The evening, designed to be an exclusive celebration of the world of whisky, welcomed guests to walk the red carpet and sample fine food and exquisite Scotch whiskies.
Over 70 individual expressions were showcased including Scotch category winners from Whisky Magazine's World Whiskies Awards 2012, along with food and whisky matched canapes, cocktails, and fine food chosen by food and whisky expert Martine Nouet. As well as the whiskies, local jeweller Hamilton & Inches and tweed specialist Walker Slater were also present, as partners to the event.
Guests gathered to sample the Damore Cigar Malt, Bowmore Maltman's Selection and new release The Macallan 1824 Series Gold to name but a few while three Golden Ticket holders won a range of prizes each, including a weekend stay in the Whyte & Mackay Isle of Jura Lodge, a dinner, bed and breakfast stay and one day's sailing for two at the Duisdale Hotel, £100 Walker Slater vouchers, a five year subscription to Whisky Magazine, a Hamilton & Inches gift, select bottles of whisky and a VIP visit and overnight stay at the exclusive Easter Elchies House at the Macallan distillery.
A timetable of masterclasses, hosted by industry experts Jonny McCormick and Charlie MacLean provided a unique insight into the world of whisky, from the world's most collectible whiskies to an exploration of age.
Whisky Luxe Edinburgh was the first of its kind in the UK, originating in New Delhi, and is part of the Whisky Live family, which take place across the globe, offering the unique opportunity to sample the greatest whiskies in the world.
What the visitors and exhibitors said:
"Fabulous night at Whisky Luxe in Edinburgh. Most amazing array of whiskies I'll probably ever have the joys of tasting" - Scott Thornton
"Really enjoyed whisky luxe, sampled some fine drams" - Raith Rover
"Excellent evening @ScotchWhiskyExp @The_Macallan a real hit at Whisky Luxe #MacGold #Oscuro" - Liz Taylor, The Macallan
"Amazing whiskies at Whisky Luxe" - Seaneen Sullivan
"Thanks to @ScotchWhiskyExp and @Whisky_Magazine for hosting & arranging a great evening at #WhiskyLuxe last night. Some interesting drams!" - Scottish Routes
"A great event...I had a fantastic time!" - Blair Bowman
I regularly read the forum but its been a while since I posted but thought it would be worthwhile commenting on this event which I attended on Friday. Fortunately for me it was a freebie, as my father in law had won some tickets in a competition. The red carpet was rolled out at the Scotch Whisky Experience on Edinburgh's Royal Mile and visitors were piped into the event after having their pictures taken by one of several photographers. There were a team of sharply dressed greeters there to welcome folks and some beautiful young ladies in cocktail dresses handing out goodie bags (Miss Edinburgh was there for photo opportunities too !). The venue itself is always a joy and was well laid out over 4 floors with 3 tasting rooms, the Claive Vidiz whisky collection and the barrel ride for entertainment. Decent food was served over the evening by attentive staff and there was plenty on offer - so far so good.
The elephant in the room of course was the ticket price - basic £125 or £150 including a short masterclass and I have to admit that I would personally not have attended if I had been paying full price (unless of course the whisky line up was stellar). Anyway, to the most important factor - the whisky and this is where it was a let down unfortunately. As a very pricey event celebrating the "greatest whiskies in the world", I was hoping for a top class line up. Indeed there were some decent drams but overall the line up was pretty run of the mill. Most stands had some very standard bottles - Glen Grant 10, Dewars 12, Balblair 2002, Aberfeldy 12, Black Bull 12 and even their top end drams were ones which are fairly readily available and not beyond most folks pocket in bars. Thank goodness then for SMWS who had a really good range available and were happy to let folks experiment - they had Aultmore, Balmenach, Springbank, Kilchoman, Mortlach etc etc and Glenmorangie of course and they were generous with the drams. Top drams for me overall were Glen Grant 170th Anniversary, Balblair 75, Ardmore 25yo, Dewars Signature and SMWS Kilchoman (129.1) and Aultmore - can't remember the number.
Low point of the night, and I have to mention it, was waiting (twice) at the Dalmore stand for a dram - probably 10mins each time and I'm still waiting and it wasn't particularly busy - poor show really. That aside, the staff on the stands were pretty engaging and keen to promote their wares. There was the dreaded token system in operation (you got a small bag of gold coins which were handed over in return for the dram) - why o why cheapen such an event with daft little plastic tokens I will never understand - it just detracted from the night and I felt that many exhibitors felt the same and avoided taking tokens (although some were very rigorous about being paid). If the token system had been rigorously applied the event would have been an absolute rip off - you were given 25 tokens and all standard drams were 3 tokens (for a laughably small 10ml measure), with the older drams being 4-5 token. So you could have been faced with getting 5-8 very small drams for your ticket price - that really needs to be looked at if this event is to survive.
So, how to summarise, well a decent night for me but marred by the ridiculous token system - my kids now have a little bag of gold coins to play with, so get rid of that, drop the ticket price to half or genuinely move to a top line whisky line up with bigger measures. You really have to look at the value of this event to the genuine enthusiast against the Whisky Fringe, Glasgow Whisky Festival and so on, although the organisers will no doubt say that it is targetting a different audience. And just on that, it did feel like quite a number of attendees were corporate guests - believe it or not I heard one guy at a stand saying he didn't really like whisky (but he was dressed to impress) - enough said.
Sorry for the long post.
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