15th anniversary of Oslo Whiskyfestival: the new venue raised expectations that some of the problems of previous years might be solved, but on the contrary! Instead of three floors, the new location at Thon Conference Universitetsgaten had only two floors, making it a hassle to fight your way through the crowds for your next dram. Big minus on ambience! I understand that the organizers want to make this profitable, but with nowhere to sit, stand and enjoy your whisky, this whole event became rather disappointing. On a side note, the intense smell of Wiener sausages was so overwhelming that it became a challenge to actually nose your whisky.
The selection of malts was predictable, for the most part official bottlings presented by brand ambassadors, with only a few independent bottlings lined up as an alternative. Some bottles were empty after a short time. Prices were based on Vinmonopolet, so not much of a bargain. The pit stop dram and ‘best in festival’ nomination followed the same procedure as every year, and people who only visited to get hammered were – as often in Norway – a common sight.
With regards to service, I would have appreciated if water bottles were available for those who like to add a drop of water to their whisky. The available tap water was of limited use. Except for the before mentioned ‘pølse med lompe’, there was no food available. With 500 NOK for a ticket, I have to knock off a few points for value.
I do not want this to become a complete rant, so I will close with something positive: the Campbeltown tasting with David Allen was exceptionally good, a great selection of malts and moderately priced (300 NOK). Next year, I will focus on the tastings and avoid the main event.