Did someone say Whisky Stramash?

…unfortunately they did and rather than a Stramash it was it a bit of a damp squib.

I like drinking whisky.

I like going to whisky events and tastings.

So, I was quite excited about going to my first ever Stramash on 24 May at the Surgeon’s Hall in Edinburgh.

On reflection I can come up with is two positives:

  1. My drinking companion (Nicole – who loves a big sausage)
  2. Pickering’s Gin (I’ll come back to this shortly)

I’m still trying to figure out why it was such a let-down and three possible reasons come to mind:

  1. Was it a complete lack of any interesting new whiskies to sample?
  2. Was it the 10ml samples? (I mean come on, how are you supposed to get an impression from a 10ml sample.)
  3. Possibly a complete lack of atmosphere in the venue?

In the end it wasn’t just one of these things it was a combination of all three, complimented by some of the least friendly, uninterested staff I have ever come across. I should quantify, not all the staff were like this but some were bordering on obnoxious and seemed put out by you asking a question.

I still can’t figure out why they had to spend 10 minutes telling you what the whisky tasted like when they could have just poured you a sample and let you find out for yourself!

Oh, best not forget some of the most unmemorable whisky at this kind of event. There was no real stand out whisky to be tasted.

Don’t get me wrong there was some nice whisky on offer from Laphroaig and Bowmore, as well as a slightly interesting new bottling from Highland Park. But nothing I’ve not had before and nothing I would run out and buy.

That being said the corner between the Bowmore/Laphroaig stall and the Yamazaki/Auchentoshan/Highland Park stall was a great spot for getting a bit of space and easy access to some of the better whisky of the day.

Maybe, I’m being overly critical, I’d just attended back to back tasting at SMWS Queen Street (@SMWSQueenStreet) which were both fantastic, incredible whisky, excellent food and similarly good quality company.

So I’ve had to ask myself, had I set the bar too high for the Stramash? – I don’t think I did!

Where my expectations to high? – I really don’t think they were!

One thing I have taken from the Stramash is a change in my attitude to gin. It took a bit of prompting by Nicole for me to try some. I’m glad she did convince me to try it.

In my head up to this point, all gin tasted like Gordon’s, awful!

Pickering’s gin could not be further from that and it was such a pleasant surprise. So needless to say I’m going to explore gin a lot more carefully going forward now. If I develop a bit of a gin habit, it’s all Nicole’s fault for convincing me to try it!

So, first time at the Stramash will quite probably be the last. This will be confirmed in the next few weeks at the Edinburgh Whisky Solstice and this summer’s Whisky Fringe and seeing how both these measure up against the Stramash. Last year both were excellent and a class above my experience of the Stramash, so may make the decision not to go back next year a lot easier.

Massive thanks to Nicole for accompany me to yet another tasting/event and convincing me gin is not evil after all.


4 June 2015