It was a weekend in the middle of November, nothing special you might say and nothing to get excited about. However this wasn’t any old weekend, it was a weekend where myself and Jez would get to meet a whole host of really wonderful people from in and around the whisky fabric.
It all came about after Jez won a ticket to go to Ralfy’s annual charity tasting at The Good Spirits Company in Glasgow. The generous giveaway happened on Aqvavitae’s channel during a live YouTube stream. After the giveaway he mentioned that, according to the website, there were still tickets available. That was all the encouragement I needed and the next morning I called the shop and reserved a space. We headed up on the Saturday morning and initially took in some culture, and when I say culture I mean going to see the traffic cone statue and visiting The Pot Still!
In the evening we arranged to meet up with Aqvavitae et al in the Bon Accord and then go for a good Glasgow curry. As anyone who has spent time watching Aqvavitae’s channel will know, he is a real gentleman, very sincere and a pleasure to be around. He also introduced us to the Whisky Rev, kilted moose and a whole host of other people whose pseudonyms were recognisable from the live chats. At one point I felt like the only person on YouTube that uses his real name! As you would expect from the man, he came bearing gifts and the samples will be opened and enjoyed very shortly. After the curry we all headed back to the Bon Accord for good drinks and good banter. A lot of time was spent trying to embarrass each other with more and more obscure blind challenges. It was a fantastic evening and the only things that could have made it better would have been England winning against the All Blacks and me not losing my coat at the end of the night. When I say lose I really mean panic until I realised it was in my rucksack that I was wearing at the time.
The Sunday therefore had a hard act to follow. It begin as the previous night had finished, meeting new people and eating good food. After Jez received a tip off about a great place for lunch we met in the Spanish Butcher for some sustenance prior to the Ralfy tasting. We got to meet Jason from malt-review.com, which if you haven’t already, you should definitely check out. Also there was whiskywolf and both he and Jason were really interesting people and passionate about whisky.
After lunch was the tasting with Ralfy. He does these each year and all the money raised in ticket sales goes towards a local food bank. The theme was ‘questions for Ralfy’ and everyone had to write a question on the back of their ticket. There was a great mix of funny and serious questions and Ralfy’s personality and showmanship really shone throughout the whole thing. He brought some great whiskies with him but to be honest they played second fiddle to the man himself. The lineup included an eleven year old Glentauchers from North Star, Clynelish 14, Glen Scotia 15, Tobermory 17 Madeira Cask Finish, Old Perth 21 year old and a 40 year old blended malt from the Bon Accord. My personal favourite was the Glentauchers. It was a wonderful experience and something I will definitely try to repeat in the future.
After the tasting we all retreated to The Pot Still for more whiskies and chat. We all put in for a kitty and Jason choose a lovely Gordon and Macphail Pulteney which went down well with everyone. The Pot Still is a superb way to spend some time and after not too long our group had taken over 3 full tables. After a good few hours of chatting, laughing and generally getting to know people better it was time for the fun to come to an end and reality to kick in. We caught a plane back down south and left Scotland another few months. Overall it was one of my best whisky experiences so far and I can’t wait until I can do it again. Thanks to Jez and everyone else who was involved, it was a real pleasure.