Recent Posts

WhiskyFest Tickets? For ME? Oh, you’re the BEST!

December 12th, 2014

Golden giftieWhether you approach the holidays with a “Ho! Ho! Ho!” or a “Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel,” or simply a loving heart, there’s one thing that’s always true:

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!

  1. You never have to stand in line to buy them!
  2. One size really does fit all!
  3. You don’t even have to leave the house, just order online and print!
  4. You can hide them almost anywhere!
  5. You won’t look weird if you get one for yourself as well!
  6. It’s the only way to fit 350-plus whiskies into an envelope!
  7. They do not add to Holiday Weight Gain!
  8. What other gift comes with its own gourmet buffet?!
  9. We give you more gifts once you get there!
  10. 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 2014: Grand Success!

December 2nd, 2014


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!

whiskyfest_2014-1991The 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.

whiskyfest_2014-1357The 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!

Get the New WhiskyFest App!

October 21st, 2014


Put WhiskyFest New York in your pocket with the new WhiskyFest app!

  • Every whisky listed, with any and all last-minute additions

  • Every exhibitor mapped

  • Every seminar detailed

  • Every speaker introduced

  • 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

  • Save your notes for future reference

  • Map the best ballroom route from Islay to Kentucky using the interactive map

 All in the palm of your hand!

WhiskyFest, the first and best whisky festival, is introducing the new WhiskyFest app at WhiskyFest New York. Download it ahead of time at the Apple App Store or the Android Play Store: click here, or search on “WHISKYFEST”, or scan the QR code above, or just tap on the image. It’s completely free, no ads, and no additional purchases needed. 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, and then see how to get there from where you are.

If you post to social media, you won’t have to do it twice: just post to the “Live Comment” feed, and select the option to copy to Facebook or Twitter (or both), and your words are out there (use the hashtag #wfny ); 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?’ just consider this: the program had to be printed weeks in advance. Since then we’ve added new whiskies to the list and had a seminar presenter replaced (by another presenter from the same distillery, no worries!). It’s all on the app already! We can make changes in the app right up to the day before, and you’ll have the latest information, on your phone. Got questions about how to use the app? You can check the FAQ in the app, which includes a link to contact tech support. Or you can send an email directly to support at

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 WhiskyFest New York is known for. 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 with Willie Tait, or check the seminar schedule to try some very exclusive whiskies…we’ve got the app for you. WhiskyFest!

Final NY Seminar Descriptions and Program Available — Let the Planning Begin!

October 13th, 2014

As WhiskyFest New York comes closer and closer (October 29th is not far away!), we have the last three seminar descriptions for you. You now have all twelve available; time to start thinking about which ones you’ll take in!

WhiskyFest Speaker Rick Edwards

Rick Edwards — The Glenlivet

First, Rick Edwards, brand ambassador for The Glenlivet, will explain the huge effect that different casks and aging times have on whisky. It can’t be understated, and that’s why the seminar is called “Wood Makes The Whisky.”


David Blackmore — Glenmorangie

The Glenmorangie seminar is also about wood, but on their pioneering work in wood finishing. Master brand ambassador David Blackmore will be tasting the seminar participants on the wood-finished Glenmorangie Extra Matured range alongside samples of the iconic wines that influence each whisky. (This points up the value of taking a break to attend a seminar: there are often whiskies (and wines, apparently) that you just won’t get to taste in the main hall, even during the VIP session.)


David Perkins — High West

High West proprietor David Perkins will be bringing it weird on an “Organoleptic Journey,” an experiential seminar featuring tastings of multiple whiskey distillates to better understand TTB whiskey regulations, whiskey styles, cut points, yeast, mistakes, and one of our weaknesses: whiskey and chocolate. This is a rare chance to taste distillate from different points in the distilling process; you can do that at a distillery, maybe…but you can do it at WhiskyFest!

Finally, the full text of the WhiskyFest New York program is now available online in PDF form. You can easily download it, read it, look at it on your phone while you’re waiting for a train (you 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.

Jimmy Russell, Mr. WhiskyFest

Jimmy Russell, Mr. WhiskyFest

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 this guy, to the right — 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?

WhiskyFest San Francisco 2014!

October 10th, 2014

_DSC2195 Hey, San Francisco, thanks for a great time! We’re back from WhiskyFest San Francisco, held last Friday, October 3 at the Marriott Marquis, and it was a great success, even by WhiskyFest standards. What does that mean? Well, it was sold out, every exhibitor booth was filled (all 88 of them!), almost every seminar was full (twelve of them, and they were spectacular). There was a line at the Van Winkle booth all night long, the food was better than ever, and the weather was warm and clear.

_DSC2117There were hundreds of whiskies pouring — of course! — and the usual gaggle of top whisky people: distillers, global brand ambassadors, writers and bloggers. There were cocktails (the barreled cocktails at the craft distillers’ tables were excellent!), there were top-notch beers, and some great other spirits: rums, tequilas, cognacs.

Best of all were the people, the guests, the attendees — you! We don’t know if we’ve ever seen a happier, more excited, or well-mannered crowd at a WhiskyFest. Here’s what some of you had to say on Twitter, using the #wfsf hashtag:

Lou Bustamente @thevillagedrunk — Some great stuff at #wfsf tonight, including a whole range of Irish whiskies, Highland Park Freya, & more

_DSC2289@MissPaaj — Seminar time! Making new friends & learning about uncommon whiskies at #wfsf hosted by @AnchorBrewing

@VentWhiskeyClub — Also at #WFSF enjoyed #wildturkey Diamond anniversary edition. Solid bourbon. 13-16 yr blend. Rich great flavor. I’ll be buying some.

Nice job, San Francisco; we’ll be back to see you next year!

Wood, Wheat, and Blind Irish: more NY seminars

September 30th, 2014

To help you decide which seminars to attend at WhiskyFest New York, we’re giving you a preview of them here in the blog. If you haven’t been to WhiskyFest before, or if you haven’t taken advantage of the seminars before, here’s the deal. You take about 50 minutes out of the hustle of the main tasting floor and sit down in a quieter, cooler room. Very knowledgeable people — master distillers, global brand ambassadors, master blenders — tell you about the in-depth secrets of their whiskies, and you taste with them, often whiskies that are not available in the main tasting, the VIP tasting, or maybe anywhere other than the distillery. Relaxed and informed, you head back to the tasting.

Here are three more choices for your informational interlude.

Johnnie Mundell

Johnnie Mundell — Morrison Bowmore

Johnnie Mundell will be presenting for Morrison Bowmore distillers. In this seminar, he’ll be sharing the huge influence the wood of the cask — different types of oak, from different parts of the world, seasoned in different ways — has on Scotch whisky. (This seminar description has been updated to reflect changes in staffing; the seminar topic is still subject to change, but you can count on Johnnie bringing something great to the table. We’ll be announcing the final topic at the event; stay tuned.)

Bernie Lubbers

Bernie Lubbers — Heaven Hill

Heaven Hill brand ambassador (and whiskey author) Bernie Lubbers will be talking about an underappreciated whiskey grain: wheat, in the form of wheated bourbon and wheat whiskey. He’ll be joined in this discussion by a few special guests, including the new 7 year old Bernheim wheat whiskey, this year’s Parker’s Heritage Collection 13 year old wheat whiskey, and a rare tasting of a Heaven Hill Select bottling of wheated bourbon finished in cognac barrels. Only in the seminar!

Gerry Graham -- Bushmills

Gerry Graham — Bushmills

If you’re up to the challenge of a blind tasting, Gerry Graham (national brand ambassador for Bushmills) will take you through the various styles of Irish whiskey, along with a discussion of how Irish is making its way onto cocktail menus. He’ll be very ably assisted by Whisky Advocate contributor Dave Broom and Jack McGarry, bar manager at cocktail-crazed New York nightspot The Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog.


New York: More Seminar Choices

September 23rd, 2014

To help you decide which seminars to attend at WhiskyFest New York, we’re giving you a preview of them here in the blog. That way, when you get to the show, and hear Lew Bryson’s dulcet tones announcing the next round of seminars, you’ll know just what to do and can save valuable sampling time by not having to check your program. At least…that’s the plan. Here are three more choices.


Don Livermore, Wiser's

Don Livermore, Wiser’s

J.P. Wiser’s master blender Don Livermore brings the history and craft behind the Canadian whisky renaissance. 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.


David King, Anchor

David King, Anchor

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…and he’s brought along a panel of whisky folks to help: Tadashi Sakuma, master blender, Nikka; Alistair Walker, regional sales director, BenRiach; Emerson Lamb, president, Westland; Ian Chang, blender, Kavalan.


Gardner Dunn, Suntory

Gardner Dunn, Suntory

The Art of Japanese whisky lives somewhere between the artisans and nature of Japan. The word “Hibiki” refers to the harmony between these two forces. Suntory brand ambassador Gardner Dunn will lead you through some of the component whiskies used to create the Hibiki line of blended whiskies, including the 12, 17, and 21 year old.

What Are YOU Going To Do at WhiskyFest New York?

September 18th, 2014

Remember: WhiskyFest New York is back to the one-day format. That means fewer tickets available, but it also means that everyone can go to the seminars, without any additional cost. Given that, it’s not too early to start thinking about which seminars you’ll want to take in this year. We’ll be telling you about them over the next few weeks, just a bit of additional information.


Steph Ridgway

Steph Ridgway, Highland Park

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. Very popular presentation at Chicago last Spring.


Brian Nation

Brian Nation, Midleton

Brian Nation, the master distiller at Midleton, will take you to the heart of theirportfolio and discover what makes these whiskeys unique: single pot still Irish whiskey, the power of raw barley, resurgent on the world whiskey stage. Even with the huge excitement over the rebirth of Irish whiskey, the return of this type from near death is phenomenal.


Georgie Bell

Georgie Bell, Mortlach

Mortlach has stepped up their single malt game, and you can learn all about it from Georgie Bell, the distillery’s luxury global malts ambassador. You’ll taste all three new expressions (which are not available in the grand tasting room).

Less than three weeks until San Francisco!

September 16th, 2014

Are you ready, San Francisco? This, our 8th annual event in San Francisco, is turning out to be our very best event yet.

The line up of outstanding speakers and the entertaining, yet educational, seminars they will be presenting is worth the price of admission. Add in the more than 350 whiskies, and WhiskyFest San Francisco becomes the place every whiskey lover wants to be.

What kind of seminars, you ask? How about a blind tasting of single malts, or a look into Single Pot Still Irish whiskey, or how wood influences flavor. Not enough? We can include a discussion about wheat whiskey, or a comparison of spirits from Orkney and Oaxica. We have Scotch malts that go beyond the standards, and a portfolio that will take you around the world. Or there’s the blind tasting of unusual and rare single malts, and a dynamic duo… we’ll let you figure out who. You’ll learn about harmony and whiskey styles and Brooklyn! See for yourself, and visit our seminar page for more details about the twelve (yes, twelve!) seminars and the whisky experts who will present them.

While deciding which seminars you want to attend, you may as well browse through the event program, too. The complete program, the same one you’ll receive when you register at WhiskyFest, is available now online, so take a look! We know you want to.

Can We Tease You, New York?

September 11th, 2014

If you’re still on the fence about WhiskyFest New York…let us push you over. If you’re thinking about whether it’s worth getting your geek on, whether there’s going to be anything interesting, well, the heart of it is what whiskies will be there, right? You know about the great food, the seminars, the whisky celebrities, the trinkets and goodies: but it’s not FoodFest, or IndustryFest, or KeychainAndGlassFest, it’s WhiskyFest.

So we’re just going to smack you between the eyes with some of the more interesting, new, and notable pours you’ll see next month at the Marriott Marquis on Broadway. These are the whiskies you may want to try before you buy, maybe ones you just want to see what all the fuss is about. And before you even think it…none of these are VIP pours. That wouldn’t be fair, because we’ve already sold out of VIP tickets. These are all whiskies you can try all night long, just like everyone else.

You ready? Check it out.

Are you in? We're in.

Are you in? We’re in.

Angel’s Envy Rye Caribbean Cask Finish

Blue Hanger 10th Edition

Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch

George Washington’s Rye Estate Edition

Glenglassaugh Torfa

Glenmorangie Extremely Rare 18 year old and Signet

Great King Street Glasgow Blend

Hakushu 18 yr. old

Highland Park Dark Origins

Kavalan Ex-Bourbon Cask

Nikka Coffey Grain

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2014

Parker’s Heritage Collection 2014 Wheat

Powers John’s Lane and Signature

Van Winkle 10, 12, 15, and 20 year old

Woodford Reserve Double Oaked


If that’s not enough…you can check out the whole list via the link up above (or just click here, we make it so easy). If this still doesn’t do it, we’ll be back soon with the full seminar line-up.

Come on, you know you want to go: what does it take with you people?! Here’s the ticket link; don’t wait any longer, or you’ll be on the outside, looking in…smelling the peat.