A Successful Event dedicated to all the Whiskey of the world.
Over two thousand labels, dozens of master classes and seminars, different thematic areas and of course, thousands of visitors. All this was the Rome Whisky (or Whiskey) Festival – VIII Edition, which took place on March 2/3rd in Rome, as usual at the Salone delle Fontane – EUR.Our most loyal readers will certainly remember our last year’s article, dedicated to the seventh edition, as well as know that we have dealt with Whiskey already HERE and HERE, so they will not be surprised to see that we’ve been there this time too.
One of the reasons that lead us is the general interest about whiskey in the general public, and another one we can find in our personal belief that whiskey represents an excellence itself, child of a long tradition, of ancient procedures and of that aura of magic that characterizes its production.
Of course, this year too we have no claim to be able to “cover” the event in an organic way, but only to report it to those who want to approach the fascinating world of this distillate. This time, moreover, we wanted to point out in particular some “exotic” brands that the connoisseurs already have their many admirers, and also some goodies as the only Italian producer and the rebirth of a distillery in Wales after more than one hundred years ‘absence.
A bit of Japan
When we speak of “exotic” we mean Japanese. Who knows the whiskey certainly will not be surprised, because they are brands that for decades have been widespread and appreciated all over the world, but it is undeniable that the newcomer can be amazed to become aware of the fact that whiskey is not just an European or American product .
Making an exception to the rule, we have also tasted some (hard indeed, at least for us, go over a dozen) to get an idea of the basic characteristics of what comes from the Rising Sun country.
Fortunately for us, Roberto D’Alessandro, Meregalli’s brand ambassador, has come to our aid. He has illustrated with great detail three important “blends”, two by Akashi (Blended and Meïsei) and one of Yamakazura.
We have thus noted how the typical Japanese philosophy, tending towards perfection and minimalism, leads to the creation of products that have a less “aggressive” impact, but more “harmonious and smooth”, compared to the Scottish and American classics. Secondly, we must underline how, in the first two cases, they are blends comprising different percentages of grain whiskey and malted barley (70-30% for Akashi Blended and 55-45% for Meïsei, while in Yamazakura the percentages are variable).
Remarkable and appreciable in all cases the olfactory aspect, while on the palate are mainly distinguished the vanilla in the first, more present the spices and the oak in the second, while it is more fruity, with notes of pear and citrus fruit the third. Definitely interesting products that were worth knowing.
The Return of Wales
While being there, D’Alessandro made us taste some labels of Penderyn, the distillery that in 2004, after over a hundred years, brought whiskey distillation back to Wales, in the presence of H.R.H. Prince Charles of England.
The distillation of these Single Malts (we tasted the Celt, the Legend and the Madeira Finsh) is made with a particular system, exclusive of Penderyn, with single still and double column.
In the first case, aging takes place in American oak barrels and then in barriques of peathy whiskey from Islay. In the second, American oak is followed by Madeira barriques. In the third one, the first phase takes place in Bourbon barrels and the second one in Madeira barriques.
Here we are in a field much more common to us, such as perfumes and taste, especially when there are peat scents.
Continuing our “tasting”, we did some further tasting at Nikka’s stand, but we aimed to dedicate our last gustative “energies” to the only Italian distillery, which for some years has been continuously dedicated to the production of whiskey.
Made in Italy
The Puni Distillery (named after the rio flowing into Alta Val Venosta) has in fact proposed itself as a target, that of distilling high quality Malt Whiskies, which have as little as possible to envy the traditional and noble Scottish ones.
Favored by the particular climatic conditions of the area and by the presence on site of most of the raw materials (rye and most of the wheat, while the barley comes from other areas), the company has designed and commissioned to Scottish artisans two copper stills and began to distill in 2012, while after the canons three years of aging, the first bottles were put on the market in 2015.
The fact of being a “young” and motivated reality is also evident from the choice of types of aging. We have indeed tasted the SOLE (two years in Bourbon barrels and two in those of Sherry Pedro Ximénez), the ALBA (three years in barrels of Marsala di Sicilia and aged in barrels of Islay) and VINA (where the whiskey ages for five years in barrels of Marsala Secco of Sicila). The results have been decidedly interesting and we suggest that Puni it ‘s a reality that deserves to be supported and encouraged.
After these numerous tastings, something we had to eat … and so we took the opportunity to taste some Belon oysters by I Love Ostrica stand in the Mixology sector of the Festival. The taste of these oysters (due to the particular place of breeding) has also provided us with a dose of tannins to appreciate, not to lose the habit compared to whiskies.
Below, some other images, just to give an idea about the variety of whiskey present at the Festival!