Welcome to the second instalment of my whisky tasting season blog and thank you for coming back.

My advice would be to pour a dram and light up then sit back and read on. Hopefully you will finish reading before you finish smoking. I did try to condense as much as possible but really struggled to keep the word count down. Can you let me know if is too long and I?ll try to keep future blogs shorter.

I got back from Glasgow on Sunday and have just about recovered. Too much to eat, too much to drink and not enough sleep...what a great weekend.

We arrived at our hotel early afternoon dropped off our bags and went straight to the Riverside Museum. If you visited the old Transport Museum in Glasgow then you will have seen quite a bit, but not all, of what is on exhibit here but this is a better setting. There doesn?t seem to be a way round but everywhere you turn there is something interesting to look at. It covers some history of Glasgow with a historic street set up inside, bicycles, motorbikes, cars, trams, buses and the underground as well as ships. We arrived at about 1:30 and had to leave at 5 because it closed. I don?t think we saw everything so would go back. I would recommend a visit if you get chance.

Friday night saw us on Ashton Lane. We made our annual visit to the Wee Curry Shop (how can an Indian restaurant not sell Cobra? Peroni or Miller I ask you???????). We had a great meal and followed it with drinks in a Belgian bar. I tried a few different beers including some fruit ones.

After a reasonably early night we were up for breakfast on Saturday morning and then onto the main event of the weekend. At 12 noon sharp we arrived at the venue and joined the queue for entry. Once inside we collected our goodie bag and glass and were away armed with notebook and pipette.
This was the smallest Whisky Live Glasgow I have attended to date. My approach was to find whisky I have not tried before and only revisit whiskies if I struggled.

Within the Exhibition Hall we had 15 whisky companies of different sorts, 2 other drinks stands, 4 food stands, 2 craft stands, an audiovisual company (???), the official retailer for the event and the sponsors stand.

The 15 whisky companies included some of the biggest names in the industry to some of the smallest. My favourites are usually the independent bottlers as they bring a variety of whisky to these events rather than a single distillery who, understandably, bring what they currently have to market.

The measures were in the main 10ml (40% of an English measure), there were some noticeably larger drams being poured as well.

Over the afternoon I tried 20 different drams most of which I haven?t had before. There is a full list of the whiskies I tasted at the end of this note. In all there were four of us and we covered something like 40 different whiskies between us.....not even close to half of what was available!

One of the Brand Ambassadors talked a few of us through tasting his dram and it went as follows:
Smell first ? pass the whisky under your nose to inhale the aromas.
Take a sip, roll the whisky around in your mouth backwards and forwards over your tongue. Keep it in your mouth 1 second for every year of the whisky?s age (this one was 12 years old). You should start to get different flavours coming out during the 12 seconds.
Swallow and then draw breath in through your mouth (careful please, this could, take out your tonsils of you aren?t).
Wait a while as the flavours will stay in your mouth for longer so you can really enjoy them as they develop.
Enjoy the rest of the whisky.
Tasting this way should eliminate the ?burn? that some people get by slugging whisky

I also tasted beer from the Arran brewery which was interesting, especially the one that was stored in Octomore casks. Octomore was produced by the Bruichladdich Distillery and was the most heavily peated whisky distilled at 167 parts per million and it did have an influence on the beer ? like drinking from a puddle......I imagine. At ?12.60 for a 70cl bottle I felt it was a little overpriced so was happy to taste but didn?t buy.

The last pour was at 4:45pm. After the event we took a taxi back to the hotel, had an hour?s down time before the 4 S?s (Shave, Shower, Shampoo and Shi.....you know the rest) then a quick change and back out. We decided on Italian for Saturday night ? Mussels with a Tomato and Mozzarella sauce and a share of a pizza. The Mussels were fantastic! Then back to the Belgian bar for more beer....this is where our batteries started to run down. I managed three beers, mind you one was Piraat and at 10.2%abv is the strongest beer I have tasted, before all four of us decided we had had enough excitement for one day and turned in.

Sunday morning saw us up bright eyed and bushy tailed for breakfasted before the journey home.

In order of tasting my list was:
Old Pulteney, 1998 52.5% matured in a bourbon cask Malts of Scotland
Strathclyde (Grain Whisky) 37 years old, 49.9% Duncan Taylor
Mortlach 18 years old, 55.1% Duncan Taylor
Springbank 18 years old, 46% Springbank Distillery
Bottle 7.66 (Longmorn) didn?t write the age down, 49.4% Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Bottle 127.9 (Port Charlotte), 9 years old, 65.1% Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Tomatin Decades, no age statement, 46% Tomatin Distillery
Tomatin 30 years old, 46% Tomatin Distillery
Aberlour A?bunadh (Ah boo nar), 59.8%, 2004 bottling Aberlour Distillery
Lagavulin 12 years old from the cask, 56.5% Lagavulin Distillery
?Clan Denny? Strathclyde (Grain Whisky) 33 years old, 57.2% Douglas Laing
?Douglas? Mortlach, 14 years old, 46% Douglas Laing
?Provenance? Craigallachie 12 years old, 46% Douglas Laing
?Old Malt Cask? Highland Park, 14 years old, 50% Douglas Laing
?Old & Rare? Glenrothes, 21 years old, 58.6 Douglas Laing
?Provenance? Bunnahabhain (Boo na har ven), 9 years old, 46% Douglas Laing
?Douglas? Benrinnes (Ben rin ness) 12 years old 46% Douglas Laing
?Double Barrel? Mortlach & Laphroaig, 46% Douglas Laing
?Old Malt Cask? Laphroaig, 15 years old, 50% Douglas Laing
Big Peat, 46% Douglas Laing

Looking back at my notes from the event I can see that my powers of description are as good as ever with such classic reviews as ?Hmmm smells like whisky? and ?Wow tastes like whisky?

As you can see (and will see from future event lists) I am a bit of a Douglas Laing fan. I am really pleased to be able to say that Stuart and particularly Fred Laing have become friends over the years of visiting them at exhibitions and occasionally meeting up with them elsewhere.

My favourite of the day? I usually find one I really don?t like and one or two that really stand out. I think for me the OMC Laphroaig was the best, followed by the Tomatin Decades though both the Strathclyde whiskies were excellent. I didn?t find one of my 20 that I would rather have poured away than drunk.

After all that I wasn?t planning to eat anything or drink alcohol for some time....... until the 17th September when it?s off to York to do it all over again! BUT I was tempted last night with the remains of the Old & Rare Glenrothes from Saturday (a present from Fred Laing) and a SMWS Laphroaig, yum yum.