After discovering I like whisky earlier this year, I’ve been on a mission to learn more about it. After assuming I wasn’t a fan, an evening with The Birmingham Whisky Club taught me to appreciate the spirit, and I’ve slowly been exploring different brands and discovering what I like. When my friends at East Village asked if I’d like to go along to the Midlands Whisky Festival I nearly bit their hands off in my rush to say yes.
Held in The Studio in Birmingham, the Midlands Whisky Festival was host to a huge array of exhibitors, masterclasses and whisky fans. Spread over two floors, there was lots to explore. Your ticket included a tasting glass, tasting drams from each exhibitor, and a token for a ‘dream dram’ which was a larger taster of a rather more special whisky.
I already know I like Penderyn whisky, and I’m always loyal to a Welsh brand, so when I realised they were there, I made a beeline for their stand. Made in the Brecon Beacons, Penderyn was the first distillery in Wales in over a century and their whisky is now sold around the world.
I worked my way through a few of the drams on offer, and as always was impressed with how clean Penderyn‘s range tastes. I especially liked Madeira from the Gold range, which is finished in Madeira wine casks. With notes of toffee on the nose, the taste is crisp and sweet, with a background of vanilla. Myth from the Dragon range is easy to drink too, with flavours of mixed fruits. The packaging of the Dragon range is beautiful too, with a large dragon emblazoned across the boxes. These would be an attractive addition to anyone’s alcohol cupboard.
I was delighted to spot Mackmyra. I tried their Svensk Rök at the Whisky Club tasting that started me on whisky, and it was one of my stand outs of the night, so I was keen to try more from them. Made in Sweden, Mackmyra is made with beautiful, clear water, as you’d expect from a Swedish drink. Their rep took us through the core range, starting with Brukswhisky, which is quite light, with flavours of spicy toffee. Next, we tried Svensk Ek, which is smooth and caramelly, and I think maybe my favourite of the batch. The Svensk Rök went down just as well as the first time. The peatiest of the range, this whisky is slightly smokier, but still with Mackmyra‘s signature cleanness and sweetness.
With so many whiskys to try, I was almost overwhelmed by choice. I wanted to try as many as I could, without ending up an absolute mess. With so much to try, I think this festival is ideal whether you’re a whisky expert or a total beginner like me, as each brand’s rep was knowledgeable and generous with the taster drams, so you could either find something new to you, or figure out what your tastes are.
I may or may not be already looking forward to next year.
I was invited to attend the festival by East Village. All opinions are honest and my own. I was not required to write a blog post.