Now we are five

Our fifth birthday has been and gone, so it’s back to business as usual – two sessions a month, and lots of tasty whisky to drink. We’re starting that with a second April session:

Whisky Squad #106: Billy and Joel went to Scotland, and all they got you was this very tasty whisky
The title pretty much says it all, but click through for some hyperbole and tickets when they go on sale. We’re at a new venue this month, so make sure you know where you’re going – The Ship, EC3

23rd April, 7.30pm. The Ship, EC3. £18pp

Bookings for this session open at 11am, Friday 10 April.  Usual booking policy applies.

Whisky Squad tastings are designed to be an informal and informative, fun way of learning about and tasting whisky.  Whilst not an “introduction to whisky” session, we have people of all backgrounds and facets of whisky exposure, and everyone interested in whisky is very welcome!

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO WHISKY SQUAD! And what a star-studded stylish bash it was.

What a swell do!  And a good-lookin’ crowd.

As promised, Thursday April 2nd saw a happy gaggle of Squad partakers of past and present converge on the wonderful Finborough Arms in West Brompton to usher in the 6th year of our informal and informative whisky tastings.

And no fewer than FIVE cakes!

It wouldn’t be a Whisky Squad without a few drams, so we toasted the occasion with a light & vivacious Bladnoch Forum 20yo Glen Ord from Jason’s collection, the sumptuous nutty & butterscotch notes of the new Arran 18yo, and finishing with the complex flavour Tour de Force of Master of Malt’s award winning Lost Distilleries Blend (batch 6).

Pizza was gobbled down with gusto, speeches were speeched, bonhomie was warmly evidenced and Dermot the Whisky Squad Dog kept a watchful eye on all visitors as well as the floor for potential scraps of anything interesting.  Thanks were generously thanksed, as we wouldn’t be here without the love & support of so many people and companies in the whisky industry.  And naturally we responsibly drank a pint or two of Jeff’s magnificently-tended selection of cask and keg beers.

So from Billy, Joel, Elise and Jason we’d like to once again say thanks to every one of you who came along & celebrated with us, who wanted to come along but couldn’t, who’ve ever been to a Whisky Squad, or presented a Whisky Squad, or is interested in either of those things in the future – this fun & awesomeness happens because you make it, and here’s to the next 5 years of just exactly that!

Photos by Duncan Ross and Toby Quirk – if you’ve got any you’d like to share/add, drop us a line or post them on Facebook and we’ll harvest/add them.

Happy Birthday to us!

On April 2nd it’ll be the 5th Birthday of the world famous WHISKY SQUAD.

For five years now we’ve been running our informal and informative whisky tastings, over 104 sessions (so far) and… well… loads of tasty & memorable drams (and some veering more towards “memorable” than “tasty”).

So we’re having a party to celebrate.

ws5bd_bannersqAnyone who’s a friend of the Squad – be it past participant, supporter, previous presenter, or had to listen to one of us babble excitedly about it at any point over the last 5 years – is welcome to attend.  Please fill out the booking form so we know how much cake to bring!

It’s barely February and we’ve already got a plan for March!

February’s a short month, so hot on the heels of last week’s tasting, here are the details of the next. March is another ‘only one session’ month, but fear not, we will be returning to our regular two tasting program from April.

So, for March we will be running a draw for tickets again. Click the link below to learn more and be in with a chance of getting a spot. The draw closes on February 18th.

Whisky Squad #104: What?! Really?

We’re getting pretty good at blind tasting at Whisky Squad. Each month, there’s a new inductee into the ‘guessed a thing right’ club, and sometimes we’re focusing more on the guessing than the whisky. So, what better way to both encourage and confound that than with a session of whiskies that noone will be able to guess. No matter what happens, the whiskies will still be tasty.

5th March, Salt Bar, £18pp

The ticket ballot is now open.

Whisky Squad tastings are designed to be an informal and informative, fun way of learning about and tasting whisky.  Whilst not an “introduction to whisky” session, we have people of all backgrounds and facets of whisky exposure, and everyone interested in whisky is very welcome!

 

February’s tasting and something a little different…

Whisky Squad’s adventures into 2015 are well and truly underway! It’s already time announce February’s session.

Session!? Surely we mean sessions!

I’m afraid not. The coming two months will only feature one session each. This is because Whisky Squad Founder and Commander-In-Chief, Jason B. Standing, has recently moved out to Bristol on a more permanent basis, meaning there is a slight shake up while we adjust. Don’t worry, Jason is still very much involved and we will still see him at sessions throughout the year, just a little less often than we are used to. He says the risk of falling asleep on the train home is just too high and he doesn’t fancy finding himself at the end of the line…in Wales!

Of course, only one session this month means less tickets to go around. In an attempt to ensure securing a ticket is fair for everyone we are going to run our own version of the Wimbledon Ticket Ballot. See the event page for all the info.

Normal, two session service will resume from April. In the mean time, good luck in the ballot and we hope to see you at February’s session, which just happens to be…….

Whisky Squad #103: David and Goliath

A debate is raging in the whisky world about size, craft, quality and the whisky marketing machine. In this session we are going to put the debate to rest with six cracking drams from a set of outstanding Davids and top-notch Goliaths.

5th February, The Red Lion, £18pp

The ticket ballot opens is now open.

Whisky Squad tastings are designed to be an informal and informative, fun way of learning about and tasting whisky.  Whilst not an “introduction to whisky” session, we have people of all backgrounds and facets of whisky exposure, and everyone interested in whisky is very welcome!

Whisky Squad #101 - Class of '97

The Class of ’97 – the return of Mr Whitehead

Certain sessions have become fixtures in the Whisky Squad calendar. Our yearly birthday bash (our fifth hits in April – keep an eye out in March for details), the bring-a-bottle Whisky Surprise session at Christmas, something involving blends that’s always excellent but that people shy away from (come along next time – you’ve missed out if you’ve not been to one), and so on. One, however, stands out as a fast-seller at an unexpected time of year: our first session in January, starring Berry Brothers and Rudd’s Rob Whitehead. Since the Squad’s first January, session #10 back in 2011 (which I wrote up back in the days when I was a random Squad punter), Rob has been on hand to lead us through some of his employer’s tasty drams, with themes getting gradually more tricksy as time has moved along. This year: The Class of ’97.

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Happy New Year! January Sessions are here!

I bet you thought we had forgotten about Whisky Squad. Well the good news is we hadn’t, and the January sessions are here at last! We kick off, as we generally do, with a tasting hosted by the one and only Rob Whitehead from Berry Bros & Rudd. We’ll follow that up with some sweet treats from our very own, Billy Abbott.

Whisky Squad #101: Class of ’97

1997 was a very important year with many landmark events, most of them not whisky-related. This session, however, is all about whisky and 1997 and you’ll have to join us at The Red Lion to find out why.

8th January, The Red Lion, £18pp

Whisky Squad #102: Uncle Billy’s Sweetshop

Whisky Squad co-organiser, Billy Abbott, loves sweets and loves whisky…and really loves whisky that tastes like sweets! That’s exactly what he has in store for us at January’s second session.

22nd January, The Finborough Arms, £18pp

Bookings for January sessions open at Midday, Thursday 1st January.  Usual booking policy applies.

Whisky Squad tastings are designed to be an informal and informative, fun way of learning about and tasting whisky.  Whilst not an “introduction to whisky” session, we have people of all backgrounds and facets of whisky exposure, and everyone interested in whisky is very welcome!

The last 2 Squad sessions of the year – and who doesn’t love coffee & randomness?

We’re now homing in on December, so to finish the Whisky Squad programme off for 2014 we’ve got a now traditional fixture, and something quite new, different, shiny and wondrous!

Whisky Squad #99: The Department of Whisky and Coffee Affairs

Coffee is a fine, fine thing – and to introduce us to a bit of coffee info we’re incredibly lucky to have snagged the attention of London coffee impresario Tim Ridley, who’ll be co-presenting a session with Billy, at the TATE BRITAIN!

4th December, Tate Britain Roastery, £18pp

Whisky Squad #100: Whisky Surprise. What? Whisky Squad #100?! How’d that happen?

Rounding out the year, our now traditional and very popular Whisky Surprise session (but then, aren’t they all?) – where entry is an optional £5 donation, and you bring along a whisky you’d like to share with the Squad.  Never to be missed!

18th December, Red Lion Crown Passage, £5.50.

Bookings for December sessions open at 9:30am Wednesday November 26th.  Usual booking policy applies.

Whisky Squad tastings are designed to be an informal and informative, fun way of learning about and tasting whisky.  Whilst not an “introduction to whisky” session, we have people of all backgrounds and facets of whisky exposure, and everyone interested in whisky is very welcome!

The clocks have gone back! And more Whisky Squads have been announced…

Spring forward, fall back – the latter is where we are. Change your clocks now! Unless all of your clocks are clever. Like mine aren’t.

Anyways, along with that public service announcement, here’s something much more interesting – two new Whisky Squads are open for booking. That’s right – open for booking now! Get clicking…

Whisky Squad #98: Managing Production Variables in a Controlled Environment in the Absence of Sight

Michael “The Big V” Vachon of Maverick Drinks is joining us for our first November squad, with some of the tasty whiskies from his stable of tasty things in his bag. We’ll be looking at the various things that go into making whisky taste how it does, although we’ll be doing it blind, so not really looking.

Thursday 6th November, The Red Lion, 19.30.

Whisky Squad #99: Mil-ROYS of So-HO!

We like Milroy’s and fortunately they also like us. We’ll be descending into the tasting rooms hidden underneath their iconic Soho shop for a selection of tasty whiskies from their shelves upstairs.

Thursday 20th November, Milroy’s of Soho, 19.30.

…and that’s it until next month. Enjoy your extra hour in bed. Unless you’ve got out up already, in which case, I hope it was nice.

It’s almost October. Time for Whisky Squad

The Whisky Squad gang have been a bit busy for the last few weeks, but October’s sessions are now almost here and will be open to book in mere day(s)! A return from an old friend and an adventure at a new venue could be yours! Exclamation marks!

Bookings for Whisky Squads #95 and #96 will open at 1pm on Tuesday 23 September.

Whisky Squad #95 – Autumn Berrys

Rob Whitehead — Berry Brothers & Rudd spirits god, friend to small animals and occasional Whisky Squad inmate — returns for another Squad session. He’ll be bringing tasty whiskies and an even tastier ability with the English language. He talks pretty, like.

Thursday 9th October, 7.30pm. The Royal Oak.

Whisky Squad #96 – They can’t all be doing it wrong

Most of the world drinks whisky mixed, so why don’t we? While Whisky Squadlateers are obviously amongst some of the most excellent and refined people in the world, we should probably make sure we’re not missing out. Squad-master Jason B Standing has scoured the whisky mixing bible, Dave Broom’s Whisky: The Manual, and come up with a few ideas of his own, all of which will be shared at Bistrot Bruno Loubet in Clerkenwell, a rather shiny new venue for us.

Thursday 23rd October, 7.30pm. Bistrot Bruno Loubet.