As usual, we have made a block of rooms available in the event hotels themselves for the WhiskyFest evenings in New York and San Francisco. These rooms are only available till they sell out, or by the dates noted below.
New York: Hotel reservations for the nights of September 19 through September 28 may be made by calling 1-800-843-4898 and asking for the WhiskyFest room block, or, reserve online: https://resweb.passkey.com/go/
San Francisco: Hotel reservations for the nights of 10/28 – 11/1 may be made by calling 1-877-622-3056 and mentioning the WhiskyFest 2015 room block or, make reservations on line by following this link: https://resweb.passkey.com/go/
WhiskyFest Chicago 2015 was another huge success! Expectations were high, and the WhiskyFest team delivered. There were some great new seminars: Highland Park set up a room with cocktail shakers and makers and gave participants hands-on training in creating a drink, and Glenmorangie delivered a rare chance to taste malt whiskies made with four distinctively different types of malt. Several seminars offered rare whiskies not to be found anywhere else (like a Wiser’s 30 year old at the Wiser’s blending class!). The food was up to the usual high standards of the Hyatt Regency, with treats like a new German-influenced menu (how about those brat skewers!), exceptionally fine hand-carved beef, and flourless chocolate cake. The winner of our drawing for the beautifully boxed Glencairn decanter set — Roy Parpart of Indianapolis — proudly took his prize around the floor to show it off.
And yes, there were great whiskies! A few of the exceptional ones included three Glenfarclas Family Casks: 1964, 1974, and 1984, and three expressions of Hibiki: the 12, 17, and 21 year old. Compass Box brought almost the full range, including a striking magnum bottle of Peat Monster 10th Anniversary and a 15 year old version of Hedonism. We had Evan Williams Red (12 years old and 101 proof), local craft distillers Koval and Few were pouring, there was a whole table full of single barrel bottlings of Four Roses, and we had to set up club-style ropes and security guards to make sure everyone got a fair shot at the full range of Pappy Van Winkle bourbons, from the 10 year old to the 23! If that wasn’t enough, we also had Goose Island pouring three Bourbon County beers: the Stout, the Coffee Stout, and the very rare Proprietor’s bottling.
It was quite a night. First-timers could be spotted by their looks of wonder and the way they rushed around. WhiskyFest pros spent more time shaking hands with old friends and laughing about how great it was to be there. We all had a great time, and we’ll see you back in Chicago next year! Now…we’re going to get back to work on making the New York and San Francisco WhiskyFests just as great. See you in the fall.
Last year we ran a post suggesting WhiskyFest tickets as a great gift for your dear old Dad on Father’s Day. It was brought to our attention that Mom often likes whisky as much as Dad does, and so in that spirit…
Here’s a friendly reminder for you: Mother’s Day is coming up quickly, on May 10th!
It’s always a puzzle what to get her. Might we suggest whisky? Sure, Mom loves a good dram. But do you get her that favorite bottle? Or something new? Or something rare? Or something completely different? It’s like you jumped out of one puzzle into another!
Why not get her over 350 bottles of it by getting her a ticket to WhiskyFest New York or San Francisco! You can still save $25 on her ticket (and yours, too; you’re going along, right?) if you buy now; early-bird pricing is good through the end of June. (That’s true even if you’re just buying tickets for yourself, of course…)
Picture it. You take Mom out to dinner at a nice place, her favorite, and between the salad and her broiled haddock, you hand her The Envelope: “Oh honey, WhiskyFest tickets! How thoughtful. We are going to have the best time together!”
Who’s the good kid, who’s Mom’s favorite? YOU ARE! Thanks to WhiskyFest!
WhiskyFest Chicago is only a few days away! We’ll be touching down tomorrow to take in some of the fun of WhiskyWeek before the Fest itself on Friday.
Remember: You must print out your ticket and bring it along with you to be presented and scanned at the gate in order to get into the event! Do it now, tuck it in your wallet or purse, and you’re good to go.
While you’re prepping, don’t forget to download the new WhiskyFest Chicago app: whisky list, map, ratings, social media connections, and a 10% discount on merchandise the night of the fest! Just show us the app on your phone at the Whisky Advocate booth, and we’ll take 10% off the goodies you buy that night!
Now…just to keep you excited, we have a partial list of the big names who are going to be at the booths, pouring their whiskies Friday night.
Wes Henderson — Angel’s Envy
Ian Chang — Kavalan
Dave Pickerell — WhistlePig
John Hall — Forty Creek
Jimmy and Eddie Russell — Wild Turkey
Ewan Morgan and Gregor Cattanach — Diageo single malts and Crown Royal
Gable Erenzo — Hudson
Al Young — Four Roses
Chris Fletcher — Jack Daniel
Julian & Preston Van Winkle — Old Rip Van Winkle
Robert Birnecker — Koval
Simon Brooking — Laphroaig (wish them a happy 200th!) & Bowmore
John Glaser — Compass Box
David Perkins — High West
James Robertson — Tullibardine
Craig Beam and Dennis Potter — Heaven Hill
WhiskyFest Chicago is next week, and there’s so much you have to do to get ready! You’ve got your wardrobe to consider, and arrange to leave work a little early, transit routes to consider or Uber app to update, breakfast plans for the next morning…
But your actual WhiskyFest planning? Rest your malty brains on that; we’ve got you covered.
First step: be sure to print out your ticket and bring it with you to WhiskyFest. A ticket with a valid bar code is required for entry (must be 21)! Every year someone forgets their ticket, and it’s a sad, sad scene.
Next: download the WhiskyFest app, if you haven’t already, and get your information in there (email, social media contacts, and so on) so you’re ready to start broadcasting your finds as soon as you hit the floor. Open up the map and plan your attack! Don’t forget: if you show us the app on your phone or tablet at the event, you get 10% off on merchandise purchases made at the Whisky Advocate booth that night!
If you just want to look at all those whiskies…click here. Pretty delicious, right?
The seminars and speakers are on the app, but if you want to see them on a bigger screen, take a look here for the most up to date information on the free and informative sessions.
When you get to the fest, don’t forget to fill in our survey. Turn in your completed survey form for a chance to win a beautiful Glencairn Crystal Decanter set in a presentation box, which will be awarded right there at the Fest.
If you’re in town before or after the event, you’ll want to know what’s going on with WhiskyWeek, when Chicago gets just a bit nuts about whisky, thanks to all the rock stars of whisky that WhiskyFest brings to town. We’ve got a schedule for you here, and we’re still adding events as they come in.
Get to it; WhiskyFest Chicago is so close, we can almost taste it. Ready, set…WhiskyFest!
Last week we told you there were improvements in the WhiskyFest app. We wanted to show you one of them in advance of the show so you could save some time figuring out how to use it: our improved notes feature. As we said, every whisky now has an entry, not just each exhibitor, and every whisky can be rated, reviewed, and described.
Here’s how it works. There are three ways to do it.
Rate And Review
Easily rate a whisky with 1-5 stars, with the option to add a review. We suggest that you Bookmark any whisky you rate, so you can easily retrieve them.
(iOS users cannot edit a rating or the accompanying review once it’s been submitted; Android users can edit.)
Your Ratings And Reviews are private.
Each whisky has a link titled “Add Notes”. When you tap on it, it takes you to a screen where you can write free-form notes. Be sure to include the name of the whisky you are writing about; that is not automatically filled into the note screen. When you tap on the “Add Notes” link from any whisky, it takes you to that same notes page, and you can continue to add notes throughout the evening.
You have the ability to email your notes to yourself for future reference.
Your notes are private.
You can write comments on each whisky and post them to the activity feed by following the directions in the whisky description area. At the end of the event, you can see all of the comments that you’ve posted to your activity feed, and you can follow people to see what they’re saying.
Activity Feed comments are public.
The WhiskyFest Chicago app can now be downloaded here. Get ready for what it can do for you at WhiskyFest.
Every whisky is listed and searchable, with any and all last-minute additions, and the interactive map can route you directly to them. We have category searching: find all the bourbons, all the Irish, all the Japanese! New rating, review, and note-taking options are available (details coming shortly). And a 10% discount on merchandise at the Whisky Advocate booth the night of the event!
Download it now! It’s completely free, and there are no in-app purchases. Get familiar with the features and you’ll be ready to navigate when you get there.
Got questions about how to use the app? We’ll be posting instructions for the new features here on the blog soon. You can also check the FAQ in the app, which includes a link to contact tech support. Or you can send an email directly to support at email@example.com. And we’ll have help for you at WhiskyFest, should you need it. Just stop by the Whisky Advocate booth at the front of the ballroom.
Get started now!
Put WhiskyFest Chicago in your pocket with the improved WhiskyFest app and receive 10% off your purchase at the Whisky Advocate booth!
- Every whisky listed, with any and all last-minute additions
- Every whisky now mapped!
- Every seminar detailed
- Every speaker introduced
- Map the best ballroom route from Islay to Kentucky using the interactive map
- Find your favorite types of whiskies with new category searching!
- Note your favorites, spread the word on the best-of-fest bottles, and check the inside information everyone else is posting
- Post your notes and pictures to Facebook and Twitter automatically (use #wfchi )
- Keep private reviews and notes for yourself
- Show us your app at the Whisky Advocate booth, and we’ll give you an instant 10% discount on your purchase
All in the palm of your hand!
WhiskyFest, the first and best whisky festival, is introducing the updated WhiskyFest Chicago app, with several new features. You’ll soon be able to download it at the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. It’s completely free, and there are no in-app purchases. Get familiar with the features and you’ll be ready to navigate when you get there. The interactive map allows you to quickly search for the whisky you want — by name, or by type! — and then see how to get there from where you are.
If you want to post to the wider world of social media, you won’t have to do it twice: just post to the app’s “Activity Feed” and select the option to copy to Facebook or Twitter (or both), and your words are out there (use the hashtag #wfchi ); photos, too! You’ll see all the posts on your own feed in the app, and you have the option to follow your friends and see what they’re saying too. It works like your Timeline in Facebook.
If you’re wondering, ‘What can this app do that my paper WhiskyFest program can’t?’ how about this: the program had to be printed weeks in advance. But we will make updates in the app right up to the day before, giving you the latest information, right on your phone.
Got questions about how to use the app? We’ll be posting some instructions for the new features here on the blog soon. You can also check the FAQ in the app, which includes a link to contact tech support. Or you can send an email directly to support at firstname.lastname@example.org. And we’ll have help for you at WhiskyFest, should you need it. Just stop by the Whisky Advocate booth at the front of the ballroom.
Don’t spend the night with your nose in your phone, of course; spend it with your nose in your glass, talking to your friends, and talking to the whisky celebrities But when you want to tell the world how great the latest whisky you’ve found is, or find that whisky, or post your selfie, or check the seminar schedule to try some very exclusive whiskies…we’ve got the app for you. WhiskyFest!
WhiskyFest tickets make a great holiday gift!
We know this from years of research, personal experience, and direct observation; it’s a fact. People love getting WhiskyFest tickets at the holidays, because it’s a promise of good times to come, and something they can look forward to almost all year. Get tickets to the New York (September 24) or San Francisco (October 30) shows, and you’ll have plenty of time to talk whisky, and get ready, and plan. (Chicago tickets are, as you probably know, already sold out.) It’s sure to be their favorite gift!
Is that not enough? Okay…
Ten Reasons Why WhiskyFest Tickets are Great Holiday Gifts!
- You never have to stand in line to buy them!
- One size really does fit all!
- You don’t even have to leave the house, just order online and print!
- You can hide them almost anywhere!
- You won’t look weird if you get one for yourself as well!
- It’s the only way to fit 350-plus whiskies into an envelope!
- They do not add to Holiday Weight Gain!
- What other gift comes with its own gourmet buffet?!
- We give you more gifts once you get there!
- If you forget, you can print them out at the very last minute and still look good!
What more could you ask for? Give WhiskyFest tickets this holiday season!
WhiskyFest New York went back to its original one-night format this year, with seminars during the event that were open to all attendees. We also went back to a weeknight date. The results? Once again, a sold-out gala of wonderful whiskies!
The Pappy Van Winkle whiskeys returned to New York (and had a line waiting for pours all night!), and we had a bunch of new whiskies as well, like Defiant, Roughstock, and Lock Stock & Barrel. As always, the VIP hour offered some special tastes of rare whiskies. But the smart guests knew that the seminars also often offered special and rare whiskies, and came with a regular ticket purchase! The seminars were in spacious, quiet rooms, a chance to learn inside information (or maybe suck down some bivalves at the Bowmore oyster pairing) while relaxing in comfort.
The main floor was bustling, and every aisle offered something special: a new whisky, a revered distiller, an unknown distillery. (Hundreds of attendees downloaded our new WhiskyFest app — with interactive mapping, real-time chat with links to Twitter and Facebook for text and photos, and a full, up-to-the day whisky list — to help them find all of that.) Add the great food and the WhiskyFest merchandise at the Whisky Advocate booth, and it was a night to remember!