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!
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!
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.