An Evening with Colin Hampden-White & Stilnovisti Whisky
Other than a few whisky festivals and distillery tours this was my first real whisky tasting event. I can say straight away that it went above and beyond my expectations!
The event was run by The Birmingham Whisky Club and held at The Wellington. Other than having to climb up a fair few steps (easier on the way up than the way down) it’s an excellent venue with wide selection of both whiskies and real ales. The room was a little… snug, but it didn’t cause any issues and actually made for a very friendly environment.
The evening was run by Colin Hampden-White who among other things is the Editor of Whisky Quarterly magazine. The whiskies on offer were from Stilnovisti who are:
Stilnovisti is the oldest alternative investments company in Central and Eastern Europe. We manage investments for private and corporate clients in Poland and abroad,focusing on assets such as wine, whisky and art.
Beyond a list of the whiskies on offer and that they were all around the 60% mark I didn’t make any real notes while tasting (mainly because they were all around the 60% mark!).
- Mortlach 58 day aged.
- Aultmore 2008 6 Year
- Ledaig 2005 8 Year
- Rage Whisky (Peatside) 4 Year
Rather than focusing on the whiskies on offer I instead focused on the atmosphere of the event. First of all everyone was friendly. There was no risk of feeling out of place as a newbie to a tasting and you could easily ask anyone around you for their opinions on the whisky.
Secondly there wasn’t a huge focus on what you thought of the nose or palate of the whisky – yes they invited people to give their opinions but the focus of the evening wasn’t “this is what the palate is like, have you got that yet?”. Instead it was a chance to enjoy a range of very hard to buy whiskies at your own pace without the fear of being picked on to give an opinion and then being looked down on if you get it wrong.
This is how a whisky tasting should be – it should be a strict set of rules or a “this is right, you are wrong” session. Anyone could have come to this event whether they are a hardened veteran whisky taster or a newbie looking for an enjoyable evening. I would highly recommend anyone with an interest in whisky (even just a passing interest) to go to a Birmingham Whisky Club event.
- Cheap – at less than £16 a ticket with a range of four whiskies all of high percentage and all hard to procure you certainly can’t grumble at the value for money.
- Friendly – I’d defy anyone to attend a tasting like this and not feel at home almost instantly. You wont be looked down on or judged for lack of knowledge and people are happy to offer advice if needed.
After recovering from a severe bout of flu and sinusitis I’m now looking forward to booking another on of their tasting events in the future.
Check out The Birmingham Whisky Club events page for upcoming events.