Category Archives: New Zealand Whisky

The Opening Up Of Whiskey Shows In A Post-Pandemic Setting – Fife Whisky Festival 2022

There was a bit of rounding the circle to my attendance at the Fife Whisky Festival 2022.

The show was my last event back in 2020 before lockdown ensued – & marks my first in a post-pandemic situation.

An eager & good natured queue formed outside Cupar’s Corn Exchange building in anticipation of the spirits within & it wasn’t too long before I arrived at my first stall.

Nc’nean are part of the new wave of Scottish Distilleries springing up around the country.

Their debut Organic Single Malt proved a lovely ex-bourbon & wine cask style of whisky with elegantly clear flavours.

I liked the clean, bold no nonsense Ardnumurchan bottle – along with the whisky too! A lovely combination of ex-bourbon, sherry & smidgen of peat.

Badachro‘s whisky isn’t matured – but they offer a gently peated Highland Single Malt from an unnamed source as a taster of things to come from this boutique distillery.

Established distillery Glen Moray provided the first of a few peated drams with their easy & accessible Peated Single Malt.

Springbank showcased their single malt range – but what took my eye was Campbeltown Loch Blended Malt.

Andy Stewart no longer needs to wish Campbeltown Loch was whisky – it is now!

Made up of Springbank, Hazelburn, Longrow, Kilkerran & Glen Scotia malts it proved to be a lovely well balanced soft peater.

I couldn’t come to the Fife Whisky Festival without sampling some of the local produce.

Lindores Abbey’s core release is a very pleasant – if somewhat understated – well balanced single malt. Still think Irish Whiskey needs an MCDV release myself.

Kingsbarns Distillery Reserve at 61.8% provided a bigger hit for my palate both in terms of flavour – and spirity punch!

There were a few non-Scotch entrants at the show.

Mackmyra impressed me with their AI:02 Intelligens. The algorithms must be in tune with my tastebuds as I preferred this one over the Stjarnrok single malt from their seasonal release range.

New Zealand’s Cardrona were back with their Growing Wings 5yo single malt. It offered a fuller flavour than the younger Newly Hatched I enjoyed back in 2020. Both packed a high ABV punch at 65.6%!

Spotting Black Tot Rum on the Elixir stall I couldn’t resist.

A delightful blend of Jamaican, Guyanaian & Barbadian rums modelled on the Royal Navy rum tot proved to be a highly entertaining tipple!

My last few samples were from a selection of independent bottlers who mainly do non chill filtered, natural colour & often single cask, cask strength bottles in limited – not to be repeated – releases from a variety of distilleries.

At Carn Mor I enjoyed a 7yo peated bottling distilled at Highland Park named Whitlaw.

For Scotch Malt Whisky Society -SMWS – I shunned their limited edition single malts & opted for the attractively designed label of Peat Faerie blended malt for yet another sweet peater with a kick.

The Single Cask Staoisha 6yo distilled at Bunnahabhain offered a combination of soft peat & sweet wine cask influence.

Fable Whisky‘s artwork had me hooked.

Sadly they had no peated bottles on show – so I chose by artwork. Chapter 11 happened to be a Glen Spey & whilst very nice – didn’t wow as much as the art did!

And with that – it was all over!

A generous feed of chips ‘n’ cheese, a packed train of fellow whisky fans back to Kirkcaldy & a short walk to the hotel ended yet another wonderful foray exploring the fine whisky on show at the highly enjoyable Fife Whisky Festival 2022.

Sláinte

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Fife Whisky Festival 2020

The 2020 Fife Whisky Festival was my 2nd visit to this wonderful show – and it’s 3rd successful outing held in the Corn Exchange building in Fife’s former County Town of Cupar.

My agenda – as always – is to taste as many new whiskies as I could safely manage – using the water stations to rehydrate along the way.

Spotting a newcomer straight away – I wasted no time in getting stuck in.

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Langatun Old Deer, 40%.

My 1st foray into Swiss Whisky – and very good it was too! Nice clean flavours & a lovely long finish. Old Deer is the sherry finished version – I think the peated Old Bear would have been more my style – but it wasn’t available on the day.

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Angel’s Nectar Rich Peat, 46%.

Rich Peat had a more smoky rather than medicinal quality  & was perfectly balanced with some heavier toffee notes. I found the black bottle & design very alluring too.

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Adelphi Dancey Man, Blend, 40%.

The fancy design caught my eye but the liquid inside was a more mediocre affair and failed to excite my palate.

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Holyrood Distillery Smoky & Sweet New Make, 63.5%.

Part of the next generation Scotch Whisky makers & not around for long enough for whisky so a trio of new makes were offered to entertain. Smoky certainly spoke to me with it’s strong powerfulness & drying peat hit. Sweet didn’t captivate me as much.

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Inchdairnie Ryelaw 2yo 59%.

Inchdairnie continue to excite with their mysterious black tent into which you are invited to nose the marvelous mixed grain mash bills including oats, rye & the more traditional barley. Very impressive & innovative. The Ryelaw was young, fresh & spicy with a good body. I can’t wait for future releases from this ground breaking distillery.

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Matugga Golden Rum, 42%.

Rum made a welcome appearance too. Matugga’s Golden Rum had a smoky funk on the nose, a softly smooth palate & a nice warming finish.

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Matugga Mavuno Rum, 46%.

The innovative aging in Acacia Casks has added a lip smacking dry spiciness to the soft funk. Lovely stuff!

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Cardrona Just Hatched, 64.4%.

All the way from New Zealand came this youthful yet powerfully flavored cask strength single malt. One to look out for.

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James Eadie, Cameronbridge 22yo, Marsala cask, 59.6%.

Stopping by the James Eadie stall to congratulate them on their Trade Mark X Blend. 45.6% enjoyed previously here led onto a wider tasting.

The Cameronbridge was the aptly chosen Fife Whisky Show exclusive – although I found it a bit too sweet for my palate.

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The BenRinnes 11yo Sherry Cask, 59.9% was of similar style.

Meanwhile Caol Ila 9yo, 46% won me over with it’s soft peatiniess & dark fruits.

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Lady Of The Glen, North British 26yo, 49.2%.

Obviously an exclusively bourbon cask matured grain suited me better as I enjoyed the combination of vanillas & woody tannins in this attractively bottled offering.

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Old Perth, Sherry Cask, 43.7%.

This revived blend comes in a variety of styles. Despite not being a favourite finish of mine Old Perth had great flavour that would encourage me to try out the others.

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Kirkwall Bay, 46%.

Independent bottlers Morrison & Mackay release this delightfully dry smoky blended malt.

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Tullibardine 15, 43%.

I’d only recently visited this often overlooked distillery & was pleasantly surprised by the attractiveness & enjoyability of their blended & single malt portfolio. This 15 year old only further cemented my appreciation of this hard working distillery.

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Penderyn Peated 46%.

Penderyn had a large presence at the show. Only when being poured their Peated Gold Range product did I notice the bottle sported angular ‘sides’ with etched lettering. A lovely little attention to detail that matched the attractiveness of the liquid inside.

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Rhiannon, 46%.

I didn’t realize Penderyn’s Icon Of Wales series was still going strong after my happy encounter with the 1st Red Flag release here. Rhiannon is the 7th offering and very attractively labelled too – although she didn’t quite win my palate over.

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Royal Welsh Whisky, 43%.

Modeled on an unearthed original Welsh Whisky bottle from the Frongoch Distillery this Icon Of Wales No 6 was much more up my street. A delightfully balanced peat smoke with heavier, dark fruity notes.

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Daftmill 2007 Winter Batch, 46%.

It wouldn’t be a Fife Whisky Festival without the highly esteemed local distillery.  I’d only sampled straight from the cask before when on a visit prior to their whisky being released here. Now was my chance to sample the finished product. A very finely balanced, even well cultured bourbon cask matured malt with depth & complexity.

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Kilkerran Heavily Peated Batch 2, 60.9%.

Sometimes I just love a bold, brash & youthful ‘in yer face’ kind of whisky. Heavily Peated provided that in bucketloads. Gorgeous.

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Kilkerran Heavily Peated Batch 3, 60.9%.

An as yet unreleased slightly older version of Batch 2. This possessed a more balanced peat hit contrasting with the underlying biscuity malt & sweet vanillas from the bourbon casks. Even more gorgeous.

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Nikka Days, 40%.

After discovering the delights of Nikka From The Barrel on my London walkabout here – the garish label of Days pulled me in. I wasn’t disappointed. A fine blend offering rich vanillas & fruitiness with a hint of smoke from some Yoichi malt.

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A group of merry imbibers shared the  last stall & we partook of a Nikka Coffey Grain, 45%.

I found the whisky an apt dram to raise a final glass.

We toasted another fabulously organized Fife Whisky Show.

I toasted the enduring legacy of Irishman Aeneas Coffey to the modern whisky industry.

And we toasted the return of the show in 2021.

Sláinte

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