Awards & Events

A great vintage

The fourth Whisky Live Paris saw an incredible gathering of rare and exciting drams,we find out more
By Rob Allanson
The theme of Whisky Live Paris 2007 focused on rarity and exception, each stand presenting a ‘collector’ to be sampled by the visitors.A prestigious gathering indeed: 50 old bottles or very limited releases including blends, single malts and a few bourbons.The oldest was a blend, a Ballantine’s bottled in 1935. One of the most acclaimed drams was the Classic Balvenie 18 Years Old, in an original long neck bottle, reminicent of an old armagnac flask.The Laphroaig 10 Years Old dating from the 70s and the Ardbeg 10 Years Old (white label) from the same period were praised by many as exceptional drams.Once again, Balblair greatly impressed with a 38 Years Old bottling, quite recent but already sold out.The Glenfiddich stand offered a large selection of old bottlings of the standard version, including the very first one, released in the 60s. Hans-Henrik Hansen, the well-known Danish Glenfiddich expert, had joined William Grant’s marketing team to comment on these oldies.And a special tasting was hosted on Thursday night for the aficionados.The venue matched the theme as Whisky Live Paris was held in the superb salons of Christie’s, the famous British auction house.One may wonder what heights some of these bottles would have reached, had they been auctioned instead of being enjoyed.The pleasure they gave the visitors is one of the best dividends you can expect from a collection.The event welcomed 2500 visitors in three days.Whisky Magazine French Edition had also focused its last issue on the ‘Collector’ theme and so had La Maison du Whisky in its annual catalogue.But Whisky Live is also the event that the brands choose to unveil their new collections.Whisky Magazine readers had the chance to taste the new Glenmorangie range or some of Diageo Special Releases. John Glaser’s new creation, Hedonism Maximus (a blend between two bourbons and two grain whiskies, respectively 28 and 42 Years Old) was presented for the first time at Whisky Live Paris and received a unanimous applause.There was also a “Whisky Live off”event with several evenings, starting on the Thursday which made Paris the Capital of whisky for a long weekend.Focusing on wine finishes, a special tasting was hosted in a prestigious Parisian wine cellar, L’Ampelos,on Thursday 21st. On the menu were Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or (Sauternes wine finish) and the new Benriach Moscatel and Tokay finishes.Whisky aficionados had to make a difficult choice as they were also offered another fantastic tasting a selection of five drams from the Glenfarclas Family Casks.All sherry bottlings but very different.The 1955 cask will long be remembered!Saturday night was dedicated to malt and food combination with two tantalising events. A cooking session held in Paris most trendy cooking school, L’Atelier des chefs,gave the participants a lively demonstration of how to nibble with the Classic Malts range.The “students” scattered from stand to stand to prepare 12 mouthwatering “bouchées”, each time matching one savoury and one sweet tapa with a Classic Malt.The “tartare de daurade à la pomme verte et à la mangue (raw white fish with granny smith apple and mango) combined with Oban was one of the highlights. One could also learn to prepare a tuna and salmon maki, to be served with Talisker.In Paris “Far East” (13th district), Jean-Michel Noel, a talented chef (and whisky enthusiast) had created a four courses menu around Compass Box John Glaser’s range.A superb “exercice de style”which married marinated sardine and crispy tomato with Eleuthera or Oak Cross followed by a truffle and haddock shepherd pie with Spice Tree.A fresh goats cheese as a carpaccio brushed with olive oil and pistaccio was associated with The Peat Monster or Flaming Heart and the apotheosis came with a blancmange with Hedonism (the perfect dram) or Orangerie. Singlemalt TV has filmed the chef and sampled a few delights.But that was not all for Saturday.When talking of pairing, cigar and whisky is a classic one, which was not forgotten at Whisky Live. A tasting around a small selection of rare bottles (Glenmorangie 25 Years Old and Laphroaig 1980) and a Cohiba Madura 5 limited edition 2007 offered the participants some great marriages made in heaven !Last but not least, another tasting session was dedicated to the Oldies with a prestigious tasting of some of the rarest bottles of Giuseppe Begnoni, including Clynelish 5 Years Old extra light (bottled in the earlies 70s),Glendronach 8 Years Old 45.4% and Caol Ila 15 Years Old (the golden flagon decanter).An exclusive moment of enjoyment for a few dozens of happy few.Whisky Live Paris 2007 was certainly a great Collector Vintage.