In a historic 500 year old church last weekend the Hielander Whisky Festival was held again. This festival is organized by Ebbo Voorhout of the Grote Sint Laurents Church and Wullie Macmorland, owner of Hielander Scottish Restaurant in Alkmaar. In 2011 this festival was setup for the first time, and is now a 3.000 m2 venue, with many stands, music, masterclasses and superb food.
The Hielander Scottish Restaurant started in 1989, so this year they will have their 25th anniversary. Keep an eye out on their website to see what great nights and activities there will be. We already heard that they are going to make the breakfast at Maltstock so that is going to be a real treat!
This year’s Hielander Whisky Festival was our first festival of 2014. Last year we went there for the first time and we just loved the relaxed atmosphere. We did not have to think long about going again. Looking back the last year past us by very fast. Going to Hielander Whisky Festival in 2013 was the first post Ansgar did on her blog and it was a bit the beginning of the journey together in the world of whisky. A lot of good things have happened in that year and we enjoyed it very much. And this year is going to be even better, we are sure of it!
This festival is set in the biggest medieval church building in the centre of Alkmaar. 26 freestanding columns support the bridge and vaults. This church is build in a Gothic style, and has a height of 35 meters and with a cross length of 85 by 56 meters. Decorated with lovely ornaments and lovely organs. It has two famous ones placed in the church; the Van Covelens organ and the Van Hagerbeer / Schnitger organ.
Traveling by train to Alkmaar, we met with Islay Bart for some lunch, in order to have a good layer for the fine things to come in the next few hours. It was a stormy but pleasant day, and we were welcomed at the church with traditional Scottish music while we waited to go inside.
Wullie and his team welcomed everyone into the lovely setting, with a good setup and good facilities. Walking around and meeting a lot of great people, talking to lots of friends while enjoying a great dram. Good music, food, drams and company, what more can you want?
After walking around a bit, and enjoying everything we had a masterclass scheduled by Master of Malt and Keeper of the Quaich John Lamond. The exact setup of the masterclass was a bit of a surprise, because it was not announced on the site. John talked us through the history of blending and the challenges in that. For us to taste he had brought a 3 year old North British Single Grain, the standard Cutty Sark blend, the Cutty Sark 12yo, and the Cutty Sark Storm.
And afterwards a nice dinner to complete a lovely day…