Whisky Advocate

WhiskyFest San Francisco: the day after

October 17th, 2009

Dalmore1951Decanter-LOWA great time last night at WhiskyFest. There were many whiskies: new ones, special ones, “work in progress” samples. Some of the ones I stumbled onto included:

1) A new Wild Turkey 14 year old 101 proof limited edition

2) Next year’s “work in progress” release of Springbank 18 yr. old (in sherry casks)

3) A “work in progress” Ardmore “Triple Wood”, aged in bourbon casks, quarter casks, and PX sherry casks.

Willie's Special bottle4) Six unique whiskies at our charity table (picture at bottom), including the Dalmore 1951 in the globe decanter (picture at top), including Willie Tait’s Jura special bottle of Fortunach (see left).





Glaser at WhiskyFest5) John Glaser with the new Compass Box Spice Tree (left).

6) An incredible new Sheep Dip: a 1990 vatting of a 19 year old Dalmore, 21 year old Fettercairn, and a 25 year old Ardbeg that has been maturing in bourbon barrels as a finished whisky for the past 15 years. (Picture below with brand owner Alex Nicol.)



Alex NicholBut there were many more too, that I wasn’t keeping track of. For those of you who were at the event, feel free to comment on interesting whiskies you tasted.






Unique whiskies at WhiskyFest SFYou never know what’s going to show up at a WhiskyFest!

27 Responses to “WhiskyFest San Francisco: the day after”

  1. I had a great time. Still processing everything that happened! My highlight of the evening (outside of the folks that I met!) was the Sazerac 18 that was proffered from under the table by the good folks at Cask. Thanks, guys!

  2. John Hansell says:

    Thomas, nice to meet you! We’ll do it again next year.

  3. Adam H. says:

    What a night! Parker Beam’s seminar included two 30-year cask samples: one taken from the 3rd floor of a rickhouse, the other from the 7th floor. The difference was remarkable and educational! What a treat. Thanks John!

  4. Marc says:

    24 Days and counting to WhiskyFest Johannesburg – can’t wait! Reading about SF is my prelude. John, I don’t suppose you are coming to South Africa are you?

  5. patrick says:

    Interesting Work In Progress with the Ardmore and the Sheep dip. Would not mind tasting them. Glad to hear that you all had a nice time and I am longing for reading the report on this blog and in the Malt Advocate Magazine.

  6. John Hansell says:

    Marc, I don’t think that’s a WhiskyFest in Johannesburg. A Whisky Live perhaps?

    Patrick, I enjoyed both. The Sheep Dip is already bottled and heading to market. The Ardmore is still work in progress. I’m looking forward to tasting the final version.

  7. Jon W says:

    Sounds like a great event! Unfortunately, I’m going to have to settle for the “Philadelphia Whisky Festival” again this year. I was hoping to make the trip to NYC for your event, but I can’t get the days off (and I need to keep my job to fund my whisky habit).

    Is the new Sheep Dip coming to the US? Looks intriquing.

  8. Marc says:

    You’re right John, the event here is a WhiskyLive Fest. But still, you should come. 🙂 The only Bourbon represented last year was Jack Daniels, nothing else. Although in one of the workshops I tried my first rye whisky (Sazerac) was incredible, only trouble is I can’t buy it here. Keep well!

  9. Tanguy says:

    Outch! Jack Daniels is not a Bourbon but a Tennessee Whiskie. You could get killed in Kentucky for making that confusion!

  10. Tanguy says:

    Can’t wait to get the new Wild Turkey 14 year 101 proof special limited edition. Probably part of the American Spirit Collection as they released 2 years ago in a nice wood box. Looks just like an expensive Scotch Whiskie but taste better.

  11. Mike Dereszynski says:

    Hi John,
    Congrats on the S.F.Whiskyfest. It sounds like another successful event.And thanks for the pics and comments on Twitter or was it Face.. I would have sent a comment but couldnt figure out how without signing up with snapmylife for another ect.ect.
    I know your thoughts or recollections may be hazy after running yet another event involving spirits but if you can share what you know,here are some questions:
    Willie Tate looks like a proud and “fortunach” pappy,how did his Fortunach taste and did you have the time to taste all the “special one bottle only” offerings from Willie,Jim,Richard and the rest?Did you have a favorite, any suprises,were any disappointing?
    How does the forthcomming Springbank 18 compare to this years?
    And finally,did I hear you right? A vatting of 19yr.Dalmore,21yr.Fett. and 25yr.Ardbeg and its a Sheep Dip??!!.Tell us more please.
    Hope to see you in Chicago next April even if the Bruichladdich,Dalmore and Willies Fortunach bottles are gone by then.
    Mike Dereszynski

  12. John Hansell says:

    Hi Mike,

    Yes, I was tweeting live (with pics) at the event with my Blackberry (thus the not-so-crisp images). (I also put up some of the pics on Facebook.)

    I had a very tiny taste of all the charity whiskies and they were all good. I’m not sure if I had a favorite. (I really didn’t have a lot of time, but the Dalmore stands out in my mind right now.)There was some leftover of each and I’ll be bringing them to WhiskyFest New York in November.

    I’m hoping that others from the event will also offer their thougths on the whiskies, as I didn’t get a chance to taste too many whiskies (given that I was overseeing the event), but I thought that the Ardmore was very good (not too heavy on the PX). The Sheep Dip really surprised me–pleasantly. It was one of those “made into a blend and then stored for a bunch more years” blends. Strange how these things just show up. Black Bull is like that. So was The Last Drop.

  13. Mike Dereszynski says:

    Hi Again John,
    Thanks for the info. But I’m getting confused,are you using SWA or pre SWA language. I know the Black Bull 30 is a blend (malt + grain) What is the Sheep Dip vat or blend?
    In any case I’ll have to make room for it next to the treasures I brought back this summer from Scotland: Octomore (signed by Jim the Master of Bruichladdich) A Sacred Mountain Paps,as well as the Black Bull.They should keep me smiling till next April and Chicago.
    Mike Dereszynski

  14. John Hansell says:

    Mike, The normal Sheep Dip is a blend of malts (aka vatted malt). Pig’s Nose is their blend. The analogy I was making with Black Bull is that it, and this whisky, were aged after the whiskies were combined.

  15. Lear says:

    John, I’m sorry I didn’t make it out. It sounded like a great time–I would’ve loved to have tried that 14yo Wild Turkey! Ed Ledger told me he went and left a bottle of our selected bottling of Four Roses at the FR table. I wanted to know if you got to taste it, and what you thought. Salud!

  16. John Hansell says:

    Lear, I was at the Four Roses table, but didn’t taste any whiskey there. (I assumed that I already tasted their whiskeys previously.) Hopefully I’ll get that chance sometime.

  17. Chris says:

    I tried the Jura, Balvenie, and Dalmore charity bottles, they were all very tasty.

  18. Adam H. says:

    My notes…

    Balvenie – WF Charity Table 2009
    Distilled 17th December 1974
    48.3% Cask no. 17894
    Nose is nectar-y, with honey, honeydew, and cantaloupe. Palate is bright and big, hits you with yellow and white/fall fruits (e.g. nectarines and grapefruits, apples and pears). Quite a fruit bomb, but the kind without sherry influence — it reminds me of some of the 60’s and 70’s single-cask Benriachs I’ve come across. Finish is moderately-long, drying without being too tannic. Overall, reminds me of a tasty, fruit-topped, light pastry. Yum!

    I also tried the charity Glenfiddich late in the night, and my main impression was that it was “very Glenfiddich-y” — like the 12-year with all the best parts cranked up. The finish was surprisingly long and particularly satisfying.

    I’d happily own a bottle of either. I can just pick them up at BevMo, right?

  19. butephoto says:

    Those Dalmore folks sure like their decanters!


  20. John Hansell says:

    Adam H., those were unique bottles (Bottle #1 of 1). The only place in the world to taste these whiskies was at WhiskyFest San Francisco.

    Butephoto: you got that right! Glencairn Crystal, I believe.

  21. Adam H. says:

    Whoops, that was my (apparently failed) attempt at comedy. BevMo is a chain of liquor superstores in CA, with a large selection of mostly-commonplace bottles.

  22. John Hansell says:

    Adam, thanks for the clarification. I do see the humor now…

  23. Mr Manhattan says:

    @Lear: Ed gave me a pour of the Ledger’s Four Roses Single Barrel that evening. Fantastic! I purchased two the next day. And I guess the distillery also gives you the barrel—Ed had it sitting right there in the store.


  24. Todd says:

    Hopefully the Sheep Dip vatting takes after the Ardbeg rather than the Fettercain.

  25. John says:

    I am not a wisky expert! But i really enjoy reading this blog page. i have learn very much in the past year reading many of the postings!

    Great job Mr Hansell and team!



  26. dg blackburn says:

    wonderful time!
    even my future wife enjoyed it!
    the best for me was sitting in the entry hall with jimmy russell, having him tell us baptist jokes for 30 min and giving us east kentucky slang.
    great job
    see you next year
    also lincon henderson walking up to stephen beal sniffing him saying that he smelled of peat, with all lol

© Copyright 2017. Whisky Advocate. All rights reserved.