Take one stunning 19th century Lochside hostel in the shadow of Ben Lomond. Add a sprinkling of Whisky bloggerati, a smattering of spirit-industry leaders, a handful of society and event organisers and a generous number of all-round whisky lovers. Leave for one weekend to merrily bubble away. Add whisky to taste.
The Dramboree, a social event for whisky lovers, started last year - a bright idea from Jason B Standing of the Whisky Squad and Jonny McMillan of the Great Whisky company. The idea, loosely, is to assemble a group of whisky geeks together in Scotland and indulge in a weekend of whisky-tastings, a distillery visit, and general fun and shenanigans inbetween.
Hurtling up the M6, Señor Duckworth and myself excitedly speculated on what the weekend would have in store for us...
|Andy dazzles with his pointing skills.|
After a quick drop in to Bruichladdich HQ at Glasgow to say hello, we boarded our coach and headed towards Lomond amidst a flurry of sample swapping and tasty across the aisle and back and forth between seats. Andy's dram selection box went down an absolute treat.
Under a grey sky and in a fine drizzle we left the coach to board the ferry that would take us to the jetty of the Rowardennan lodge where we'd be staying on the north-east bank of the loch.
|Gorgeous view across Loch Lomond.|
The Dramboree guys had a great line up for us for the weekend. We enjoyed:
- An exclusive tasting of work-in-progress whiskies from Dewars
- Select antique bottlings from bygone eras in a tasting of 9 drams dating back to the 1940s
- An exploration of the language of the senses from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society
- Highland Park's latest NAS whisky, Dark Origins, plus some choice bottles from the rest of their line up.
- Some of Dufftown Whisky Shop's more interesting offerings
- A grand day out to the Glengoyne distillery
- Epic meat barbecue from the lovely folks at Master of Malt
- A shared drams table with around 130 different bottles of whisky to try at our leisure
- A special commemorative bottling of Ledaig to remember the weekend.
There were far too many amazing drams to recount, but highlights for me were the 1970s ceramic decanter Bruichladdich 15, the 1980s Bowmore 12, 1950s Teachers (unbelievably tasty!) and an absolutely corking 30 year old Linkwood from Diageo's Rare Malts series.
|The Drams Table - West Side|
|Such whisky. Much antique. Wow.|
|The Drams Table - East Side|
The famously fickle Scottish sunshine even put in an appearance. Feeling warm and merry, we made it out for dips in the loch, leisurely cigars, and a pan-European kick-about out on the lawn.
And a glorious weekend it was. Thanks everyone - we'll see you in 2015!
You can find more out about Dramboree over at http://www.dramboree.co.uk/