I have to report back on this. I went last year and thoroughly enjoyed it and enjoyed it even more this year. I started with No 1 Drinks trying an '81 Karuizawa and Ichiro's Malt both of which were superb - always good to catch up with Marcin too (he once saved me from making a very disastrous mistake... a story for another time). From there I went to The Whisky Show stand that had some extraordinary drams - my pick from the 5 I tried was the Lochside Single Blend (Adelphi also had one and the two could not have been more different).
I tried a unique Balvenie (not really worth telling you about that as you'll never get to try it), a super '71 Benriach which, for me, totally eclipsed the '71 Glendronach. The Glenrothes John Ramsay was also very good but a touch out of my price range. The show really does give you a perspective on value!
The upstairs is worth a mention as there were some excellent food pairings and I sadly did not have enough time to try all of them. Suffice to say that Cashel Blue cheese (made in Ireland) is superb with a Port Charlotte (and if you can do it without spilling, put them in your mouth at the same time). There was a yogurt-based Indian dish that was being paired with... yeah, you guessed it, Amrut! Didn't have time to try that but was told it was a real revelation (good or bad, don't know?!)
Back on the main floor, the Glenfarclas Chairman's Reserve (where have I heard that name before...) was incredible (thanks Kate!) although you may need a few bob to buy one of those. The Shackleton blend was also surprisingly good (and I even told RP as much) - forget the gimmick and get a glimpse of what a blend tasted like 100 years ago (most intriguing part is that the Dalmore provided the peat-smoke to the blend - may we be getting a peated Dalmore in future?).
Things are obviously a little hazy of all that I tried but I have to give a huge shout out to Dr Sam Simmons (of Balvenie fame - or is that the other way around). Sam and I must have very similar tastes. He suggested I tried a Scotch Malt Whisky Society Glenugie. I had previously been a member but left the SMWS 10 years ago after been treated akin to a turd that had made its way into the Vaults in Leith on the bottom of a 'real' members shoe.
The two chaps on the stand, who treated me like Royalty (perhaps because I was no longer a member) forced me, really, to try about 6 of their whiskies and every one was absolutely cracker-jack - but the pick was the Glenugie and I immediately signed up and bought two bottles (and now wish I had bought everything they had). I am in good company here as the world-renowned, and nicest whisky-blogger there is, Serge Valentin gave this Glenugie 92 (I don't usually score but I would give it 95 if I did). Sadly the member's pack included 3 piss-poor whiskies out of 4 but I was not overly-annoyed having got my two bottles of the Glenugie!
All in all, this is THE Whisky Show, certainly for the UK. In fact if you can only do 2 whisky shows in a year and you are whisky mad then the Whisky Fair in Limburg and The Whisky Show in London are the only 2 candidates (note I said 'shows' - for festivals seek out The Speyside Whisky Festival). As soon as the date goes live for next year I will be pencilling it in my diary and I reckon that the boys at The Whisky Exchange may have to have add a session on Sunday.
My only real gripe is that I had so much fun I completely, and rather stupidly, forgot to buy the Kh1 - Elements of Islay... D'oh!!!!!
So well done to Sukhinder and the team (nice to meet up with Tim again too)! See you next year if not sooner.