Archive for the ‘WhiskyFest’ Category

Unique WhiskyFest SF Whiskies #3-4: Glenfiddich and Balvenie

Friday, July 31st, 2009

As I mentioned in previous postings, a handful of distillery managers and master blenders have each agreed to make one unique bottle of whisky (bottle #1 of 1) for WhiskyFest San Francisco this October 16th. These whiskies will, naturally, be rarer than any other bottle of whisky the ever produced, because there is only one bottle. For a small donation to charity, you will have the opportunity to taste these whiskies.

I wrote about the first two whiskies from Jura here and Dalmore here. I am pleased to announce that we have two new unique whiskies: one from Balvenie, the other from Glenfiddich. Details, provided by them, follow.

David Stewart has spent a great deal of time over the last few years working with our Warehouse team on projects which require him to search out and identify exceptional single casks. As a result, David now has an intimate knowledge of where his personal favourites are within the Balvenie warehouses, many of which he has been carefully nurturing for several years. David’s unique bottling will be a single cask sampling drawn directly from one of this highly personal select, and will be accompanied by notes on his reasons for this particular choice.

Brian Kinsman has taken a very different approach. All exceptional bottlings of Glenfiddich, such as our annual Vintage Single Casks and award winning 40 year old, require cask samples to be sent to the nosing room for detailed assessment. These cask samples are retained long after the cask has long been bottled and savoured. They form a historical archive of Glenfiddich’s greatest and best. Brian will be selecting from these precious remnants to craft a unique and unrepeatable one-bottle “vatting” of Glenfiddich, including exceptional casks long since consigned to history.

Here is more information on WhiskyFest San Francisco. I hope to see you there.

Unique WhiskyFest SF Whisky #2: The Dalmore

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

On Monday I disclosed that there will be a rare bottle of Isle of Jura single malt at WhiskyFest San Francisco on October 16th, personally selected by Willie Tait.

I also revealed that there will be six unique bottles, from six different world renowned whiskymakers, for this charitable effort at WhiskyFest. Attendees will have the opportunity to sample any of these whiskies, for a donation to charity.

Well, here is the second of these six rare whiskies. This one is a Dalmore, and has been personally created by Whyte & Mackay’s master blender, Richard Paterson.

Here are the details of this special whisky, from Richard himself:

As you know we “Shine not Burn” hence we have created a one off decanter of Dalmore to reflect this very statement, it is called “ Moonshine “ ( nothing to connect with your illicit whisky )


Because as Neil Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface for the very first time at 02.56 GMT on 21st July 1969, the new sprit of Dalmore down on Earth on this very same day was being transported onto the circular surface of American White Oak to begin its epic journey too.

At 2.56 GMT next Tuesday 21st July 2009 after having matured for 40 years we hope to land this special anniversary Dalmore Single Malt into our handcrafted crystal “Moon” decanter for one lucky recipient. The quality is out of this world and unlike Galileo Galilei’s ( 1564 – 1642 ) comments 400 years ago when he observed the surface of the moon, I can assure you it is indeed “smooth and uniform”                     
Transporting this decanter to America for this special occasion may prove more difficult than landing on the moon!

I am still working on its trajectory to you earthlings.

Until then Slainte Mhath


Thank you Richard. You rock!

Stay tuned for the details on the other four unique bottles of whisky debuting at WhiskyFest San Francisco for charity.

You are coming, right?

Rare Jura whisky at WhiskyFest SF

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Willie Tait of Isle of Jura single malt scotch is bringing one bottle of a very special whisky to WhiskyFest San Francisco on October 16th.

As many of you know, we have a charity table at WhiskyFest where we feature rare whiskies. To be able to taste a wee dram of the whisky, you must make a small donation to charity.  (This time we have chosen “Meals on wheels” as our charity.)

Well, Willie is bringing something very special. I’ll let him tell you all about it in his own words. (I love Willie’s sense of humor!)

I put a hogshead of Jura down 0n the 23rd Nov 1989, on my daughters 13th birthday.  This was my legacy for my children, as they have already taken all my money.

When you hear people say that they made this particular whisky, as we all know it’s not always true. I was the Manager at Jura at this time and when I thought about laying down a cask, what better if I did actually go and make this Dram.

I started Milling, then Mashing, through for Fermentation and then I did the Distillation, finally filling the new spirit into a fine sherry Hogshead. I am going to draw enough for a bottle from the cask and give it a special label and package.

Will keep you informed on the work in progress.

At this year’s WhiskyFest San Francisco, we have asked six different “Whiskymakers” to create one unique bottle of whisky for charity. In the very near future, I will be telling you about the other five. You will be amazed!

You didn’t need another reason to come to WhiskyFest San Francisco, because it will already be a great event. But now you have an even more compelling reason to attend.

New Springbank 18 yr. old is tasting pretty good!

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

I enjoyed a wee taste of the new Springbank 18 year old while out in Chicago for WhiskyFest. Keep in mind that this was an informal tasting as I was working my way through many whiskies. That said, my initial thoughts of this whisky are that it’s pretty good.

I was told by the importer to expect it here in the U.S. in the next month and a half or so. I’ll be getting a sample then and I’ll review it formally and let you know my thoughts. I didn’t ask how much it was going to cost, but if you like Springbank I think you’ll enjoy this one. I’m told there will be 7,800 bottles available worldwide.

It’s mostly 18 years old with a small amount of 19 & 20 year old whiskies thrown in. Most of the whisky is sherry cask aged, but it’s not dominated by sherry like some bottlings have been over the years. That’s because a most of the whisky is from second and refill casks, according to Peter Currie from the Distillery. Indeed, I thought there was a good balance of flavors.

Here’s even more good news. Some of the stocks are being held back until they are bottled next year, so you will have another chance to buy some.

Their triple-distilled Hazelburn becomes 12 year old this year, and they will be bottling it in July, so keep an eye out for that.

And before you ask, yes, I also inquired about Longrow, the peated version of Springbank. The next bottling of Longrow 18 year old will not be until 2011. Patience, my friends. Patience.

WhiskyFest strives for a more intimate experience

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Bigger isn’t always better. WhiskyFest is over ten years old, and the events have grown each year to the point where attendance exceeds 2,000 people.

Many of you remember (and think fondly of) the WhiskyFests from several years ago, when the venue was a little smaller, crowds were a little lighter, and the event was more intimate. It was easier to attend seminars, navigate from one end of the ballroom to the other, and interact with the master distillers and blenders.

You spoke. We listened. We would like to recapture some of this charm and intimacy by reducing the size of WhiskyFest. Starting with WhiskyFest Chicago on April 1st, we will be cutting back slightly on the number of tickets we sell. This will reduce crowding and also make it easier to get from one end of the ballroom to the other.

We have also reduced the WhiskyFest Chicago General Admission ticket price by $20, to $95–a very important consideration give the current state of the economy.

By reducing the number of tickets we sell, and lowering our ticket price, we anticipate that WhiskyFest Chicago will sell out early, so please do not wait too long to purchase a ticket. And don’t forget: everyone who buys a ticket to WhiskyFest Chicago gets a free one-year subscription to Malt Advocate magazine (an $18 value), a complimentary Glencairn whisky glass (a $10 value), a gourmet buffet and free seminars.

For ticket information, go to

Reduced WhiskyFest Chicago ticket price, plus a free subscription to Malt Advocate!

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

These are challenging times. We realize that every single hard-earned dollar matters to you. But we still want you to come to WhiskyFest and enjoy yourself, and we don’t want you to miss a single issue of Malt Advocate magazine.
So, we have decided to reduce the WhiskyFest Chicago General Admission ticket price to $95 (a $20 savings) and also throw in a complimentary one-year subscription to Malt Advocate for anyone buying a ticket (an $18 value).
Go to the WhiskyFest Chicago page of the Malt Advocate website here for details about WhiskyFest Chicago and to sign up. You can apply the free subscription towards a new subscription (for you or a friend) or to extend an existing subscription. You will be given a form to complete when you go through registration the night of the event.

I hope to see you in Chicago on April 1st. (No fooling!)

WhiskyFest video and information

Monday, January 26th, 2009

In my last posting, Tom Splitsberg was asking about WhiskyFest Chicago because he’s never been to a WhiskyFest before. I tried explaining it briefly in the thread, but we just put together a brief video of last year’s event (which looks pretty cool), so I though I would just include it here for anyone who’s never been to a WhiskyFest and is curious about what one looks like.

You can also check out our website here for more details and ticket information. We’re also preparing a blog devoted specifically to WhiskyFest (and a newsletter too). Details on both will be on the Malt Advocate website as they become available.

In the meantime, for those of you who have been to a WhiskyFest and want to offer Tom your take on it, feel free to comment.

Next Bushmills: Caribbean Rum Cask Aged?

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

Another little bird at WhiskyFest New York this past week told me what the next Bushmills release might be after the limited edition Bushmills 1608 blended whiskey runs its course over the next few months.

There’s been a Bushmills for sale at Travel Retail (Duty Free) that combines Bushmills aged entirely in pot still Caribbean rum casks with Bushmills aged in more traditional sherry and bourbon casks. I picked up a bottle at Travel Retail when I visited Bushmills back in 2007, but still haven’t opened up the bottle yet. This might be a good excuse to crack this sucker open sometime soon and taste it.

Has anyone tried this whiskey? If so, let us know what you think.

If I get any more definitive news on this, I’ll post it up.

Annoucing the 2008 Malt Advocate Whisky Awards

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

The 2008 Malt Advocate Whisky Awards were announced earlier this evening just prior to WhiskyFest New York. The awards ceremony occurred at the Marriott Marquis on Times Square.

Here is a listing of the award winners. A full write-up will appear in the 1st Quarter 2009 issue of Malt Advocate magazine, due out on January 15, 2009.

The top ten new whiskies for 2008 (listed alphabetically)
The Antiquary Blended Scotch, 21 year old
The Balvenie Vintage Cask, 1976 vintage
Black Bowmore, 1964 vintage, 42 year old
White Bowmore, 1964 vintage, 43 year old
Brora , 30 year old
High West Rendezvous Rye, Batch No. 10
Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve Irish Whiskey
The Last Drop Blended Scotch
Parker’s Heritage Collection Bourbon, 27 year old
Willett Family Reserve Bourbon, 25 year old

Best Buy of the Year
Ancient Ancient Age Ten Year Old

American Whiskey of the Year
Parker’s Heritage Collection 27 Year Old Bourbon

Canadian Whisky of the Year
Canadian Club 150th Anniversary 30 Year Old

Irish Whiskey of the Year
Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve, 2007 Release

Scotch Blended Whisky of the Year
The Antiquary 21 year old

Scotch Malt Whisky of the Year
Black Bowmore, 1964 Vintage, 42 year old

Microdistillery Whisky of the Year
Penderyn Welsh Whisky

Industry Leader of the Year
Dr. Bill Lumsden

Pioneer of the Year
The United States Microdistillers

Distillery of the Year
Four Roses

Lifetime Achievement Award
Willie Tait (Whyte and Mackay)
Kenny Gray (Oban)
Ronnie Eddins (Buffalo Trace)

Malt Advocate Whisky Awards: tomorrow night

Monday, November 10th, 2008

I’ll be announcing the 2008 Malt Advocate Whisky Awards tomorrow night at the beginning of WhiskyFest New York. I’ll be presenting the awards at 5:00 pm in the Broadway Ballroom at the Marriott Marquis on Times Square, where the event takes place.

This year, for the first time, VIP ticket holders will be allowed in the balcony level at 5:00 pm to watch the awards ceremony.

For those of you not attending WhiskyFest, I am programming a blog to publish tomorrow night listing the award winners.