I won’t be sad to see the back of 2022.
Let’s be honest, the last couple of years have been pretty rubbish, really.
Covid reared its ugly head in NZ in March 2020, just a few days after Whisky Galore’s 2020 Dramfest. It resulted in personal lockdowns, business close-downs and relationship breakups. And a lot of empty whisky, wine, and other bottles.
Since 2021 Covid has also proved to be a very handy scapegoat for a whole range of ills – inflation, delays in supply, more inflation, lack of business performance, high inflation, reduced stock of nearly everything important (whisky), potholes, road works, road -re-works, high costs of public works, lack of performance, expensive groceries, horrendous petrol prices. And inflation.
And Covid even managed to stop Dramfest 2022!
The covid-inspired disruptions to 2021 were a pain. A couple of notable Scotsmen were detained in New Zealand, caught by the first sudden lockdown. One did take the opportunity to make a bit of a name for himself by getting samples in to his isolation accommodation and putting up on-line tastings.
For the general whisky-drinking public, only a very limited number of whisky tastings were able to be held due to the demands of lockdowns, “social distancing”, mask-wearing and the like.
if you will forgive me a small personal indulgence, 2022 has been a calamity.
A fortunately short spell in hospital (where I discovered whisky consumption is frowned upon) was rather too quickly followed by an unrelated muscular injury which has required pain-killers of ocean-going strength.
Point of interest: you may have experienced Tramadol, a manufactured-opiate based analgesic. If you have, you will probably have also experienced some of its rather bizarre side-effects: a slight disassociation from normal reality (wooziness), muddled thinking, slow reaction times and (most spectacularly) dreams straight from Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club band.
I’m probably going to get stick for not reading the box, but I wasn’t aware of the combined effect of Tramadol and alcohol.
I quickly became really aware when a routine traffic breath-test stop indicated that I was perilously close to failing – on only one glass of a less-than-memorable pub chardonnay that had accompanied my steak meal. On the plus side, probably better to discover this before Christmas festivities really hit their straps. All my celebrations for the near future are now going to do wonders for the share-prices of ginger ale and orange juice. Sad.
The Better Bits
But 2022 hasn’t all been rubbish. I managed to get to some magnificent whisky events. Two memorable ones: – Dr Stopher’s Multi functional Madness, and the opportunity a week later to help Mel clean out the contents of her whisky cabinet to make room for planned purchase activity at Dramfest in March.
Another particularly bright note was the creation of the “Virtual Tasting”, where samples are distributed by courier and the tasting event held by a Zoom conference. My wife came home one evening to discover 20 or more fairly convivially chatty people in little boxes discussing the contents of their whisky cabinets on our TV screen.
And there has been the testing/tasting all those generously-given samples I have received, along with the whisky-tasting evenings at Hare and Copper Eatery in Turangi. One must keep a balance!
It is now high time to let 2022 go and move into 2023 with Faith and Hope.
Things to look forward to
The major event for whisky aficionados to look forward to!
Dramfest 2023 is to be held at Christchurch’s new Te Pae Convention and Exhibition Centre on 4th and 5th of March.
This will be the much lamented, Covid-struck event delayed from March 2022.
It will feature over 50 exhibitors (including, by ny count, seven New Zealand distilleries, 300 different single malts, blends and other whiskies available to try.
And, for the first time, rum will also be available as a “guest spirit”.
According to the website, tickets are already sold out. Flights, at least from Wellington, are getting hard to find. Accommodation is also looking to be under pressure.
Travel is back on again, although (like Tramadol) to be taken with caution.
It will be nice to be able go to Australia, the UK or America again. We’ve done pretty much all of New Zealand now, time to stretch the wings a bit.
And cruise liners are back amongst us. Structures the size of Head Office blocks are parked alongside the wharf disgorging loud shirts, cameras, and peaked caps. Great news for the hospitality industry, which has struggled considerably for the past couple of years.
Reduction in Covid cases
In the last few weeks there has been a startling resurgence in the number of Covid cases being reported, north of 40,000 a week with a significant quantity of people dying with/from the disease.
Hopefully, 2023 will see those numbers start to drop and life return to a normalcy.
Being able to drink
The impact of taking anti-inflammatories is an inability to drink whisky and wine. It’s not that I’ve lost taste (although some may dispute that!), but the slight hallucinogenic effect of the drugs coupled with alcohol is not a pleasant mix. So samples of whiskies have been building up, sitting in a corner of the cabinet and laughing at me. It will be good to get rid of the pills and take other mind-altering substances instead.
And that is why there are no tasting notes for you to read at the moment. Watch this space!
The Revival Vol V, 12yo Single Malt, 46%
Ireland’s Teeling Whiskey Company are releasing a series of limited edition whiskies under The Revival series label.
WestmeathWhiskeyWorld have reviewed the latest in the series. They note the feeling that these may well be Collector drams, unlikely to ever be opened.
Personally, I am very much looking forward to 2023. I’m looking forward to tasting some new whiskies and re-acquainting myself with some others.
And I’m particularly looking forward to getting together with my whisky-drinking friends!
A very happy New Year to you all.
I received the following from WestmeathWhiskyWorld on the subject of Teeling Revival V.
“The Revival Series finished with the Vol V bottle in 2018.
Teeling are now embarking on a Renaissance Series to celebrate their own distillate coming of age at their Dublin distillery.
Renaissance will be of similar style to the Revival bottlings, limited editions, fancy packaging & premium pricing along with pretty tasty whiskey too!”
I greatly appreciate the information. And I’ll go looking for a bottle to see if any travelled all this way!