Whisky Live 2003 runs on 7th and 8th March at the Royal Horticultural Halls, London SW1, and is the United Kingdom’s premier whisky tasting event. Organised by Whisky Magazine, last year it attracted about 800 visitors. There is plenty to entice both the seasoned whisky-lover and the novice: the chance to taste rare and sought-after whiskies and meet the experts often featured in the pages of Whisky Magazine, and to learn about the world of whisky and get a feel for the great variety of whiskies available, as well as expert advice.A full two days is not sufficient time to enjoy even half of the whiskies/whiskeys on show, the sheer range of which will challenge even the most determined taster: everything from old favourites to unusual finishes to bourbons to rare bottlings – an astonishing variety. Just some of the big names in whisk(e)y attending this year’s event are Aberlour, Bruichladdich, Buffalo Trace, Chivas Regal, Classic Malts, The Glenlivet, Gordon & Macphail, Highland Park, The Macallan, Signatory, Talisker, Woodford Reserve, and many more besides (see facing page).The venue
The Lindley Hall, situated in the heart of central London, one of the Royal Horticultural Halls, hosts a colourful panorama of whisky stands during the annual Whisky Live. On arrival, visitors receive an exhibition brochure and tasting glass, which is to keep as a souvenir afterwards. Beyond the fray, the Whisky Café situated on a raised area to the side of the main hall provides welcome sustenance and soft drinks.Masterclasses
For a more personal and in-depth experience, try an organised tutored tasting – a Masterclass. Lasting for an hour approximately, each Masterclass is hosted in a room at the Conference Centre a few steps across from the main hall. Masterclasses can provide the once-in-a-lifetime chance to taste whiskies that will never be publicly available, or that are still not available on general release. Rare tastings conducted during 2002’s Masterclasses included Glengoyne Scottish Oak Finish, The Glenlivet 1959 and Laphroaig 30-Year-Old aged in sherry wood.Participants settle back and enjoy absorbing whisk(e)y knowledge from those that work in the industry and really know what it’s all about, in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. The floor is open for debate. Whether you want to find out how bourbon is produced, what spirit tastes like at different stages of development, or what makes your favourite single malt so superb, then this is for you.This year’s Masterclasses feature Springbank, Buffalo Trace, The Macallan Fine and Rare, The Glenlivet and Signatory, among others. See page 46 for details.