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Did you hear the bagpipes play? Whisky enthusiasts that had gathered at the Zuiderkerk last Saturday, for the third edition of The Spirit Of Amsterdam international whisky festival, were ushered into the church by the impelling kilted bagpipe player. The first taste of scotch of the day.
Armed with a nose and tasting glass; the whisky world was at every guests fingertips. The festival showcased over 500 different whiskies from some of the powerhouse distilleries in Scotland to lesser-known distilleries from around the globe. Queue second, third and fourth tastes of scotch.
Whiskies worth mentioning… and drinking
Bastille has been distilling whisky near the cognac region in France, from French wheat and barley since 1789. The distributor told me that its brand new to the Dutch market and quickly gaining popularity with its 10yr oak barrel aged single malt.
Japanese culture is alluring to the west and the same is said about the countries whisky. Whilst the production nods vigorously to the Scots, Japanese Whisky has distinctive flavour. Nikka distillery’s ‘Nikka by the Barrel’ is a cask-strength winner, growing extremely popular in Amsterdam recently. Look out for it’s iconic bottle in more and more bars.
Our friends from JD Williams whisky bar were giving Old Fashioned’s a new twist, sweetening up an old favorite with Monkey Shoulder blended scotch. Their stand at the festival showcased some of JD’s food and an array of whisky cocktails.
A whisky close to home – Millstone distillery in Zuidam produce the only 100% rye whisky. A very unusual dram, it’s matured for 100 months in American oak, uses 100% small pot still distillation and bottled at a 100° proof and it’s 100% good!
Whisky, cheese and sunsets
The Spirit of Amsterdam also organised the whisky canal cruise that took place in the gap between the two tasting sessions of the festival and timed perfectly for sunset. Ton Overmars presented to the guests of the two-hour cruise six very distinct single malts, which were paired with cheese and discussed by Ron Pieters from Reypenaer Cheese. What a pairing whisky is with cheese! A salty mature goats cheese brought out the caramel flavoUr in a light Speyburn whisky. Reypenaer cheeses of various years of maturation brought out intense flavors in oakier whiskies. A unique experience that is definitely recommended.
Celebrate life and enjoy the spirit until the next edition of the festival!
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