We attended the second edition of the Spirit Show in early December. It’s an interesting one to attend as it usually features small or newly-launched brands and for us, is a chance to explore beyond rum.
There is, of course, a rum representation. This year there were stands by Spirits Elite (Rum Bar), Appleton (including a bottle of Joy), St Vincent Distillers (Sunset overproof and Captain Bligh), Doorly’s, St Nicholas Abbey and new launcher Burning Barn offering a smoked rum.
We stopped to reacquaint ourselves with all of these, but made equal time to check out the gins, cognac and liqueurs. There is a heavy weighting towards gin, and the seemingly never ending USPs: gin distilled from collagen, pink gin, navy strength gin. We tend to skip these and head for the more unassuming stands and found some gems: the An Dulaman gin from the Sliabh Liag distillery in Galway, which uses seasonal seaweeds as part of its botanicals, adding a slight saltiness. This was also a sipper, something we don’t usually find with gin and led to a subsequent purchase after the event. The Conkers gin from Dorset went down well as a sipper, too, along with their cold brew coffee liqueur.
We’re also starting to discover cognac, directly due to its link with cask finishes in rum and enjoyed the Richard Delisle (RD) range of cognacs from grande Champagne. Bottle number 2 purchased.
What was bizarre about the event was the advertised schedule of talks by producers, but no indication of where they were taking place. It turned out that they were informal talks at the brand’s stands, but those we spoke to largely didn’t bother due to the confusion.
There was also no water or spittoons available, which we find extremely odd at a drinking event. Last year there were water fountains around the venue and when asked, were told we’d need to leave the venue to purchase at a nearby shop. In our view, this is a huge negative for the event.
Until next time, keep rumming!