in Domu Whisky Jastrzebia Gora.
On 22-23 August 2014, in the Dom Whisky Jastrzebia Gora the first in Poland whisky festival took place. I arrived there the day before and started the weekend with the presentation, as well as tasting of Glenfiddich Excellence 26 years old.
The event was organized in the Dom Whisky, there were Masterclasses at the upper level, in Bar Max, but primarily organizers used the entire space between the buildings, where they placed the individual stands of exhibitors. The weather was good so you could freely explore.
Whisky festival, so we couldn’t do without a piper.
At the entrance you had to purchase a glass (100 zł – 25 Euro), which entitled you to taste presented spirits.
When equipped with this attribute you could taste whisky at each booth, but … not all. Many of them were available at an additional charge. Sure, there would be nothing unusual if it were a rare and old releases. However payable were also quite common available single malts e.g. Royal Lochnagar 12 years old, Caol Ila 12 years old, or Glennoragie Quinta Ruban. Such a situation occurred in most stands. It was probably about calculating the appropriate entry fee, 100 zł (25 Euro) for two days, which is not relatively much. But generally visitors should be aware of this situation before visit.
During the festival I attended three Masterclasses: Grant’s, Tullamore Dew i Glenfiddich.
Grant’s classes were led by the Global Brand Ambassador Rob Allanson and the Brand Ambassador Mateusz Zabiegaj. Gentlemen with a great sense of humor and in a relaxed atmosphere talked about secrets of creation of a whole range of blended whisky Grant’s (Family Reserve, Ale Cask, Sherry Cask i Master Blender’s Edition).
I can not say that I know a lot about Irish whiskey, so I have fond memories of classes of Tullamore Dew with the Global Brand Ambassador of John Quinn. The distillery has just transferred to the newly built and impressive presenting buildings. I’d like to visit that place some day. Interestingly, Tullamore Dew produces all kinds of whiskey, including malt, grain and pot still.
At the end I had Glenfiddich Masterclass also with the Global Brand Ambassador Ian Millar. We tasted their flagship products: 12 years old, 15 years old, 18 years old and 21 years old Gran Reserva, and by the way we could talk to the person who most of his professional life devoted to whisky. A day earlier, Ian Millar led the presentation and tasting of the latest release – Glenfiddich Excellence 26 years old.
Most companies interestingly characterized their stands. Some of them offered additional activities. Certainly Grant’s took attention, where you could take part in whisky blending session or participate in an interactive game with prizes.
Talisker was presented originally. There you could try Storm in a truly stormy conditions. As I pointed out earlier the weather was nice, but there it was raining steadily, and the “fear” was added by the smashed boat. Fortunately, visitors were given umbrellas. Cool concept.
The first Whisky Festival in Poland is behind us. Most of the presented whiskies I knew and tried before. Big companies came to Jastrzebia Gora: DIAGEO, William Grant’s & Sons, LVMH, Burn Steward Distillers (eg. Bunnahabhain), Takara Shuzo Corp. (eg. Tomatin), Brown-Forman (Jack Daniels). I think it was a great way to meet newcomers in the World Whisky, who could see the offer of producers and recognize the fundamental differences in the available spirits. For those more inside it was a great opportunity to meet, learn each other, discuss, also with Brand Ambassadors. These types of events play a large role in changing the approach to alcohol, showing that whisky is a variety of aromas, flavors and also the appropriate culture that might be interesting. I hope that we are dealing with the beginning of the tradition of annual whisky festivals in Jastrzebia Gora.
See you next year.
Below I put a video of the event (video made available by the organizer of the event).