After last year’s virtual experience, the Whisky Show is back this weekend with three days of live show in their spiritual home, Old Billingsgate in London. Accompanying the 13th edition of the Whisky Show is a number of festival bottlings, including an Ardbeg, Bunnahabhain, a Blended Scotch and an undisclosed Speysider.
The Bunnahabhain was distilled in 2001 and is 19 years of age. Bottled at 54.3%, this single malt has matured in a sherry butt and should be everything you expect. Priced at £150.
Then there’s a 41-year-old Blended Scotch that has recently spent a fair amount of time in a single sherry butt. It’ll retail for £240 and is bottled at 46.2%.
An undisclosed single malt, A Speyside Distillery is 20 years old. It’s a family-owned producer who has asked not to be mentioned on the label. So, that point to Glenfarclas. This also matured in a sherry butt. It’s bottled at 57.6% and priced at £135.
Finally, the Ardbeg is 20-years-old and matured in a refill bourbon cask. It’s described as a “classic Kildalton and a cracking Ardbeg.” Bottled at 51.4%, it’s no surprise this is the priciest of the bunch at £450.
The theme of this year’s Whisky Show 2021 is A Journey Through Flavour, while the four bottlings celebrate the Science of Flavour. The designs for the whiskies were made by Elixir Distillers creative director, Raj Chavda. Turns out he was inspired by Whisky Exchange ambassador Billy Abbott:
“I was thinking about the show theme – a journey through flavour and having just completed my WSET Level Two Spirits qualification with Billy, words like ‘phenol’ and ‘congener’ came easily to mind. I started to think about what makes up flavours themselves and imagined these compounds as the heroes of whisky.“
The design of the bottles is quite insane. Raj experimented with different dimensions using anaglyphs. It basically means you can put on 3D glasses and the labels will have three dimensions.
Each of the labels features a superhero of sorts. There’s Captain Congener (A Speyside Distillery), Ester Elektron (Bunnahabhain), Aurora Aldehyde (Blended Scotch Whisky) and The Phenolic Phantom (Ardbeg).
Alongside the Science of Flavour bottlings is another whisky to celebrate the Whisky Show 2021 returning to being in real life. There are only 100 bottles of the Ben Nevis from the celebrated 1996 vintage. It’s bottled at 51.2% and priced at £250.
Now the big question: How do you get your hands on one (or all) of these? That’ll be difficult if you’re not attending the Whisky Show 2021. Ticket holders for both the physical and virtual Whisky Show 2021 will receive exclusive first access to the whiskies, which will be available via the on-site Whisky Show shop and The Whisky Exchange from 1 October 2021.
I visited the Whisky Show in 2018 (does that seem like an eternity ago), and was lucky to try that year’s bottlings. You can check out my review here.