Photograph: Magnus

Summary of the Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival 2010

Here comes Filips (profile) summary of the Stockholm Beer & Whisky Festival 2010, I’ll ad my two cents later on in another post.

Stockholm Beer & Whisky FestivalIt’s the first time for me visiting one of these events and i was thrilled! We arrived at 11.15am. and there were about 200 people before us and continued to grow at rapid paste (it opens at Soon we weren’t able to see the end of the cue. Most of the people are of course here for the beer. Me? I’m here for some hard-to-find whiskies and to try some beers too. I’m not that big beer lover, sure I love a cold Danish bottle in the middle of the summer and always take the chance to try some unusual stuff but usually fall short and really don’t appreciate what is in the glass. What a shame but we have all this fantastic whisky instead!

It’s clear when I first enter that I’m a real nerd, I mean really big, haha. Most people are happy sipping Lagavulin 16 and checking the news from Carlsberg when I’m on the hunt for that little table with rare single casks and never-heard-of African beer. African beer was a joke, do they make beer? No? Or do they? Send me an note if they do!

The festival is divided with tiny stands from small independent bottlers/brewers to large stands with flashing lights and “booth-babes” (the ones almost naked smiling and flirting with everyone…). Yeah I enjoy them too, no need to lie. There’s also this luxurious stand with old bookshelves, a fake fire, some big leather seats and a fancy looking fellow in an Armani suit. I think it was Glenfiddich but no visits during my stay and sure I can only speak for myself but I don’t wan’t let my ass grow bigger in a leather chair sipping Glenfiddich 40 hearing the rambling from some fancy looking fellow… I wanna with elbows and fist get my way trough the floor to my favourites and  talk with the people who get their hands dirty for their passion.

Here is some of the fine spirits I tried during the festival. Some notes got lost and some I were sloppy. As always it’s highly personal and you might not think as highly about them as me.

Big thanks to the people at Symposion (swedish) for their great knowledge, kindness and this fantastic package of whiskies from 1950/1960 at a great discount.

Benromach 1968, 45.4% Gordon & McPhail

I don’t know what to say. If you find a bottle get your dirty hands all over it no matter the price. I tried to take notes but lost myself in the glass admiring the work and love. My few scraps say: Sherry, coffee and chocolate. This is one of the few times when you just cant get yourself together and ruin it by taking it apart writing notes. Its beautiful, classic and fantastic. Nothing more to say, sorry. 95p

Coeur de lion 1973 Calvados

I have never been the one to find pleasures in cognac or old liqueur so this came as a happy surprise! Calvados is as you know aged apple cider from France. Never tried breaking down reviewing one but here goes nothing! Green apples and oak. Well there is not more then that but it somehow combines it feeling old powerful and completely sucking you to a French apple farm. Pure magic and I don’t know how to describe it any other way… Its magic! It’s marvellous! 98p

Coeur de lion Hors d’Age

Did the mistake of trying this after the Coeur de lion 1973 bottle so might not be a truly honest score. Directly it feels younger! Fresh green apples, less oak and a heavier reminder of the fiery alcohol. This is a great starter to explore this all-award-winning Calvados! 85p

Glen Grant 1955, 50 years 40% Gordon & McPhail

No notes. 92p

Glenburgie 1964, 43% Gordon & McPhail

Sweet smoked blackcurrant! Mmm! 91p

Glenlivet 1955, 50years 40% Gordon & McPhail

Reading my crappy notes: Roasted almonds, coffey, dandelion and pears. Do you think Gordon & McPhail need new staff? I will be first in line! 93p

Macallan 1968 43% Gordon & McPhail

Old Macallan, good stuff! This was probably the most peculiar drink i had during the whole day and it took me a while founding out the word i was looking for. Oh! Sweet sea grass! I know! What the hell? I love sushi and especially when they make these rolls with fresh stuffed sea grass. This was just like that! Love at first sip. 94p

Nikka Taketsuru 12 years

Like always I find myself in the situation of having tried the older version before the younger and perhaps then giving it a bad judge. An perfect example would be trying an handful of Ardbeg singles from 1965-1999 before even having tried the Ardbeg Ten. Think I still haven’t tasted that one, shame on me! Sorry back to Taketsuru! I’m a big fan of its 35yo family member so how does this newly released younger version fair? Mild grass, fudge a bit floral and chocolate. Easy sipping! 85p

Nikka 70th Anniversary Blend

This is the result from blending the Miyagikyo, Yoichi and Grain together from the 70th Anniversary series and is it a winner? Yepp. Absolutely incredible! Really complex with lots of exotic sweet fruits (probably the grain here!), green pears, plums, smoke and tobacco. Masterly crafted! 93p

Springbank CV

This is really not fair. As you’ve seen above there is a list of 1950s and 1960s whiskies tried. I got this one just for comparison the difference in making whisky in the 1950s and nowadays. It falls short and feels dull. Trying this alone I’ll bet it would score higher. Poor CV. 80p

Strathisla 1964 43% Gordon & McPhail

Good old well crafted Strathisla. Nothing more to say. 92p

Yoichi No Age Statement

Very smooth and easygoing. Little fruity, little smoky. A fine whisky at a great price. Its hard to believe but in Japan it costs only 5-6€ and therefore is the cheapest Single Malt in the world. Even cheaper then the one from Lidl… That says a lot. In Europe you going to pay around 50€ for a bottle and its only 50cl. It feels like a really bad choice when you could get the Yoichi 10yo instead. Its very good though, if your friends are going to Japan ask them to buy a hole box! 84p

Yoichi 12 years 70th Anniversary Bottling

Smells like cigarette smoke tastes like anchovy broth, not nice! Its like licking an salted ashtray. Its not bad, its still drinkable but i expected more from this fantastic packaged bottle. Pretty on the outside, salty on the inside. I’m not sure if i should fall for this salty cigarette dram but it didn’t go well tonight. 86p

Yoichi 1991, 18 years Cask No. 129374

Ah, here we go! Hard smoke. sea salt and pepper. Perfectly balanced and smooth all the way down! Heres a Yoichi to love! 91p

That was sure hard work! No, not really haha. A true pleasure! Tried of course a bunch of different beers but the names have completely vanished. What I remember strongest was a Danish beer with a devilish slogan. “devilish good”, something. Sorry neighbours! If anyone have any idea send me a mail ASAP!

Diageo was on site but all of the new 2010 releases of Port Ellen, Talisker, Brora, Glenkinchie had been delayed, too bad! I did have some really bad cravings for the PE 10th release and Glenkinchie 20yo.

One thing that bothers me with these events is the food. Since you cant leave the area and return and you really need to get something to eat your forced to these small freaking expensive small hot-dog stands. They charge around 4-5€ for a normal hot-dog. 8-10€ for a dry factory made burger or a sloppy tortilla filled with some sort of chili-dogmeat-stew. Don’t make me go there.

Over all, i loved it! I know Jens also visited this festival a week later and i am really excited to hear his thoughts. Too bad we couldn’t go there together!

Is there any festival in your country soon? Please write something about it and maybe we will drop by!

Questions? Just fire them away and I’ll answer asap.