You know what Dad likes? Whisky! But do you get him his favorite? Or something new? Or something rare? Or something completely different? Decisions are so difficult!
Why not get him over 350 bottles of it by getting him a ticket to WhiskyFest New York or San Francisco! You can still save $25 on his 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…)
Imagine the scene. You, Dad, The Envelope: “Wow, WhiskyFest tickets? Thanks, kiddo!”
Who’s the best kid, who’s Dad’s favorite? YOU ARE! Thanks to WhiskyFest!
WhiskyFest Chicago will be held on Friday, April 10, 2015, so mark your 2015 calendars.
Tickets will go on sale this fall. Be among the first to find out when tickets are available by signing up for WhiskyNotes, our bi-weekly newsletter. Simply click here.
We’ll see you there!
WhiskyFest™ does it again! Our 16th annual WhiskyFest Chicago sold out in only seven hours, and ticket buyers clearly knew what they were doing; this was a great event! Close to 2,000 whisky lovers got to mingle with the top people in the whisky industry — master distillers, distillery managers, global brand ambassadors — and sample whiskies (and whiskeys!) to their heart’s content.
It was a grand tasting indeed, starting with the VIP hour and some very special pours from some distillers, and progressing into the wide open general tasting event. Attendees had their choice of 315 whiskies, as well as excellent examples of beer, gin, rum, vodka, cognac, and tequila from a roomful of 86 exhibitors.
There were whiskies from all over. The usual types were well-represented, of course: single malt and blended Scotch whiskies, Irish whiskeys, bourbon, rye and Tennessee whiskeys, Canadian whiskies. But this is WhiskyFest: we also delivered Japanese whiskies, an array of American craft whiskeys, and the great new whiskies from Taiwan.
Smart WhiskyFesters took the opportunity to get some in-depth whisky education at a variety of seminars presented through the night. There were talks about bonded whiskeys, whisky and oyster pairings, whisky and beer pairings, whisky blending, and tastings from various points during the whiskey-making process, all presented by experts from various distilleries.
What else? Why, the fantastic buffet presented by the Hyatt Regency, with hand-carved beef, salmon, an array of Asian and Mediterranean dishes, plentiful vegetarian options, and the always-popular desserts at the end of the night. There were also WhiskyFest totebags, our newest WhiskyFest merchandise (including playing cards, water bottles, and a great hooded sweatshirt), and mini-flasks, glasses, and other cool stuff handed out by some exhibitors.
For more WhiskyFest Chicago 2014 photos, click here!
Check out the new WhiskyFest merchandise we’re bringing to Chicago! There’s an aluminum water bottle (suitable for branch water, or the essence of your favorite Highland tarn), a mouse pad, our own WhiskyFest flask for filling with whisky, our sharp new WhiskyFest playing cards…and the new WhiskyFest hoodie, which notes how we make New York, San Francisco, and Chicago the WORLD WHISKY CAPITAL …for a day.
Get some WhiskyFest fun to take home, to remember, and to taunt your friends who didn’t go. We’ll have it all at the Whisky Advocate table — along with the usual books, glasses, shirts, caps, towels, and such, all at special event pricing — at WhiskyFest Chicago in just a couple weeks!
If you’re counting the days till WhiskyFest Chicago (April 25th is coming up soon!), here’s something you can do to pass the time more profitably. We have the program available online right here, in PDF format so that you can easily download it, read it, look at it on your smartphone while you’re waiting for a train (we know you will…), or print it out in oversized format and draw all over it with different-colored markers as you plan how to make the most of your evening.
Your plans will, of course, collapse right about the time you and your friends run into that first really amazing whisky or truly engaging personality behind the table (like one of the people listed below, who will be at Chicago’s event), but hey, planning’s fun too. Just remember: when the plan collapses, it’s not a problem. You’re at WhiskyFest, the World Whisky Capital (for a day); how bad can it be?
Whisky Personalities Who Will Be at Chicago WhiskyFest (a partial list, subject to change)
Craig Beam – Master Distiller, Heaven Hill Distilleries
Robert Birnecker – Founder, Koval
David Blackmore – Global Brand Ambassador, Glenmorangie & Ardbeg
Simon Brooking – Master Ambassador, Laphroaig
Ryan and Garrett Burchett, Master Distillers, Mississippi River Distilling
Ian Chang – Master Blender, Kavalan
Kent Fleishmann – Dry Fly Distilling
Chris Fletcher – Assistant Master Distiller, Jack Daniel Distillery
Stuart Hendry, Brand Heritage Manager, Glengoyne Distillery
Paul Hletko – Founder/Distiller, Few Spirits
David King – President, Anchor Distilling
Don Livermore – Master Blender, J.P. Wiser’s
Jamie MacKenzie – Morrison Bowmore Distillers
Iain McCallum – Master of Malts, Morrison Bowmore Distillers
Johnnie Mundell – Single Malt Specialist, Morrison Bowmore Distillers
Fred Noe – Master Distiller, Jim Beam
Kevin O’Gorman – Master of Maturation, Midleton Distillery
David Perkins – Proprietor, High West Distillery
Ken Pierce- Director of Distilling, 1792 Distillery
Steph Ridgway – National Brand Ambassador, Highland Park
Eddie Russell – Associate Distiller, Wild Turkey
Jimmy Russell – Master Distiller, Wild Turkey
Gerry Tosh – Global Brand Manager, Highland Park
Dan Tullio – Master Ambassador, Canadian Club
Alistair Walker – Regional Sales Director, BenRiach, GlenDronach, GlenGlassaugh
Julian and Preston Van Winkle – Old Rip Van Winkle
Wanlun Wu – Whisky RD and Global Business Development, Kavalan
Hey! Want to get a head start on your planning for Chicago WhiskyFest? We’ve got a pre-festival list of all the whiskies that are making their first appearance at Chicago WhiskyFest. Start mapping your route, and check off the beauties you plan to sample. It’s getting closer!
We’ll roll these VIP Hour-only pours first…
Aberlour 12 yr. Non Chill-Filtered, 18 yr.
anCnoc Peter Arkle 4th Edition, 22 yr.
Auchentoshan Virgin Oak
The Balvenie 15 yr. Single Barrel, 21 yr. Single Barrel
BenRiach Authenticus 25 yr.
Blue Hanger 7th Edition
Bowmore 23 yr. Port
Chieftain’s Glentauchers 21 yr., Littlemill 21 yr.
Compass Box The General
Dalwhinnie Distillers Edition
Elijah Craig 23 yr.
Few Spirits Single Malt
Four Roses 2014 Limited Edition Single Barrel
Glen Garioch Virgin Oak
Glen Grant 5 Decades
Glenfiddich 19 Age of Discovery
The Glenrothes 1995
High West A Midwinters Night Dram
Highland Park Freya
Jefferson’s Ocean Bourbon
Kilbeggan 18 yr.
Koval Charred Barrel Wheat whiskey
Michters US1 10 yr. Single Barrel Bourbon
Mississippi River Distilling Six Shooter Smoke
Redbreast 21 yr.
Redemption Rye Barrel Proof
Tullibardine 25 yr.
And now, new to Chicago in the Grand Tasting:
Anchor Distilling Single Malt Straight Rye, Hophead Vodka
Arran 12 yr. Cask Strength
Auchentoshan American Oak
BenRiach Septendecim Peated 17 yr., Horizons 12 yr. Triple Distilled
The Black Grouse
Bowmore Small Batch, 15 yr. Darkest, Dorus Mor
Bruichladdich Scottish Barley, The Botanist (Islay-sourced gin)
Cedar Ridge Bourbon, Wheat Whiskey, Single Malt
Clyde May’s Alabama Style Whiskey
Crown Royal XO
Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof
Evan Williams Single Barrel 2004 Vintage
Filibuster Bourbon, Rye
George Dickel NO. 1
Glen Garioch 12 yr., Founder’s Reserve, Vintage 1994
Glen Grant 10 yr., 16 yr., The Major’s Reserve
GlenDronach 15 yr. Tawny Port Finish, Cask Strength Batch 2
GlenGlassaugh Evolution, Revival
Glengoyne Highland Malt 12 yr., 15 yr., 18 yr., 21 yr.
Glenmorangie Extremely Rare 18 yr., Signet, Quarter Century 25 yr.
The Glenrothes Alba Reserve, 2001, 1998
High West American Prairie Reserve Bourbon
Irishman Founders, Single Malt, 12 yr.
Isle of Skye 8 yr.
Jack Daniel’s Rested Rye, Sinatra Select
Jim Beam Single Barrel
Kavalan Concertmaster, Vinho Barrique, Conductor
Kilchoman Machir Bay 2013, 2007 Vintage
Koval Limited Edition Cask Strength
Long Island Spirits Bull Moose 3 Barrel Rye, Rough Rider Straight Bourbon, Pine Barrens American Single Malt
Longmorn 16 yr.
Mississippi River Distilling Cody Road Bourbon, Cody Road Rye, Queen Bee Honey
New Holland Bill’s Michigan Wheat, Hatter Royale, Cask and Smoke Small Batch, Walleye Rye Small Batch
Nikka Whisky Pure Malt 17 yr., Pure Malt 21 yr.
Oban Distillers Edition
Old Pulteney Navigator
Port Charlotte Scottish Barley
Redemption White Rye, High Rye Bourbon
Scapa 16 yr.
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Tamdhu 10 yr.
Tap Whisky Tap Rye Port Finished
Triple Crown North American Blend
Tullibardine Sovereign, Cuvee 225 Sauternes, Cuvee 228 Burgundy, Cuvee 500 Sherry, 20 yr.
Usquaebach Old Rare Flagon, 15 yr., Reserve
Western Spirits Bird Dog, Lexington Bourbon, Calumet Bourbon, Sam Houston American Straight Whiskey
Westland American Single Malt
Woodford Reserve Masters Collection
“Discover the Original Irish Whiskey” is the title of Midleton’s seminar about single pot still whiskey, “the quintessential style of Irish Whiskey.” Their master of maturation, Kevin O’Gorman, will lead you through a Redbreast tour de force, including Redbreast 12, 15 and the newly launched Redbreast 21 year old.
Bowmore encourages you to “Sea the Difference” by tasting shellfish and whisky together. The “gentle men of Bowmore,” master of malts Iain McCallum and Johnnie Mundell (“master of naught”) partner with the Pearl Tavern to bring you “the Bowmore Oyster Luge.” Fun, oysters, and some newly release Bowmores.
And that wraps up the seminar list for Chicago (see them all here). Coming soon: new whiskies and new exhibitors you’ll see there!
It’s getting closer all the time…
Here are three more of the seminars we’ll be offering in Chicago.
Glenmorangie De-constructed is the topic for brand ambassadors Dan Crowell and David Blackmore. Taste the sherry, port, and sauternes wines that season the casks that influence the Extra Matured Range (and taste the whiskies, too, of course).
Like craft distillers? High West’s David Perkins presents An Organoleptic Journey to illustrate whiskey regulations, cut points, yeast, and distilling mistakes…by taste. It’s a peek inside the back room at a small distillery; smell it, taste it, and learn.
Only in Chicago! Highland Park’s Steph Ridgway teams up with Goose Island’s Russell Woelfel for perfectly paired nips and sips of whisky and beer in a presentation they call A Tale of Two Islands…Orkney and Goose.
Wine, beer, whisky, and plenty of insider information at WhiskyFest Chicago!
Last week we told you about two of the seminars we’ll be presenting at WhiskyFest Chicago; here are two more!
J.P. Wiser’s master blender Don Livermore brings the history and craft behind the Canadian whisky renaissance, presenting “A Legacy of Canadian Blending.” He’ll show you how whisky blending’s done — Canadian style! — and then lead you through blending your very own expression of J.P. Wiser’s Canadian whisky. A unique hands-on experience of what goes on behind the blending process.
Jack Daniel Distillery brings Chris Fletcher, their new assistant master distiller to talk and taste Jack Daniel’s bottlings like Sinatra Select and the limited edition Rested Rye. It’s a presentation called “Exploring New Whiskeys from Jack Daniel’s,” and we can’t guarantee what else he might just show up with; that’s the fun of WhiskyFest!
Hands-on blending and new Jack Daniel’s whiskeys: plenty to look forward to at WhiskyFest Chicago!
Anchor Distilling president David King will be talking about his company’s portfolio of own-make whiskeys and imports, justly bragging that it’s “The Most Interesting Whisk(e)y Portfolio in the World.” He’ll make his case with six unusual whiskies.
Heaven Hill’s Bernie Lubbers will encourage you to “Stay Bonded,” as he talks about a special 100 proof interest of his: bottled in bond whiskeys, and particularly, Heaven Hill’s little-known bonded range.
Variety and high-proof passion: your first two WhiskyFest Chicago seminars!