Campbeltown Chronicles – Part 3: Scorchio!

On the third day of the festival, the Wee Toon decided to change its name to… the Costa del Campbeltown. As it was absolutely scorchio, we decided to make the most of the sunshine and walk to Springbank from our cottage. Our tasting wasn’t until 3:30pm so we had plenty of time to head in at a leisurely pace.  Or so we thought…

Either Google lied to us or we were walking much slower than we thought. Quite possibly the latter bearing in mind that both Florian and Stefan were wearing lederhosen. Yes… actual lederhosen. Their gait suggested that this attire was not conducive to a mini Scottish heatwave. And neither of them had any Vaseline (or none that they would admit to, anyway). Either way, it became clear that we were not going to make the tasting on time. Then the bright idea came to me; let’s hitch a lift.

two men wearing lederhosen

Photo courtesy of Jo Lawson.

The problem was that nobody was stopping; not even for my wee face which, incidentally, is one that people often feel sorry for. There were clearly two main flaws in my plan. Firstly, there were six of us. Secondly, two of the group were wearing lederhosen.  As Jo and Klaus had upped the pace and gone on ahead, I decided it was time to play our trump card: Viva. Whilst we kept our distance, with her thumb out and her red locks flowing, the next car stopped. Viva jumped in the passenger seat and I couldn’t help but sense the guy’s disappointment when Florian, Stefan and I bundled into the back of the car after her.  Off the four of us went to the distillery…

In Campbeltown, I jumped in a taxi, to head back the way I’d just come, to meet Jo and Klaus, pick them up and make our way back to the tasting. These things never start on time anyway and we arrived with at least 20 seconds to spare.

The tasting itself was the Cadenhead Masterclass presented by Mark Watt, Cameron McGeachy and Jenna McIntosh, featuring six drams from the current bottlings and future releases.

The following tasting notes were written at the time of the tasting so might not be as full as I’d have liked. I have some samples so that I can revisit them later but these were my first impressions:-

whisky tasting

whisky tasting

whisky tasting

1) Glen Elgin 21 yrs – 54.7%

Nose: cut grass; very subtle oak; sherbet; Lovehearts sweets; green apple

Palate: bubblegum; gooseberries

2) Knockdhu 10 yrs – 56.5%

Nose: cream soda; bananas; custard creams

Palate: rubber; gooseberries; Haribo Tangfastics

3) Fettercairn 28 yrs – 55.4%

Nose: slight hint of rubber; plasters; vanilla; fresh cream

Palate: rubber; pepper; oak; gooseberries

4) Cameronbridge 33 yrs – 53.4%

Nose: vanilla ice cream; marshmallows; toffee; Golden Syrup; incense

Plate: foam bananas; Golden Syrup; dusty books; Werthers Originals

5) Littlemill 26 yrs – 53.1%

Nose: subtle hint of leather; old books; Drumsticks lollies

Palate: kiwi; lychee; has a grapefruit sharpness; becomes bitter towards the finish

6) Laphroaig 25 yrs – 49%

Nose: church incense; burnt match; BBQ smoke; BBQ ribs

Palate: Frazzles; BBQ sauce

After the tasting, the gorgeous weather was just perfect for enjoying the atmosphere of the Springbank Open Day… sitting outside, in the sunshine, partaking of a few drams from the warehouse whisky bar. Don’t ask me what I had; by the time I’d carried all five back to the little spot on the grass where we were sitting, I couldn’t remember. And even if I had been able to remember, I had muddled them all up anyway. All I know is that I enjoyed them.

With a mixture of visitors and locals, the Campbeltown Brass Band and plenty of stalls from local businesses, the atmosphere was fantastic.  It was great to finally put faces to twitter handles and to make new whisky pals. I think Klaus has already summed this up in a previous blog post and he’s right; the whisky’s great but it’s the people that make these events so memorable.

whisky tasting

Photo courtesy of Jo Lawson.

Huge thanks to Jo Lawson for allowing me to use a couple of her photos.


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