Saturday, September 4, 2010

Another Review, Whisky Live Sydney 2010

Gentlemen, I thought I’d get out a quick review of last night’s Whisky Live event. As most of the Club’s members were present I doubt my opinion will come as a surprise to many. Like last year the night was great fun. The company was great and the venue was nice enough though it has to be said, not outstanding (no harbour views this year). It was good to catch up with club members and I think I can safely say that everybody enjoyed themselves.

However, I must admit I do have some complaints. Frankly I was a little surprised by line up of whisky’s which were present. I think I can safely say to the organisers that if I pay $85 for a ticket (or more for VIP’s) to a whisky exhibition, I don’t want to see bottles I can purchase for $25 down at the local liquor store gracing the tables. I want to see quality. I was dismayed by some of the drinks that were presented.

Secondly, I was extremely disappointed that several large well known whisky’s which were present at 2009 didn’t show up this year. Ardbeg/Glenmorangie being the most obvious but others included Glenfiddich, Edradour, and Glenfarclas. I suppose the organisers can’t be entirely blamed for that, but perhaps if you’re going to host the largest Whisky Show in the country you could try a little harder.

Thirdly, I was extremely disappointed that not every table had whisky for sale on the night (note to Whisky Live organisers: make sure for 2011 that every table has some stock for sale). Even worse, some of the sales reps couldn’t even tell me where in Australia the whisky could be bought. This to me seems to be rank incompetence of the highest order. If you’re a sales rep, surely knowing where the product is sold is high on your list of priorities…

Fourthly, when the advertising for the event indicated that some great distilleries like Macallan and Laphroaig were going to be present, I expect more than a couple of bottles on a shared table with four or five other whiskies. The two bottles of Laphroaig were entry level and are readily available in just about every bottle shop in the country. Not only that but I couldn’t even buy one to take home. That’s very disappointing. Same goes for Macallan. It’s a whisky show; give us something different or special.

In my opinion the standout exhibiter was Talisker (Diageo, Classic Malts Selection). They had a sales rep who knew his label, and was articulate and well presented. Not all the others could say that. It was a shame that they didn’t allow tastings of the higher end whisky but, maybe next year. I also think the joint presentation by the Tasmanian distillers did well, and was well organised. My view though is that Sullivans Cove is by far the standout Australian whisky, by a long long way.

If I was going to rate the event on our usual scale I would give it 4 out of 7 lightning bolts. It was fun, I had a good time and I’m glad I went, but there is plenty of room for improvement, especially on the organisational side.

The Colonel,