.5 – Mashing – 2013 / 2014

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Arran scenery

When all excitement on Islay and Arran still on our minds, before we knew it we were home again. One thing was sure though – we would keep doing this and even expand our madness. The year already had been good, (it is only June 2013 in this timeline) but coming back from Scotland had really opened our eyes and hearts, the rest of the world would follow.

Many tastings via twitter or with actual personal contact, and many festivals later, all of a sudden it was September and we got in our car to go to Maltstock. With all information and and experience we thought we had gathered, we found ourselves in the midst of people who were interested in whisky for years and years and could tell us details of the process and history of the liquid we had not even dreamt of… A great experience where every serious whisky aficionado must go at least once in their lifetime.

We ended 2013 with a bang at the Whisky Live festival in the Hague where we experienced a new phenomenon: we had so little time to taste whisky and only got to visit and see about a quarter of the venue. There were too many people to meet and speak again, Ansgar conducting her first (ever) interview with David Roussier of Warenghem distillery where the French Armorik whisky is created, and we had too little time to fit everything into one session. Next year, we most likely will buy a multipass and stay the night (or two) in order to get everywhere.

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Balvenie castle

More nosings, tastings ad festivals were to be had, and when some time ago Thomas was asked to have a small chat about his interest in whisky, and we felt no reason not to do so. This presentation took place on the 27th of March 2014 – World Whisky Day. What better date to share your whisky passion with other people. Meanwhile Thomas has been asked for a return event, so people must have been enthousiactic about the story…

2014 has had an easy start so far, and earlier in the year we had decided to slow down a little and not go on a trip to Scotland, safe for the already planned trip in October with eight friends where we arranged flight, housing and the rest of the program. We might decide to treat ourselves on a road trip to France or Germany in order to check out the distilleries there, but no Scotland for our “big” vacation…

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Strathisla

…and then the following happened: internet friends Johanne McInnis and Graham MacKenney were traveling through Scotland. Afterwards, Johanne would continue her trip though the rest of Europe, visiting distilleries in many of the different whisky producing countries and meeting the #WhiskyFabric. We had offered her our house while she would be in the Netherlands, but were somewhat disappointed that we would not meet Graham, so we requested the exact dates they stayed in Scotland and break our own promise not to go to Scotland this Spring or Summer. Turned out that during the period they were in Scotland they would stay in a house with a room left to let where we would fit in quite nicely during the period they were in Scotland together. Another thing came up; this period was exactly during the Spirit of Speyside festival. Hard to pass such offers, easy to break promises to ourselves…

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More of this, in 2015…

Next two weeks we will go to Scotland again an undergo the first stages of our fermentation during the festival, where we will meet many new people and old acquaintances, visit one our two distilleries [insert coughing fit here] and most likely end our trip with our 50th (unique) distillery tour. That’s taking it easy, the Whisky Speller way…

Slainte,
Thomas & Ansgar

What we are trying to point out with these last five posts: we still have a very long way to go. We are now close to getting fermented for quite some time, then undergo at least two stages of distillation and when we are done with that, we have a long – undetermined time of maturation ahead of us. All in all, we are only just starting, but are ready for the great adventure called whisky.

Watch this space. If time permits, we will post regularly during our trip(s).

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