Not long now until WhiskyFest New York! If you don’t have tickets yet, better step up: WhiskyFest always sells out. If you need help deciding if you’re going to buy that ticket, let us help push you over the top. Here are six of the twelve seminars we’ll be featuring. As always, the seminars feature excellent whiskies (and sometimes other drinks!), a great presentation, and are included at no extra charge in your ticket purchase (seats in individual seminars are limited; guests are accommodated on a first come, first seated basis). Here’s what we have.
Finishes and Beyond at the Glenmorangie Company — Dr. Bill Lumsden, Head of Whisky Distilling and Whisky Creation
Join Dr. Bill Lumsden as he explores the history of whisky finishing and its exciting and innovative future (with samples in both directions).
Suntory Hibiki Japanese Harmony — Gardner Dunn, Brand Ambassador for Suntory Japanese Whisky
Gardner Dunn hosts an exclusive tasting of the new Suntory Hibiki Japanese Harmony and its component whiskies.
The Magic of Malt — Denny Potter, co-master distiller, and Bernie Lubbers, American Whiskey Brand Ambassador for Heaven Hill Distilleries
The grain common among the great whisk(e)y-making traditions is barley. It’s present in all traditional American whiskeys, and it serves as the primary basis for this year’s new Parker’s Heritage Collection release. Enjoy the opportunity to taste rare, experimental whiskeys that showcase the magic of malt.
If Vikings were Whisky – an Introduction to Highland Park’s Warrior Series — Steph Ridgway, National Brand Ambassador for Highland Park
Join Steph Ridgway for a tasting of select expressions from Highland Park’s Duty Free exclusive Warrior Range.
The Legends of North American Whisk(e)y — Jimmy and Eddie Russell, Master Distillers, Wild Turkey; John Hall, Founder, Forty Creek Canadian Whisky; Robin Coupar, Seminar Moderator and Global Whisk(e)y Ambassador for Campari USA
A discussion on the traditions and processes of North American whisk(e)y hosted by the Masters of their trade.
Baijiu Demystified — Yuan Liu, Director of Business Development, CNS Imports; Charles Lanthier, Founder & CEO, Hong Kong Baijiu; Manny Burnichon, Founder & CEO, Private Cask Imports
Baijiu is the number-one selling spirit in the world, and has been an integral part of Chinese culture for millennia. Join us to gain a comprehensive understanding of this authentic, celebrated spirit before anyone you know can even pronounce its name.
Time’s running out: there’s only one more week left of Early Bird pricing for the New York and San Francisco WhiskyFest events! June 30 is the last day for you to save serious coin on the best whisky event in the country. Over 350 whiskies (over 400 at New York); poured by some of the smartest, most experienced folks in the whisky business; a gourmet meal; a Glencairn glass and other free stuff; and all in the company of whisky lovers like you.
You know you want to go. You know you’re going to go. Are you so rich that you want to pay extra?
No. We didn’t think so. Just click right here, and get that taken care of. We’ll see you this fall!
Father‘s Day is coming fast! It’s less than two weeks away, and you don’t have time to shop, or have stuff delivered, or make him anything… WhiskyFest to the rescue! What better gift for the Old Man, the Skipper, the guy who taught you about whisky, than a ticket to the best whisky festival going! Your father will be thrilled to learn he’s going to get to try great new and rare whiskies, rub elbows with master distillers and whisky experts, and relax at the educational (and fun!) seminars.
You don’t even have to go shopping or wait for delivery; you can get them right now; just order them, then print them out. Best of all, you still have time to save some bucks: early bird pricing for the fall events isn’t up until June 30! (That’s for everyone, of course: not just Father’s Day purchases!)
So get on Dad’s good side: buy him a pair of WhiskyFest tickets (you’re going with him, naturally).
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!