I read a few great posts where people went through their whisky year 2021 in different ways. Inspired by these writings, I thought of looking at last year from a whisky hobby perspective. Such text usually comes around the New Year, but this comes a little late in that sense. Since I’ve spent a whisky-free January, let this text be the launch for the new whisky year. I set up my Instagram account in August 2020, so 2021 was my first full year as a whisky blogger. I remember being frustrated several times during the year due to lack of time and the slow pace of my releases, but I still managed to publish 124 times during the year. You have to be happy with that. Also during this one and a half years, I have learned more about photography, image processing, and whisky than I ever thought I would learn. The best ideas are usually borrowed (read: stolen), so I thought of copying my awesome whiskey colleague Laura (@viskipullopostia_whiskeypost) for a great concept where she headlines the best things in her whiskey year. People I don’t remember being this socially active since my childhood. I have talked to new people both virtually and face to face and without exception everyone has been really friendly and nice. I’ve been able to share my limited knowledge and introduce people to the secrets of whisky, and I’ve been able to draw knowledge from people who are much more on the map than me. Above all, this year I have been able to share (several) the most awesome whisky moments with the most amazing people possible. Thank you. VYS (Fellowship of Whisky) The Fellowship of Whisky, led by its chairman Paavo Kärnä, has been very active in spreading the love for the holy water during the pandemic and offered me at least the best tasting of the year. In addition to this, VYS has provided various virtual events throughout the year and acted as a contact surface for other whisky enthusiasts through the members private Facebook group. Viskiryhmä Turku and Viskiryhmä Helsinki Two extremely great communities on Facebook where you can share experiences and thoughts about whiskies and everything related to whisky. As the pandemic continues, these virtual groups have become increasingly important. Tastings There were two tastings last year that rise above the others. The year started in good company and with an excellent setting. There were five Lagavulin whiskies lined up.
1. Lagavulin Friends of the Classic Malt 48% (4500 bottles) 2. Lagavulin Islay Jazz 2017 57.6% (6000 bottles) 3. Lagavulin Fèis Ìle 2018 18 years old 53.9% (6000 bottles) 4. Lagavulin Islay Jazz 2019 21 years old 50.9% (2004 bottles) 5. Lagavulin Fèis Ìle 2019 19 years old 53.8% (6000 bottles) Of these, Fèis Ìle 2018 rose above the others. Once it got going, it just didn't finish. Wave after wave, endless dancing of peat and pineapple in the cheeks. In April, I got to enjoy a lineup that has to be the best in my whisky "career". Five Ardbegs distilled in the 70s. It was the 60th part of the series entitled VYS and Elderly Rarities and it contained the following unicorns: Ardbeg 17yo 40% Ardbeg 1978 43% Ardbeg 1975 43% Ardbeg 1977 46% Ardbeg Lord of the Isles 46%
This tasting was shared with a friend. In addition to great whiskies the company and the evening was super pleasant. A special mention goes to one summer evening, when my friend and I enjoyed an amazing variety of different whiskies. These were not enjoyed in a tasting form, but dram by dram throughout the day settling down with quality whisky and enjoying the company. There were three different single cask Laphroaigs bottled by my friend at the distillery and a Port Ellen from 1982. The best whisky of the year There are several options for this, but it must have been one of the single cask Laphroaigs mentioned above. Whether it was lower expectations after Port Ellen or whatever, but there were three whiskeys in that line, all of which could fit in the top 10 whiskies I tasted. If I would taste these again, they probably wouldn't be as magical, but in that moment they were amazing. Distillery of the Year This is more difficult to choose. Will I choose Ardbeg or Laphroaig, from which I got to taste amazing whiskies that I most likely won’t be able to taste again Or will I choose BenRiach, whose every whisky I tasted was a positive surprise? Will I jump aboard on the Redbreast Express, which pleasantly surprised me with its spicy character. But at this point I could a teeny weeny bit biased and choose Kyrö. Our pearl from South Ostrobothnia, whose social media team patiently answers most of my stupid questions and who makes the most delicious rye whiskey.
Whisky advent calendar
Our yearly tradition, that I have loved from the very beginning. This year there were 13 of us and 26 (I know, few extra days!!!) great whiskies. I will create a separate blog post about our calendar, but shortly it's like this: Everyone gets two whiskies and bottles small samples for everyone. Then we swap the samples and ta-dah! You have a calendar.
I've set many goals for this year, but the main goals are setting up this blog (which has already happened because you are reading this) and relative activity both here and on the Instagram. In addition to this, I hope to develop as a whisky taster and increase my whisky knowledge. Above all, I want to enjoy this hobby, keep the spark of enthusiasm that drives me to look for new flavors, experiences, and discover new great whiskies and share them with others. Happy Whiskyear 2022!!!