Blind Tasting at Frankfurt Airport
I am a big fan of blind nosing and tastings, it can open your eyes to a whole world of whiskies that may suffer from preconceptions. That said I hate being a part of blind tasting competitions or being asked on the spot to try and identify as whisky. Although I do love hosting blind tastings and I remember one Maltstock where I held a blind tasting where two of the seven whiskies were the same whisky and it confused pretty much everyone.
One memorable blind nosing challenge that springs to mind however is one that took place many years ago at Frankfurt airport.
To get to The Whisky Fair in Limburg (one of my favourite shows ever and I must return again soon) you generally have to fly into Frankfurt airport and travel on by train from there. One year on the way to Limburg we held an impromptu blind nosing competition at Frankfurt airport.
As is usual with these types of trips there was several members of the Scotch Whisky Industry onboard the same flight. The Whisky Industry being a fairly friendly industry everyone gets along, so as we were waiting for our bags we all congregated together.
Shortly afterward the baggage carousel started up, then panic ensued among the group. From deep within where the bags come from there was initially a faint smell of whisky, and as the conveyor belt continued to move the waft of whisky got stronger and stronger.
I always remember participating in the not so fun game of trying to identify a whisky from 50 yards with around 12 other whisky colleagues that were on the flight. We all were trying to figure out if that smell was coming from our suitcase. “Does that smell like Tamdhu?”, “That smells peaty - surly it can’t be mine”, “What whisky did I pack again, could that be the Glen Elgin, did I pack a Glen Elgin?” - please don’t be my bag was more the sentiment going through everyone’s head.
One by one bags started to come along the carousel, and everyone looked on with envy as some other smug whisky ambassador picked up their dry baggage in relief.
Then when there was only about four of us left to get our bags a soggy box emerged, much to our relief it was none of ours, but some other poor sod that perhaps didn’t know that kilt socks are an excellent mode of transportation for a bottle of whisky, if you don’t have bubble wrap, When you travel as much as we do (or certainly did) you learn how to pack a suitcase - not necessarily tidily (Kate will attest to that) but after having to wear a kilt reeking of Bowmore for a weekend you soon learn to keep your bottles safe.
One thing that is for sure, anyone that tells you they can identify their own brand of whisky from 50 yards is a liar, the panic on everyone’s faces that day is testament to that!