Whisky Advocate

WhiskyFest New York 2009 recap

November 12th, 2009

Okay, I’m back in the office after being out a week.

I had a great time Tuesday night at the sold-out WhiskyFest. It was nice to see some of you there.

Here’s some of the news-related items that I picked up at the event:

Park Ave Liquor in NYC got on a stash of some delicious Knockando 21 y/o single cask bottled way back  in 1998!! I had a bottle at one time. Great stuff!

There’s going to be a New Glenlivet Cellar Collection 1973 vintage coming out next year in time for father’s day.

An Cnoc 12 and 16 coming to the US in a month or two. Also Balblair 1991 and 1997 vintage.

Glen Grant made its US debut at WhiskyFest with 10 and 16 year old expressions!

Chivas Royal Salute 38 y/o “Stone of Destiny” also debuted at WhiskyFest.  Only 600 bottles for the US for the entire 2010 calendar year and priced at $600.

Look for a new 2009 vintage Jameson Rarest Special Reserve.

Glendronach Single Casks are going to start showing up at retailers’ shops who have the opportunity to buy a cask. I caught a glimpse of one at the Park Avenue Liquor booth.

I hope to post up more information here as I get more time over the next few days. For those of you who were in attendance, feel free to post up your thoughts on the event.

13 Responses to “WhiskyFest New York 2009 recap”

  1. Joe Maissel says:


    Another splendid Whiskyfest! Sorry I missed you this year. I was hoping to congratulate you in person on 2009 as “the year of the blog”. What a fantastic community you’ve gathered!

    I think this was 6th fest in a row for me. As the years pass, I’ve grown to value the seminars. I’ve been enough times that I no longer feel compelled to try everything in sight. The seminars offer a place to really taste carefully and thoughtfully, and learn something in the process.

    I attended the Ardbeg and Parker Beam sessions. Davinia did a marvelous job and I’m pretty certain every guy in the room was completely smitten with her within a minute of the start. And it’s just not WhiskyFest for me if I don’t get some Parker time. To quote Mr. Beam “My Gran-daddy never tasted cumquats. It tastes like bourbon, and if it don’t taste like bourbon, you got a problem”. He’s the best.

    I thought putting out food during VIP check-in was a great move. Personally I prefer going in with very little in my stomach, but for others I can see how it might help slow the pace of absorbtion and make the experience more manageable.

    I was a little disappointed that a few stations did not have the VIP offering as published in the guide. Ardbeg Supernova comes to mind. Laphroig didn’t have anything and said it was a printing error. There were a couple of other spots where the VIP pour advertised was not available.

    There weren’t any huge revelations for me this year, though the 70 year-old Cognac offered during VIP was surprisingly good. Figured it would be unbalanced and woody, but not so.

    Last couple of years, I’d spent time in the Dewars breakout room. I learned a lot about blending from their “blending bar”. I didn’t miss it this year, but I hope it makes a comeback down the road.

    Already looking forward to next year.

  2. John Hansell says:

    Hi Joe,

    Glad to hear you enjoyed yourself. I do know that Supernova was being poured at the beginning of VIP hour, because I was there. They had one bottle and there were so many people lined up to taste it, I don’t think it lasted very long. That might have been the case with some of the others VIP whiskies too.

    Regarding Laphroaig, that was no printing error. We listed exactly what they said they would be pouring: 10,18, 25 and quarter cask. This is their current line up.

    See you next year.

  3. dave says:

    Actually, the Supernova was available toward the end of the night. I was particularly delighted to try it although I wasn’t a VIP. It was the one expression I hadn’t tried (or owned) that they had on the table so I was very happy to end the night on it. Wish I noticed the Laphroaig 25 — I thought the 18 was fantastic though.

    I, too, enjoyed it. This was my first and probably won’t be my last. Next time I’ll pay more attention to seminars and take better notes!

  4. Joe Maissel says:

    My mistake on the Laphroaig. Thanks.

  5. Carl says:

    This Whiskyfest was my first, but not my last! It was a great experience overall. The tasting opportunities were incredible; it was a tough decision to leave the floor in order to hear the speakers, but the Ardbeg session was well worth it.

    The food was very tasty, though some tables & chairs in the room would have made it easier to enjoy. Also, the whole event might have felt a bit more civilized if the exhibitor tables could have been wider, allowing more people to interact with the exhibitors at a time.

    Many thanks to John and everybody at Malt Advocate! See you next year.

  6. John Hansell says:

    Thanks for the feedback Carl. The entire balcony had nothing but empty tables and chairs, but I don’t think people knew they were up there…We’ll do something about that next year.

    And I think we’re going to make the ballroom wider next year and move the speaker sessions upstairs so there will be more elbow room.

    See you next year…

  7. Scott says:

    It was the Ardmore that was misprinted at the Laphroaig / Ardmore table. They didn’t have the Ardmore 30 Year Old with them. I was heartbroken.
    Even without the Ardmore 30 Year it was a fantastic event. I look forward to next year! Though elbow room would be a nice addition down the road.

  8. Louis says:

    Hi John,

    I found a couple of affordable drams as well. The GlenDronach 15 was the best of the new range, IMHO. If the price is reasonable, it will make life difficult for other 15 and 18 year olds. The folks behind the table mentioned that their current line should be considered ‘small batch’ for the time being.

    The SWA-approved Compass Box Whisky Spice Tree was quite good as well. It’s been a while since I tried the older version, but I seem to have liked this one even better.



  9. Gary says:

    My third Whisky Fest and by far the most enjoyable. I had the pleasure of trying the ’64 and ’68 Highland Parks for charity and I was not disappointed. I attended the Glenrothes and Parker Beam seminars and thoroughly enjoyed both. The seminars are so informative.

    I also wouldn’t mind having some seats around the food. Just a thought.

    I had a VIP ticket and it was worth every penny. This year I actually remembered a pen and used the book provided to take notes on all the Whisk(e)y’s I tried. ome of my faves (primarily being a bourbon fan) were the Highwest Bourye,the 40 Creek Bouble Barrel 40,the Parker’s Heritage Anniversary ( I have to buy a bottle of that), the Sheepdip Vatted Malt ( another must buy) and the GlenDronach 12 yo. I actually bought a bottle of the 14 yo from Parkers UK and have been enjoying that as well.

    All in all, a wondeful time and I look forward to next year. Thanks John.

  10. B.J. Reed says:

    Glad to hear Balblair is finally making it to the U.S. – I have the 97 and we tasted all three of their new expressions at the distillery in March of 2007 – Sure taken a long time to get here.

  11. John Hansell says:

    Gary, we’re going to fix it next year so we have seating near the food. The mezzanine had dozens of tables and chairs, but no one wanted to walk that far to eat…

    BJ, yes isn’t it amazing how long it takes some whiskies to finally show up in the US?

  12. A.J. Straus says:

    Just curious – what did the rest of you think about Amrut, the new whisky from India? I didn’t know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised.

  13. Neil Miritello says:

    Thank you John for another wonderful event!
    I have attended every New York Wiskey Fest from the beginning and I enjoy each one more than the year before. Me and my friends who attend with me are hoping to make a road trip to Chicago Wiskey Fest sometime in the future.

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