Without the Community there would be no Whiskybase, which is why we want to put a spotlight on some of our beloved members and showcase our diversity. Get to learn the person behind the avatar. In this instalment we talk to mds51 from Germany.
A big part of our Whiskybase Community is made up of members from Germany. One of those members is mds51, better known to his friends as Lukas Jentschke. The 28-year-old resident of Dresden is studying right now to become state certified electrical engineer. He already has a very special whisky in mind to open once he passes his final exam.
Why are you a member of Whiskybase?
“First of all to keep track of my collection. At a certain amount of bottles, you simply can’t remember all. I also give scores to whisky, and sometimes post tasting notes, although not often. But I also use it for research. You can find shops and read tasting notes from others. It’s a good tool.”
When and how did your whisky journey start?
“In October of 2014 a friend and I went on a fourteen-day trip to Scotland. We visited Aberlour, Edradour and Glenfarclas. At the time my friend already was into whisky because of his step-father. My first brush with whisky was the distillery tour at Glenfarclas. I really fell in love with it.”
Why did you and your friend decide to go to Scotland? Presumably not just because of whisky.
“No, we went first and foremost because of the landscape. Not long before my trip to Scotland I visited New-Zealand. The landscape there is amazing. Scotland has some similarities and that’s a big part of why we travelled there. New-Zealand is of course different and has more variety. You have the big mountains, but also a tropical climate, which Scotland obviously hasn’t. But Scotland is a lot closer to where I live.”
You visited Glenfarclas, Edradour and Aberlour, what are some of the other memorable moments from that trip?
“The pubs were great. The feeling, the people, the ambiance. In one pub especially. We stayed at a campsite near Glasgow because we had tickets for a football game. When they closed the pubs in the city we travelled back to our campsite and there was this little village pub. There was a karaoke party and it was the best evening I had in Scotland. I can’t remember if we also sang, but we definitively had fun.”
You fell in love with whisky during your Scotland trip. Why was that? Or what did you find fascinating about whisky?
“I would say it was the tour at Glenfarclas. We went to Speyside and saw a lot of distilleries. When we drove into Aberlour we just missed the last tour of the day. But Glenfarclas was not far away, so that was our next stop. We were lucky enough that there were five others waiting as well, so they took all of us on a tour. Yeah, it fascinated me. I don’t know, difficult to put into words. But it fascinated me.”
Had you tried whisky before your experience in Scotland?
“Not really. I drank it before, but not because I specifically wanted whisky, just because I wanted a drink. I think I might’ve had Glen Grant 10 before, which was fine, but also not a whisky that convinced me to go out and discover more whiskies.”
So when you tried Glenfarclas at the distillery, did you immediately like it?
“Not immediately. It was new for me. But when my friend and I were back in Germany we ordered a lot of samples, to build our knowledge. I think that’s the best way to do it. When you try a lot of whisky, you can quickly discover what you like. If you just blindly start buying bottles? Let’s just say it takes a long time to finish a bottle of whisky you don’t enjoy.”
Do you have a soft spot for other distilleries?
“Highland Park, yes. I fell in love with their 25 and 30 year old. The stuff that they’ve released lately is not exactly to my taste. They try with their NAS releases, but maybe they don’t have enough good casks left? I like their older ones better. For example, I have some of their old 12 and 18 year old whiskies at home.”
What’s the whisky community in Dresden and Germany like?
“Well, we have a shop here in Dresden. And they’ll organise their first festival this year. My friend and I will be helping them. But overall I would say there are more whisky lovers in the western part of the country. East Germany still isn’t that rich. And whisky is a luxury item. That’s the main reason, I think, why whisky is a little less popular here. Although it depends whether you think Berlin is part of the east or the west. But it is growing in popularity, I would say.”
You organise bottle shares and also buy whisky samples. Is that a big thing over there?
“In our Facebook-group we have about 10,000 members and there are always some active bottle shares going on. Sometimes it is the only way to taste a whisky. With the hype surrounding whisky, you can no longer try a whisky before you buy it. If you wait too long, it is gone or you pay double the price.”
Is there any German whisky that you like?
“I can’t say I’ve tried much. We have a lot of small distilleries but they are not widely available. The only two easy to buy German whiskies are Slyrs and Glen Els. I’ve tried whiskies from both of them. Slyrs is not for me, too often I’ve encountered sulphur. Glen Els have a huge range, lots of single casks finished in a great variety of exotics cask types. Their whisky is fine, but they do so many finishes that I don’t know if they might do it to cover up some faulty spirit.”
What are the favourite whiskies you’ve tasted so far?
“My absolute favourite is a Highland Park 1959. Another astonishing whisky was a 36 year old Tomatin from Duncan Taylor. I bought a sample of it early on in my whisky discovery. I loved it and contacted people on Whiskybase that had a bottle in their collection. I was lucky that someone sold it to me for a reasonable price. I’m glad that I have another bottle, which I will open when I pass my electrical engineer exam.”
Author: Thijs Klaverstijn