The Whisky Show Old & Rare

Roberto takes us through his favourites from the Whisky Show Old & Rare 2019.

The Whisky Show Old & Rare

Having worked in the wine and whisky world since I became old enough to drink, I have visited my fair share of shows and exhibitions, both as a guest and an exhibitor. They’re always a great way to discover new whiskies, meet producers and like-minded enthusiasts, and scout out that elusive dram to tick off your bucket list.

Whisky.Auction exhibited at The Whisky Show Old & Rare in 2018 and 2019. As whisky shows go, this one really is on another level. Stands hosted by private collectors, bar owners and specialists give guests an opportunity to sample some very, very rare whiskies, a world apart from the drams available at regular shows. Where else can you taste an Ardbeg 1969 and Talisker 1957 Connoisseurs Choice on the same table? Right next to a Tomatin 1965 and Longrow 1973 from renowned Italian bottler Moon Import.

The Whisky.Auction stand gives guests an idea of the kind of whiskies available in our monthly auction – Caol Ila 1969 from Duncan Taylor, Littlemill 1988 Pearls of Scotland, and the exceptional Karuizawa 33 Year Old Golden Geisha to name a few. As well as these, we had our mystery blends from the 1940s and 1950s – mostly unlabelled bottles of Old Angus, Grant’s Standfast, Berry’s Best, and a 12 Year Old from J & G Thompson (these were identified from the embossing and capsules of the bottles). Blends like these display the differences between old and contemporary whisky beautifully, and are really what the Old & Rare show is all about – the chance to taste a piece of distilling history.

This was the show where I found perhaps my favourite whisky to date. Near the end of the final day, I came across a bottle of Caperdonich 1972 38 Year Old from Duncan Taylor’s Rare Auld series. I wasn’t expecting the distillery formerly known as ‘Glen Grant 2’ to be such a knock out. I was blown away by the depth and sheer complexity, one of the fruitiest whiskies I’d ever tasted, with mind-bending tropical notes of fruits I couldn’t begin to name! It’s still a firm favourite of mine, hopefully I can get my hands on another sample next year.