I’ve never been much of a one for exhibitions and so my visit to The Whisky Exchange Show at Vinnopolis on the South Bank in London, a warehouse on the edge of Borough Market, engendered a surprising amount of excitement in me. The whisky industry has so far been extraordinarily welcoming to my aims and ideas for MoonShine, and I was keen to meet new friends. I was also rather worried about how I was going to cope with tasting whiskies all day as I have yet to decide on the perfect time for this most essential and pleasurable of activities!
Firstly, I did feel old! The whisky industry is aiming at a younger market - and that was obvious from both the manning of the big corporate stands and the demographic of the queue waiting patiently in the rain on Trade Day. I doubt there were many supermarket buyers in attendance but there were plenty of bars, pubs and clubs represented, in amongst press, bloggers and independent retailers.
Trade Day rides on the back of two days for the public which must have been frantic! With the giants like Diageo and Pernod-Ricard moving to non-age statement whiskies I heard various comments about traditional whisky buffs who had tried whiskies but could not compute their credentials as the age wasn’t on the bottle. That’s like a UK recipe writer refusing to embrace metrication! If there is going to be enough whisky for the market we have to get on with it - and I for one think that it offers enormous possibilities, especially for my interest in whiskies to drink with food.
My over-riding impression was that the boutique and designer distilleries and blenders were so steeped in what they are doing that their enthusiasm and ernest desire to share their knowledge was oozing out of them like the Angel’s Share pouring from a barrel with the bung left out! I was saturated with information and generosity whilst carefully managing my tasting and making notes of whiskies to try in the future. The Big Boys? Well, I just hate it when people are looking over your shoulder whilst talking, supposedly, to you. Perhaps that was just a reaction to my own particular age statement?!
The Whisky Exchange retails an amazing selection of whiskies online at http://www.thewhiskyexchange.com and also has a shop at Vinnopolis, by London’s Borough Market.