From 19th to 21st of February 2010, the annual Whisky and Bar Festival took place in Munich. After having been held on the Praterinsel the years before, the festival switched to a new location in the complex of the famous Deutsches Museum, also on an island in the river Isar.
Because of schedule conflicts with business events I needed to attend, I had never managed to go to the festival before. But this year I was able to squeeze in at least one day to go there.
It was the first time I ever attended a major whisky festival, so I didn’t really know what to expect. And unfortunately I had to get up very early the next morning, so I could not stay there until the end.
The huge 1920s building looks rather cold and intimidating from the outside, as well as the lobby which made me wonder if the organizers could actually create some kind of inviting atmosphere for the festival. But once you got in, it was immedieately clear that they had succeeded. The stands were arranged in a way that made the whole thing look a bit like an old-fashioned market hall garnished with plenty of resting places.
One of my first “victims” was Jim Murray who was promoting his Whisky Bible and gave a masterclass that very unfortunately I could not attend because of its very late starting time. After that it was basically strolling from stand to stand, having a dram here or there and buying samples at various places. I even bought a very interesting bottle which I shall review shortly. I had also hoped to meet one of my Twitter friends, but we somehow must have missed each other.
But although the event was a well-organized and the atmosphere was rather relaxed, I left the building with mixed feelings.
Firstly, the entrance fee of 20 Euros was pretty steep given the fact that the the four free 1 cl drams you got with the ticket were more ore less symbolic, especially if you came there just for the whisky like me. There was only one whisky included (Talisker, at least they poured a proper dram), one rum and two eau de vies. If you take into account that whisky related stands had the majority at the festival, this selection of free drams was just short of ridiculous.
And finally I had to make the experience that regardless of the cosy atmosphere I could not really get into the mood to fully enjoy my paid drams. I will take this as a learning experience, and try to stay sober and stick to samples next time.