New Whiskies List for Chicago

March 26th, 2014

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

Green Spot

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

Balblair 2001

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

2 Gingers

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

Riverboat Rye

Scapa 16 yr.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Tamdhu 10 yr.

Tap Whisky Tap Rye Port Finished

Temptation Bourbon

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

Oysters and Irish: Chicago seminars wrapped up

March 19th, 2014
You say 'oyster,' I say 'whisky!'

You say ‘oyster,’
I say ‘whisky!’

“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!

WhiskyFest Chicago is only six weeks away

March 13th, 2014
All smiles for WhiskyFest!

All smiles for WhiskyFest!

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!

More WhiskyFest Chicago seminars announced!

March 5th, 2014
WhiskyFest Chicago 2014: we'll drink to that!

WhiskyFest Chicago 2014: we’ll drink to that!

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!

Variety and high-proof passion: your first two WhiskyFest Chicago seminars!

February 26th, 2014

WhiskyFest Chicago’s seminars are shaping up, and we’ll be telling you about them as they finalize. Here are the first two.

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!

WhiskyFest Chicago Sells Out in Mere Hours!

November 26th, 2013

WhiskyFest Chicago is sold out.

Tickets went on sale yesterday, November 25, and people hit the Whisky Advocate website in unprecedented numbers (we set a site record for page visits and unique visitors in one day). VIP tickets sold out before noon, and by 4:00, every ticket for the April 25th event was sold. This event continues to be the quickest selling of the three; if you want tickets to WhiskyFest Chicago 2015, best be ready to jump next year.

Watch for more updates on the events. We’ll see you in April!

WhiskyFest Tickets on sale November 25!

November 18th, 2013

We’ve been teasing…

You’ve been asking…

It’s almost here…

WhiskyFest 2014 tickets go on sale on November 25!

Tickets for all three 2014 WhiskyFest events — Chicago, San Francisco, and New York — will be available for online purchase at 9:00 AM EST, with a limited time for early bird pricing.  Remember: WhiskyFest Chicago sold out in only a week last year!

The WhiskyFest dates for 2014 are as follows:

WhiskyFest Chicago: April 25

WhiskyFest San Francisco: October 3

WhiskyFest New York: October 29

To order your tickets, visit our web site on November 25.

For more information on the 2014 events, contact Joan McGinley, WhiskyFest Events manager, at

WhiskyFest™ New York returns to original format in 2014

October 30th, 2013

Whisky Advocate magazine’s WhiskyFest New York will take place in 2014 on Wednesday, October 29th, at the Marriott Marquis Times Square. The event will return to its original format: an evening grand tasting with seminars occurring simultaneously in adjacent breakout rooms. This original format will also continue at the WhiskyFests held in Chicago and San Francisco.

John Hansell, Whisky Advocate Editor and Publisher, explains:

We are taking a break from the more recent two-day program of grand tastings on two evenings and all-day seminars on the second day in New York City. Our primary reason for waiting is that we want the New York seminar day to be the best whisky event anywhere. To achieve this, we need to have substantial quantities of incredibly rare whiskies procured for an audience of several hundred whisky enthusiasts; this is extremely difficult to accomplish on an annual basis. Rather than hold an event that does not live up to the standards we have set, with whiskies that are not the best and rarest, we prefer to take a break in 2014 so we can properly plan our next seminar day and source the appropriate whiskies.

The WhiskyFest dates for 2014 have been established as follows:

           WhiskyFest Chicago:Friday, April 25

           WhiskyFest San Francisco: Friday, October 3

           WhiskyFest New York: Wednesday, October 29

Updated ticket and exhibitor information will be available in November. For more information on the 2014 events, contact Joan McGinley, WhiskyFest Events manager, at

WhiskyFest New York Delivers

October 22nd, 2013


We promised you a lot for WhiskyFest New York, right here on this blog, and now that it’s done, we’re here to let you know: we delivered!

We told you there would be over 300 whiskies at the grand tasting: over 375 were offered, by the master distillers, blenders, and global and WhiskyFest_01_wanted_dead_or_alive-8466national brand ambassadors! If that wasn’t enough, there were also whisky cocktails, a small selection of excellent beers and other spirits, and a ballroom full of fellow whisky fans.

We said there would be unique whiskies at the seminars, presented by some of the top names in the industry: you got 23 year old Kininvie, 21 year old Stitzel-Weller, cask strength 21 year old Aberlour, a 1968 Highland Park, 1973 Ardbeg, and a Balvenie blended malt. Top names? You heard David Stewart, Dr. Bill Lumsden, Richard Paterson, John Glaser, Ann Miller, and Tadashi Sakuma, and the Whisky Advocate writers, and you heard them ribbing each other, and revealing the deep knowledge they have of whisky and how it’s made.

WhiskyFest_04_jim_mcewan-8964If that wasn’t enough, we had some very personal moments with three whisky legends. Master Distiller Jimmy Russell told us how things were when he started in 1954, and shared an unreleased 12 year old Wild Turkey. Bruichladdich master distiller Jim McEwan shared some stories, and led the audience in a boisterous Highland toast with this year’s Feis Ile bottling. And we saw Heaven Hill master distiller emeritus Parker WhiskyFest_08_parker_beam-9541Beam and Whisky Advocate publisher John Hansell struck speechless by emotion as Parker made what is likely his last WhiskyFest appearance, and led us in a toast with the unique Master Distillers’ Unity bourbon.

Seminar ticket holders were told they would taste seven Whisky Advocate Award-winning whiskies; you not only got to sample our top American, Irish, Lowland, Highland, Islay, Canadian, and craft whiskies, they were presented by the Whisky Advocate writers who chose them, with insight on why those whiskies won.

We promised you lunch with the seminars, and you got it, along with four Taliskers (including the 25 year old and the new Storm), with a rare bonus: Talisker new make. Then Dave Broom and Dr. Nick Morgan explained what makes Talisker unique, and why it can’t really be made anywhere else, a terroir tour de force. (Even if you couldn’t make the seminars, attendees of the grand evening tastings got a fantastic open buffet with something to suit every appetite.)WhiskyFest_Grand_Tasting-8260

There are other whisky events out there; you could spend your money on them and go to them all. But they aren’t like WhiskyFest New York. We promise you the world of whisky…and we deliver!

Get to WhiskyFest New York, and UBER Will Get You Safely Home!

October 8th, 2013

If you’re going to WhiskyFest New York, and you need a ride back to your apartment or your hotel room, have we got a deal for you! Uber, the taxi app, will offer new users $25 off their first ride by using the code WhiskyFestNYC (this deal excludes UberTAXI).

Just download the Uber app for the iPhone or Android, or text the code to 827-222.

(If you’re not familiar with Uber, it’s an app that connects riders and professional drivers, a high-tech, cashless alternative to traditional taxi services.)