broom, who has to be one of the nicest guys you could meet. Going round the room making people feel genuely welcome.

As mentioned in my original posting and no offence for not including them within my comments for great exhibitors but as a standalone highlight, thanks again to the guys at Royal Mile, particularly Arthur whom apart fromguiding me in a few purchases also opened my eyes with a few other drams such as that particulalrly nice Nicaraguan rum.

Great day, roll on next year.
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Postby suffolkwhisky » Mon Mar 05, 2007 4:47 pm

Malt-Teaser wrote:Come on all you WL London visitors, the reports so far have been interesting, but what we really want to hear about is who won their fortune(s) at the Casino?

:wink:


I think that was me, but not at the casino: I won a unique bottle of Ardbeg Single Cask at the Ardbeg tasting!! :wink:

Overall, I feel the event may not have been as good as before but there were enough highlights to make it a very good couple of days. It was certainly a lot quieter and more civilized than on some previous occasions.

The drams that stick out were: Dalmore 40, The Glenlivet 1964 (mentioned elsewhere), Glenmorangie 30, Ardbeg Sherried Single cask, Ardbeg Nearly There, a new PC release and a couple of Juras - a 40 year old and the new heavily peated. Like others I was also impressed by some of the Japanese malts, but did not get to try these until the end of Saturday so my judgement may have been impaired.
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Postby ikendal » Mon Mar 05, 2007 10:05 pm

Had a fantastic time. Still not sure about the vouchers. Some stalls asked for them some didn't. The use of the vouchers were at the stall holders' discretion and used to distinguish between the enthusiast and the drinker, although this is plainly unfair as we all paid the same entrance, it did serve me well.
What was really interesting, I found out that at least one stall holder was asked to read the forum and had taken note and made comment to the WL organisers. So now I am a little assured they take note of what is written/said.

Highlights, 2 of clubs (number one bottling company) it wowed me so much I bought a bottle, then persuaded everyone I met to go and try some. And got a another sample each time. Loved the stuff. Also enjoyed HP master class. It really goes to show the value for money whisky live is. 5 whiskies ranging from 12 – 40 years is well worth the cost of the day. So I will be there next year.

Also I must make a special mention of Harry? From heaven hill, he gave his own master class to a group of five. Loved it- well done, he receive my ambassador of whisky award.

Also many many thanks to
Ardbeg, - Lord of the Isle will forever be in my memory.

Glenlivit - for they guardian dram

Compass box who are doing wonderful stuff

Penderyn for their company and enthusiasm

And Milroys who after a frosty start, warmed up to be very informative and generous.


Finally to WL knock a £5.00 of the ticket and let us chose our own food, a wafer thin slice of ‘something’ with mustard does not constitute food, same goes for the overcooked jacket with processed cheese. Go back to the cheese board you had two years ago. Although expensive at least I had the choice to buy it and it was excellent.

Nice to meet you matt, thank you.

An old landlord you to say to me “Beer in ---- Brains out” the same applies to whisky. I must say I did silly things on the way home, this includes partaking in a curry. When you get to know my stomach you will understand why this wasn’t amusing.


Nice to meet you bamber.
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Postby Mustardhead » Mon Mar 05, 2007 10:23 pm

I still haven't written up my report, but I will. A couple of quick observations:

The bad stuff:

Not getting a chance to meet Matt and Rob, both of whom I only saw as they were moving at high speed!

Not meeting more of the forum members.

Some of the stands were crammed into small spaces so there wasn't much room to get near them. There was space "wasted" on the casino/games area which could have been used to relieve pressure on some of the stands.


Some good points:

Having the food located on a different floor was great. It meant everyone had to take a break, get away from the whisky and sit down to eat. I thought the food was fine, nothing special but perfectly okay for what I needed.

Great layout to the event, it was easy to find everything and the Whisky Mag stand meant it was always going to be easy to find help!

Loads and loads of staff around.

Superb venue, much better than a new plastic conference centre.

A copy of Whisky Mag and a mini of HP12 on the way out were unexpected and very welcome :)

More to follow when I decipher my notes from the day...
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Postby RufusA » Tue Mar 06, 2007 12:11 am

ikendal wrote:Finally to WL knock a £5.00 of the ticket and let us chose our own food, a wafer thin slice of ‘something’ with mustard does not constitute food, same goes for the overcooked jacket with processed cheese.


Have to agree with this comment, IMHO the food was verging on the truly awful! I've never tasted such dried out meat in my life - including 3 day old christmas left overs, and the jacket potatos with no butter and processed cheese weren't much better - maybe I'm too fussy, but listening to the comments of fellow diners, I was not the only one.

It was an excellent idea having the food separate from the main venue to free up space, and keep drinkers off the floor, but for me it didn't work.

On previous years we've taken a break, left the building, had a long relaxed lunch with soft drinks, and returned (a little soberer) and fully refreshed all for under £6/head. On this occassion I spent a £5 "food tax", and an extra £2 on soft drinks, only to wolf it all down and be back drinking in less than 15 mins - not good for my head the following day!

Rufus.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Mar 06, 2007 9:28 am

I wasn't at WL London to see this in person, but I did attend WL Glasgow last September and I have to say that one thing I really liked in Glasgow was the area set out for food. Although a few more chairs would have been nice.

Food was not included in the entrance price, but it was available within the WL complex at a sensible price. In fact, the glorious weather helped as the food area was outside and we were able to sit and enjoy what we wanted to eat, when we wanted it and in lovely sunshine.

I have been a vociferous opponent to the new voucher scheme, but if the majority of people tell me this works, then so be it, I shall confess to being wrong and maybe chance another WL in the future.

But, when it comes to food, I have to be very careful what I eat and am rarely able to eat what others dictate I should be eating.
I think the secret to a successful WL event when it comes to food would be not to force specific items onto people.

I see two possibilities:

1. As people have suggested, reduce the entrance fee and ensure that there is a good choice for people to buy themselves. As I said, I was personally very happy with the offerings at WL Glasgow.

2. Having spoken at length to Damien last year about WL formats, I understand the policy behind making food inclusive, so why not issue a voucher for a certain amount of money redeemable against food items only?
Let's say that the specific food which was 'free' (included) this year was at a cost 3GBP, then just give a 3GBP 'food' voucher and let people choose what they want with the voucher? If they want a more expensive choice, then all they have to do is pay the extra.

It is of course possible that I have misunderstood the problem and this is what really happened. In which case the problem was one of choice and quality?
But when I hear of people complaining about jacket tatties with a choice of processed cheese or processed cheese and nothing else other than dried out meat sarnies, then something is wrong somewhere!

MT
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Postby bamber » Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:22 am

ikendal wrote:Nice to meet you bamber.


You too mate. Tried that 2 of clubs at your recommendation and it was enjoyed immensely.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:26 am

I have seen some of these playing card bottlings. Are they planning on working through a whole 52-card deck?
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Postby bamber » Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:37 am

Malt-Teaser wrote:I have seen some of these playing card bottlings. Are they planning on working through a whole 52-card deck?


Don't know, but what a great marketing idea. Really easy to remember - especially if you are a card player.
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Postby les taylor » Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:49 am

The playing card whiskies are from Hanu whiskies available through the Number one drinks co ltd. We had a master class that featured The KIng of Diamonds which was just amazing.

You know what its like and we did not buy any on the day. However my brother and I oredered a bottle each yesterday and it should be here today or tomorrow. An Ace if I'm not mistaken.


:)
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Postby arkle » Tue Mar 06, 2007 9:25 pm

Hi, am new to the group but have lurked for a couple of years,always interested in what everyone has to say.
Went to WL for third year and met more lovely people,so I thought I would share my thoughts for once.

Dissapointed that some were not there(Bruichladdich, Balvenie, Laphroaig) as I enjoy a good banter with them.

Highlights for me were Signatory Ladyburn, Signatory Bunnah 1997 peated.

Balblair 1979 at the Masterclass( the nose of a dunnage warehouse;exquisite!)

Aberlour A'bunadh batch 19, very different from previous batches.

Special praise to Edward Bates from Berry Bros who was very knowledgeable and knew just the sort of drams Id like.

Had a thoroughly good time and am looking forward to next year.

Regards Arkle
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Mar 06, 2007 9:41 pm

Hi Arkle and welcome to the world of posting on the forum. I'm pleased you finally 'came out' so to speak and look forward to more posts from you.

I also like a good old natter and banter with the folks from 'Laddie, they are always knowledgeable and good fun.

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Postby goldenprimrose » Wed Mar 07, 2007 12:43 am

I went to WL saturday afternoon.

Wasn't as busy as i thought it would be. Initially I was a bit sceptical, but thought the voucher system worked well. I bought 5 extra ones - but ended up bringing home 2!

Interesting to note how many of the companies are "re-labelling" their principal products - Bowmore and Longmorn for example (new LM-16 due in the shops this week according to the pleasant girl on the stand). The "new" Bowmore 15 was probably the pick of their range - nice balance. Haven't visited Bowmore in a while - and it was nice to seek out an old friend - must remember to buy a bottle when i'm next passing through a duty-free.

Other highlights for me where the Compass Box Stand, Glenrothes & an Cnoc where i had a chat with the master-distiller Gordon Bruce (I think that was his name - apologies if I'm wrong, but we are now at 5pm and my body is crying out enough) and a few samples of the 30 y-o.

I've sampled Compass Box products before (at the Whisky Exchange, Vinopolis) and they are a must-try. The hedonistic is truly excellent.

Glenrothes 79 and 91. 91 edges it for me.

Had a couple on the Signatory stand including the peated Ballechin from Edradour.

Ben Nevis are always a friendly outfit - I find the husband and wife combo amusing. Ardbeg, BBR & Classic Malts (Diageo) were all very helpful and happy to chat about everything and anything.

As always - it's the people you meet that make the day a good un. I meet more genuine and interesting peolple here than i do in a year's drinking in the pubs round S.E. London.

All-in nice day out and good value for the £20-odd quid that I spent
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Postby RufusA » Wed Mar 07, 2007 11:47 am

Has anyone got any photos from WL they are willing to share.

I took a small camera with me, but it was playing up and on checking the SD card - it's blank. Not sure if the camera was faulty, or I was a little fat fingered when reviewing the photos at the end of a days tastings?

Rufus.
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Postby Matt2 » Wed Mar 07, 2007 1:26 pm

Hi Rufus :) here a few I have dug out. More will go on the WL site when I get round to sorting them out....

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Mar 07, 2007 2:13 pm

<<deep envy>>
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Mar 07, 2007 4:06 pm

Reminds me to ask, Nick, what are the dates for Whisky Live Stornoway this year?
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Mar 07, 2007 5:13 pm

MrTattieHeid wrote:Reminds me to ask, Nick, what are the dates for Whisky Live Stornoway this year?

I don't know but it won't be on a Sunday.
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Postby fishboy » Wed Mar 07, 2007 5:34 pm

I'd settle for some info on WL Glasgow ....

All this talk of 1964 Glenlivet etc is making me extremely sad!

:cry:'
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Postby les taylor » Wed Mar 07, 2007 5:52 pm

fishboy be patient, your day will come. You shall go to the ball.


:)
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Mar 07, 2007 6:14 pm

Nick Brown wrote:
MrTattieHeid wrote:Reminds me to ask, Nick, what are the dates for Whisky Live Stornoway this year?

I don't know but it won't be on a Sunday.


No kidding...I seem to recall that if you want a pint on Sunday, you have to dine in one of the hotels, after which you can sit for as long as you like. And it was bartenders' night out--as I sat quietly, every bartender I'd seen the night before (and there were many) passed through. (I don't think they ate, though, so either I have the rules confused, or they are exempt.) The other thing I recall is that the pubs close early Saturday, so that everyone can be safely home by the Sabbath. Amusingly, the cabaret down the street was open a half an hour later, and the pub I was in emptied out a half-hour before closing so the weekend revelers could stand in line for half an hour, to get their extra half-hour in.

Last memory of Stornoway...as in any small town from Iceland to Idaho, the kids cruise up and down the main drag on Saturday night. Only they do it on foot--the main drag is pedestrianized. They look like mallwalkers!

Pardon the digression--back to Glenlivet '64. Can't be much left!
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