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Limburg 2014 - An annual pilgrimmage


"in search of the Holy Grail"


The Whisky Fair at Limburg is aptly named as it is, undoubtedly, in my opinion at least, the Messiah or Mother of all whisky festivals. A couple of others may come close, but when you're a confirmed whisky anorak it's right up there as the place to be if you want to find something over and above the usual festival offerings. As usual, I arrived in town on the Thursday before the fair so I could wander around, camera in hand and enjoy the whole atmosphere of this lovely old town. The actual festivities started for me with our annual Maniacs' dinner on the Friday evening which is always a true highlight with various good friends joining us and it isn't too many minutes before food orders are taken and various bottles seem to mysteriously appear onto the table, in a do help yourself kind of way.

Port Ellen or Longmorn? soon became the question on most of our lips. The drams in question were specifically  a 1982 26y Signatory Cask Strength (decanter) Port Ellen at 58.4% (Cask No.1524) and a G&M Reserve 1969 Longmorn bottled for Van Wees:


It has to be said that both were magnificent but the Longmorn just edged it for me with 92 points over the Port Ellen's stunning 91 points. In fact I came very close to giving the Longmorn a 93, it was so good. Now I can't wait to try another 1969 Longmorn which sits on my desk at home as one of many promising samples from the pilgrimmage, but that's another story for later.

Other highlights of our Maniacal dinner? Well certainly not the beer, that's for sure as the onwer's wife asked "what would you like to drink?" "A beer please" says I, to which the following question comes back; "Bitburger or Veltins?" I don't suppose you have any Augustiner or Tegernseer? ... no, silly question, let's not go down that route. I know they tolerate our whisky anorakness as those bottles appear on the dinner table, but to bring a case of Bayern's best too.............. then to ask if they could cool it in the freezer for a while ..... as I said, there are limits and at least the Bitburger arrived in a real, albeit slightly small 40cl beer glass, unlike the Veltins which adorned an equally small goldfish bowl on a stem.

But what of our other drams on the table? A 1975 Spirit of Scotland Teaninich had a stunningly good and fresh fruity nose (think apples & pears), but the palate was quite weak and slightly watery, damn the 40% abv. A 1964-2005 Glenburgie was a real cracker with a rich dark, sherried fruitiness and a lovely typically characteristic light floweriness (for this distillery) in the background. Two more absolute stunners were a Coleburn 1983 26y Cask No.1963 at 48.6% from Exclusive Malts and a Glenallachie 1973-2012 Cask No.12047 from Malts of Scotland. I'll publish my full tasting notes in my distillery pages later, but as for scores; 82, 87, 88, 88 respectively. There were more offerings on the table, they just seemed to keep appearing, but at this point I'd given up on trying to keep track of them with tasing notes and pictures, suffice to say a grand and Maniacal evening was had by all and I'm looking forward to next year already.


Saturdays have been impossibly busy in the last couple of years and I was seriously considering not going to the fair on Saturday this year, but we all have our cross(es) to bear and I know I'd never forgive myself if I missed out on the Holy Grail by enjoying myself around town instead of suffering the penance of The Whisky Fair. OK then, I'll compromise by looking in a little later, let the first mad rush calm down and then pop in after lunch for a couple of drams ........ So here I am, the fair opens at 11am and at 10.30 I'm in a queue of around 300 people at one of the (were there four?) entrances. Hmm, that's promising, the queue was at least twice as long last year. So it came to pass that 20 minutes after opening time I attained the lofty position of 'in the doorway', paid my €10, received my festival plan and glass and found to my surprise that I could actually circumnavigate the throngs of fellow pilgrims. Amazing, it's Saturday, yes it's busy, very busy, but manageable and I proceeded to do what I like best with wallet, empty sample bottles and camera at hand.

As usual Sunday was less busy and even more manageable as I started the day with a tea, yes really, a tea as I caught up with fellow Maniac Charles MacLean and Adelphi's Alex Bruce in sunshine on the festival's terrace. A very civilised way to start the day indeed. So, the euros continued evaporating, the camera clicking and the sample bottles filling in a typically Limburg way. Another Sunday highlight was our Malt Maniacs & Friends meet-up which I'd arranged as a wee afternoon soiree so that we could put real faces to people we've only really 'met' through our facebook page. Thanks to all for joining in and I think this could become an annual fixture for us. I'm looking forward to next year already.

So my cup floweth over or at least my desk is brimming with the fruits of my labour of Limburg, but what of the Holy Grail? I fear this will be a flight of folly as Dunglass and Islebrae are about as common as rocking horse doodahs and Killyloch just requires too many Euros for my impoverished wallet, but I live in hope.

Slàinte Mhath and here's to next year.








Recent major features (A full list of all Dram-atics articles may be found in my ToC)  
May 2013 Duelling Drams - Man vs Clipper, Limburg Crooks & Nannies  
April 2013 100 points - Perfect Percy, Eggs-otic Isles Egg & Mug, Sixy bunny  
March 2013 International Whisky Day - Raise a Glass & Raise Awareness  
February 2013 A Horse, A Bow & a Dear, Karui-WOW-Ahhh  
January 2013 Glen-CLASS-augh, Fab Fo(u)rties, Glen-DROOL-nach  
Autumn 2012 The Olympkins, Getting old and Grainy  
July 2012 Motor Maniac meets Malt Maniac, Nosing New Make  
May-Jun 2012 Limburg - Whet Dreams, Dalmore Constellation, Independence? MM 15y Scotland, Blend of Maniacs  
Mar-Apr 2012 Investment grade madness, Glenglassaugh, 5th IWD, 1000th Review, April Fool, Going dotty, age verification  
Feb. 2012 It's a rum old do, Growing old gracefully, Four Imperial sisters  
Jan. 2012 Onwards & Upwards, Canadian Whisky Awards  
Dec. 2011 MMA 2011 Winners, HP 70's Orcadians, Debussy plays Pitaud, Class of 64-65, Elementary my dear Sukhinder  
Sept-Nov 2011 Malt Maniacs Awards 2011 - A weekend in the life of a Postmaster General  
June-Aug 2011 Bits Bytes & Drams, Glen Garioch 1994, Angela D'Orazio - Mackmyra, Trinity of Two Earls, Drams at Dawn
May 2011 Don't bug me with ads, A dram fine evening
April 2011 Cry me a River, Golden Oldies, The Shackleton Legacy, Two Weddings and a Whisky
March 2011 Masters of Photography, Memory and the Middle Cut, Sampling again, Dave Stirk 5, Choosing choice Choices
Feb. 2011 Festival time again, Spam Galore!, Drams & Trams

Jan. 2011

Lookback at 2010, New Job? Three Thirties, ToC, Overdosing on sherry casks






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