Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

The Kentucky Bourbon Affair — a first year’s experience

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Author - Lew BrysonWe were invited to attend this year’s inaugural Kentucky Bourbon Affair, a set of events put together by the Kentucky Distillers Association (the KDA) and its members. As KDA president Eric Gregory explained it to me back a few months ago, it was something they’d tossed around as an idea, and they put it up to the individual distiller-members. The challenge: come up with an event that would give the guests a fun, inside look at some aspect of the bourbon business, of the making, the people, the places. The twist was that while everyone wanted to know what the other distillers were doing…but the KDA didn’t let that out till all the ideas were in. The result was a one-upsmanship competition that delivered a set of somewhat over-the-top experiences.

I missed the opening event, an evening gala that was to be held outdoors at Hermitage Farm, a gorgeous horse farm northeast of Louisville; that is, until heavy thunderstorms were predicted (and accurately, too; they were violent) and the decision was made to shift to the art-filled and whiskey-savvy 21C Museum Hotel. I also missed “The Golden Affair,” the black tie wind-up at the Pendennis Club. What an evening, with an array of bourbons (including “premium and rare” bottlings), a panel discussion with master distillers, the premiere of a new documentary (“Kentucky Bourbon Tales”), and a performance by renowned Irish tenor, Anthony Kearns.

Insiders at Bernheim

Insiders at Bernheim

Poor me: all I got to go to were five memorable events that took place on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (May 15-17). The fun started at Heaven Hill’s Bernheim distillery, where about ten of us (the lightest-attended event I would attend; the other times at Heaven Hill were sold out) started with a backdoor tour of this big, usually closed-to-the-public facility. We tasted mash, listened to the roar of the big beer stills, tasted new make right out of the spirit safe, and then boarded a van to the new Evan Williams Experience on Main Street.

After the impressively well-done multi-media program on the historical Evan Williams, we got a rare hands-on tour of the pot still-equipped microdistillery on the premises; one of the guests got to bung the day’s barrel of production (signed the bung, signed the log, pretty cool experience for him!). Then we sampled whiskeys in the speakeasy with brand ambassador Bernie Lubbers, and went up to the gift shop where the guests got a bottle of Heaven Hill’s “Select Stock,” an 8 year old wheated bourbon, finished in cognac casks (I took the opportunity to buy a bottle of Rittenhouse).

Bobby G mixing 'em up at Fred's Man Cave

Bobby G mixing ‘em up at Fred’s Man Cave

I had to run, and after picking up my car back at Bernheim, I drove down to Booker Noe’s house in Bardstown; I’d been there before, but I wasn’t quite sure what to expect today. What we got was a chance to hang around in what the DIY Network show “Man Caves” had made out of Booker’s garage: big leather chairs, fireplace (good thing, because it was chilly that week in Kentucky!), big TV, and of course, a full bar. Mixology legend Bobby “Bobby G” Gleason was making drinks, and after I braced myself with a Knob Creek Rye Manhattan, we had the main event, another show of the long-running Great Whisk(e)y Debate, talking about Scotch vs. Irish vs. Canadian vs. Bourbon. It was a lot of laughs and good whiskey, and at the end, there was a nifty cocktail-making set handed out to all the guests.

Not kidding at all: we shot skeet!

No bourbon involved…till later

After recovering overnight, I drove down to Lawrenceburg to the Wild Turkey distillery, where there were skeet-shooting traps set up right on the distillery grounds, and each of the guests got a chance to shoot some clays (after some excellent coaching, and before anyone had even the hint of a drink). I hadn’t touched a gun in over 20 years, and it all came right back to me; I had a blast! We went into the warehouses with Jimmy and Eddie Russell, rolled some barrels that were just arriving from the distillery, and sampled 101 and Russell’s Reserve in Warehouse A, the first warehouse on the grounds that dates back to the 1800s. Then we had lunch at the new Visitor Center, and Jimmy and Eddie answered any questions people had and signed bottles for the guests.

Creating cocktail mixes at the flavor lab - Science!

Creating cocktail mixes at the flavor lab – Science!

That evening I took in some craft distillery whiskeys at an event at Epicenter Distilling’s Moonshine University. This is where I noticed something pretty cool was happening. Not only did I get to taste some great whiskeys from the likes of Willett and Corsair and Old Pogue (and the bang-on accurate and fun taste of Limestone Branch’s Moon Pie Moonshine — I kid you not, it tasted just like Moon Pie!), I was running into people who’d been at the other events, and we were friends, we were bonded. I’ll tell you, you shoot skeet and drink bourbon in a warehouse with someone, and you’re catapulted into a certain level of friendship! (We also mixed up our own custom cocktail mix at the flavor lab next door; I made Dr. Lew’s Real Good Medicine, and it tastes pretty fair with a dose of rye.)

Stitzel-Weller: silent, and likely to stay that way.

Stitzel-Weller: silent, and likely to stay that way.

One more event was on my schedule — after an early breakfast with fellow writer Fred Minnick — a visit to the grounds of the Stitzel-Weller distillery, where the offices and grounds are being groomed and landscaped as a home for Bulleit whiskeys. Tom Bulleit was there to greet us, with a big bowl of punch that we were only too happy to partake of (at 9 a.m., hallelujah). The stillhouse is off-limits (I understand that there are problems with asbestos), but we did get to see the filling room, where the new make would flow from the distillery to be barreled. The workers had chalked up milestones on the wall — when the company was sold, when the last operational day was — and it was as if they had just walked away. In fact, we were allowed to nose a glass of “new” make that the folks from Diageo had discovered still in the pipes at the filling room when they started to do renovations last year. That’s what we were told, anyway, and it was a heady moment; pouring out a tiny bit of white dog and rubbing hands to release the still-fresh corny aroma. Stitzel-Weller juice! Diageo’s spruced up the offices, and while it was largely about Bulleit, there was one room dedicated to new product launches (currently done up in Orphan Barrel designs).

So…what did I come away with? First, this isn’t cheap; most events were at least $100. But that bought the kind of backdoor access and personal time that usually, to be honest, is the province of writers and media types. These few days, you could get in the same parts of Bourbonland that we do, and hang out with Jimmy, Eddie, Tom, and Fred. If they could give that kind of access to every bourbon drinker, I’m sure they would, but then it would be hard to make the whiskey! So this is a chance to get inside; as more than one person put it, a kind of fantasy baseball camp for bourbon.

If the Kentucky Bourbon Festival is wide-open and sometimes seems more about Bardstown than about bourbon, this is maybe the other way. This is bourbon for bourbon aficionados, people who want to get their hands into it, and, as I said earlier, maybe a bit over the top with it for some. I think there may be room for something in-between, but this does make a welcome addition.

As it stands now, this was an industry-controlled happening, not like the numerous “Beer Weeks” that have spread across the country recently. There were a relatively small number of events, pretty much ‘invitation only’ by arrangement with the KDA and the member distillers. It was also spread out very widely; from the western edge of Louisville well down into bourbon country, and loosely headquartered at the eastern Louisville Marriott, miles away from downtown. There was a lot of driving involved. I’m wondering what this could be if participation was opened to the growing number of bourbon-focused restaurants and bars in the area, with more effort to link the far-flung sites with a shuttle service.

But that’s for next year. This was the first year for the Kentucky Bourbon Affair, and it was a rollicking beginning. We’ll have to wait and see where it goes.

Spirit of Speyside Festival Review: 2014

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Author - Gavin SmithThe first Speyside Whisky Festival was staged in 1998, and from its low-key beginnings the event has blossomed into a five-day springtime extravaganza, celebrating all aspects of distilling in Scotland’s most productive whisky-making region. This year, visitors from 31 different countries participated in a remarkable total of some 370 events, as the Festival raised the curtain on Scotland’s designated ‘Whisky Month.’

Come in, walk around.

Come in, walk around.

Festivities commenced at the ‘Touch of Tartan’ opening dinner at Glen Grant distillery in Rothes, where, according to his billing, Charlie MacLean offered a touch of “Hollywood glamour,” as guest of honor, thanks to his role in the Angels’ Share movie, which is fast achieving almost mythic status. Indeed, given the opportunity to question MacLean about any aspects of his fascinating life and career at a later event in the Drouthy Cobbler bar in Elgin, one participant could only come up with “Did they give you a Winnebago during filming?”

Although Speyside is home to nearly half of Scotland’s malt distilleries, many of them are not usually open to the public, so one key attraction of the Festival is the opportunity for aficionados to see inside some which usually keep their doors firmly locked.

Of most interest to attendees was probably the chance to explore Diageo’s vast Roseisle plant near Elgin, while a manager’s tour of Auchroisk was also provided by the company. Chivas Brothers showcased its Glen Keith, Glenburgie and Tormore distilleries. Meanwhile, Tamdhu, which featured in last year’s festival for the first time, offered a one-day-only series of ‘VIP’ tours, conducted by distillery workers.

 Brian Robinson at Ballindalloch

Brian Robinson at Ballindalloch

As the rush to build new distilleries continues its momentum, one highlight of this year’s Festival was the chance to take a ‘hard hat’ tour of the partially completed Ballindalloch distillery, situated on the Ballindalloch Estate, close to Cragganmore.

This venture is fronted by ex-Glenfiddich chief guide Brian Robinson, and benefits from the technical input of Diageo veteran and former Talisker manager Charlie Smith. Funding is being provided by the Macpherson-Grant family who own the estate, and it is likely to be a minimum of eight years before a single malt is released. The style will be a relatively heavy Speyside, and the design embraces quite small stills and wash tubs rather than condensers. Distilling is projected to start in July.

While the festival organizers always try to be innovative – hence this year’s Tomintoul and Glenlivet whisky treasure hunt, scarecrow-watching and the chance to participate in the knitting of a giant cushion – straight up tutored tastings remain as popular as ever. Indeed, the same old faces can be seen year after year sampling their way through flights of whisky provided by the likes of independent bottlers Gordon & MacPhail, Berry Bros & Rudd and Adelphi.

These are in addition to numerous distillery-based tasting sessions and specialist tours, in which The Macallan, Aberlour, Glen Elgin, Glenfiddich , Cardhu, Benromach and Strathisla all participated. Glenfarclas also got in on the action with the launch of its first ever distillery-exclusive bottling. The single cask 1988 vintage release in question comprised 300 bottles, and with queues at the visitor centre door ahead of opening time, the bottling sold out in four days. Future exclusives are promised on the back of this success.

Glenlivet's sma' still

Glenlivet’s sma’ still

Additionally, The Glenlivet released a limited edition bottling by the name of Auchbreck, and the distillery hosted several events as usual during the Festival, including the opportunity to taste whisky being made in its unique outdoor ‘sma’ still, as would have been used by illicit distillers in days gone by. There was also the chance to visit the site of the original Glenlivet distillery in the company of Chivas Brothers’ distilling manager Alan Winchester, one of the very best people to talk to if you really want to know about Speyside and its whiskies.

The Speyside Sessions

The Spirit of Speyside Sessions

A new element to the Festival this year was ‘The Spirit of Speyside Sessions,’ a series of concerts and ceilidhs being staged in venues closely linked to the whisky industry. One such session was provided by Copper Dogs, who launched their debut album with a gig in the ruins of Balvenie Castle, close to Glenfiddich distillery.

The band recorded the album in Balvenie distillery’s floor maltings, and its line-up includes the Balvenie global ambassador Sam Simmons on guitar and vocals, William Grant’s new global ambassador for blends, Rob Allanson, on bass, Cat Spencer on lead vocals and Simon Roser on drums. The album, titled ‘The Balvenie Maltings Sessions,’ also features guest appearances from some familiar whisky figures including Dave Broom (vocals), Brian Kinsman (bagpipes), Neil Ridley (organ) and Nick Morgan (guitar).

The climax of the Festival came with the announcement of the winners of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival Whisky Awards, sponsored by Rothes coppersmiths Forsyths, and unique in that they are voted for by the public during a series of roving sampling sessions during the weekend. The winner of the 12-year-old and under category was Benriach 12-year-old Sherry Wood, while the title for malts aged 13 to 20 years went to Balvenie 15-year-old Single Cask. In the 21-year-old category Cardhu 21-year-old topped the poll, and the prize for distillery special editions went to the Tamdhu 10-year-old Limited Edition.

James Campbell, chairman of the Spirit of Speyside Festival says that “This years’ Festival has exceeded all of our expectations. This part of the world is known internationally for the warmth of its welcome and hospitality. We feel that we have now established a really good platform to build upon in future years and have already begun planning more great events for next year.”

WhiskyFest New York 2013: rare and wonderful whiskies

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

WhiskyFest New York 2013 is over and done, and it sure left some great memories behind. There were great whiskies, the top figures in the industry, and a lot of very happy whisky drinkers. Some of them were lucky — or smart — enough to taste some extra special drams.

Ask the average WhiskyFest New York attendee why they go, and you’ll get answers like, “To try new whiskies,” or “to compare a lot of different whiskies.” Ask the average Whisky Advocate Blog reader why they go…and you’ll likely get an answer more along the lines of “To try the stuff I can’t find at the store.” You can buy a VIP ticket to get some of the special ones, or you can buy a ticket to the Day of Seminars.

WhiskyFest_Grand_Tasting-8071This year’s VIP ticket got you the chance to try whiskies like Macallan 18 year old, Highland Park Loki, Glenrothes Vintage 1988, Taketsuru Pure Malt 21 year old, Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch #9, Glenfiddich Malt Master, Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve, Distiller’s Editions from Lagavulin and Oban, Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch, Aberlour a’bunadh, Glenlivet 21 year old, Danfield’s 10 and 21 year old, Angel’s Envy Cask Strength, George T. Stagg… Pre-fest planning is always a good idea, but plans often fell apart when folks saw the other great whiskies available; there were over 375 this time.

To get the really special stuff, the crazy rare stuff, you had to go to the Day of Seminars. The first two seminars were the kind of whisky amazement that just leaves you grinning, breathless, amazed. As we did last year, the first servings were rare whiskies. Dr. Nick Morgan of Diageo presented a Glenury Royal 23 year old, with a delightful short history of the demolished distillery. William Grant global ambassador Sam Simmons talked to us about a 23 year old Kininvie, distilled the very first day of operations at this rarely seen-as-single-malt distillery. Buffalo Trace head chemist Chris Fletcher led attendees on a tasting of the first bottling (done back in 2000) of Sazerac 18 year old rye. We wound up with a tasting of Stitzel-Weller bourbon — really, distilled in the final days of the distillery — and a comparison bottling of Bernheim, presented by Diageo’s Ewan Morgan.

For a break, attendees got to hear whiskey legend Jimmy Russell talking about his 59 years at Wild Turkey; some stories, some insights, and a few laughs. But even that came with a rare whiskey; a 12 year old, 49.5% bottling that was actually not the one he’d intended to sample! It was, naturally, a delicious bourbon; Jimmy Russell made it.WhiskyFest New York 2013 Seminar - 12 in all the World

The second seminar wasn’t just rare, it was unique. We called it “12 in all the world,” and it presented four whiskies, selected and bottled specially for this event; the only twelve bottles of them in existence. Gerry Tosh sampled us on a 1968 Highland Park, vatted from four American oak sherry casks. Ann Miller led us on a tasting of a 21 year old cask strength, single cask Aberlour. Malt Master David Stewart brought us Balvenie “Offspring,” a blended malt pulled from three casks laid down in the birth years of his three children! Finally, Dr. Bill Lumsden presented a 1973 Ardbeg, aged in a bourbon cask. Four amazing whiskies, which you simply could not taste anywhere else in the world.

It was hardly downhill from there. We tasted Bruichladdich Feis Ile 2013 with living legend Jim McEwan, and sampled whisky and fine chocolate with John Glaser (Compass Box), Richard Paterson (Dalmore), and Dr. Bill Lumsden again (Glenmorangie this time), along with Ryan Cheney of Raaka Chocolate, and famed chef Daniel Boulud. Then we had a four-Talisker lunch with Dave Broom and Dr. Nick Morgan, including a rare taste of Talisker unaged spirit, followed by a panel on whisky trends, including Blue Hanger, Taketsuru Pure Malt 21 year old, Anchor Hotaling’s, and a Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection bottling (extra-seasoned staves).

WhiskyFest New York 2013 Seminar - Whiskey Legend Parker BeamBefore we got to the final seminar of the day, the tasting of seven Whisky Advocate Award-winning whiskies led by the writers who’d chosen them, we had one more very special whiskey legend to honor. Heaven Hill master distiller emeritus Parker Beam came up, with his son, Craig, and joined Whisky Advocate publisher John Hansell on the stage. Parker, who has been diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, has been bravely doing everything he can to raise awareness and money for research for the disease. He didn’t say a word this day, and John could barely speak himself.

Fellow Kentucky icons Jim Rutledge, Jimmy Russell, and Fred Noe joined them on stage for a toast with Master Distillers’ Unity, a bourbon blended by Parker and his son Craig from whiskeys from all seven major Kentucky distillers. This was the only public tasting of the bourbon (the only other two bottles were auctioned for $8,500 at Bonhams the next day, with all proceeds going to ALS research). It was a deeply emotional moment as everyone drank a toast to Parker Beam and his legacy of good bourbon and personal courage.

It was two great days of whiskies. For those two days, it was the best place in the world for a whisky lover to be.

Your most memorable whisky story?

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

There’s more to drinking whisky than what’s in the bottle. Whisky is a very social thing. We drink with friends, visit distilleries, go out to bars and restaurants, go to whisky festivals, etc.

Indeed, whisky has helped create a lot of great memories along the way. Surely you have a fond whisky-related story that we might enjoy?

As you can imagine, after drinking whisky for 30 years and writing about it for 20 years, I have a lot of stories I could share with you. But for now, I’ll begin with this one, as it is the first one that popped into my head.

———————-

It was my first trip to Islay about 20 years ago  on a chilly November morning. I was by myself, and I had just taken the ferry (with my rental car) over from the mainland after a splendid weekend in Campbeltown.

It was lunchtime. I was thirsty for a pint of beer and hungry for food. I heard about the Lochside Inn in the town of Bowmore and their great whisky selection, so I wanted to check the place out.

Great whisky indeed! I perused the amazing selection of Islay whiskies while I drank my pint, contemplating what whisky I will enjoy before the day is over. Then, I sat down at one of the tables to grab a bite to eat.

Next to me, also alone at his table, was an older gentleman who appeared to be in his 70s. I noticed he was finishing a half pint of beer (and that he also had a walking cane on the empty seat next to him). I bought him a round and asked him to join me for lunch, which he did.

I can’t remember his name (I have it written down somewhere in my notes.) It turns out that he worked at the Caol Ila distillery for close to 50 years before he retired. He told me that, because of his bad leg, he can’t drive anymore. But, if I drove him to the distillery, he would give me a personal tour. Of course, I said “yes”!

So, we finished our lunch and drove over to the distillery. On the way he told me about Islay life and the Islay people. And he gave me a tour like you wouldn’t believe. Amazing stories–some that no PR company would ever want told in public. For example, it was the first time I learned about adding soap to the pot stills to keep the frothing down during distillation.

It turns out this clever old chap had an alterior motive for my taking him to the distillery. On our way out, he popped into the office quick to say goodbye (or so I thought). The receptionist behind the counter walked into the back room, brought out a bottle wrapped in a plain brown bag, and gave it to him. He quickly slid the bottle out of the bag, looked at it, and then slid it back into the bag.

During the ride back, he didn’t mention the bottle once. I figured that, as part of his retirement package, he was allowed  an occasional bottle of whisky. The problem is, he couldn’t drive anymore (and neither did his wife) to pick it up.  I was more than happy to oblige.

As I was dropping him off in Bowmore, he invited me to join him and his wife for dinner. Naturally, I said I would. Later that evening, the three of us had a wonderful dinner. And then he pulled out of the bag that same bottle he got at the distillery. It was the old distillery 12 year old bottling (prior to “Flora and Fauna” Caol Ila releases). He opened it up and we drank a dram together, to finish off the evening. Great whisky. Great day!

It was my first distillery tour on Islay, and it was the beginning of an amazing five days on the Island which was almost spiritual in nature. I will never forget the great whiskies I tasted along the way, the simple beauty of Islay, and the wonderful people living there. I have been back to Islay many times after that, but I will always remember my first day on Islay.

—————

So that’s my story. What’s yours? We could really get a nice thread going here. Think about a special whisky moment you have experienced, and please share it with us.

Where are you?

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Keeping things on the lighter side right before Christmas–and keeping in the social theme of the holidays–I thought it might be nice to know where we’re all from so we can get to know each other a little better.

 If you have a moment, let us know where you live. Tell us what you’re currently drinking, what the weather’s like, or anything else you feel like saying.

I’ll start. I’m living in Emmaus, PA. It’s a small publishing town near Allentown, about one hour north of Philadelphia.

I just spent two hours snow-blowing the 8 inches of snow off my 1,200 foot driveway (seemingly uphill in both directions!), so I am very thirsty. Beer first, then maybe a whisky later.

Oh, one more thing:  I’m glad you’re here!

Your clever whisky marketing campaign

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

You remember Bruichladdich’s quadrupel-distilled X-4 being used as race car fuel. Recently, there was the world’s largest whisky bottle, filled with Tomintoul whisky.

pic24464Back in early November I read about a geeky computer guy who made a PC out of a 1.5 liter Ballentine’s whisky bottle. (Picture on left.)

Now, we have the world’s first single malt menorah, filled with Tullibardine.

 

 

When it comes to whisky, there’s never a dull moment. And whisky marketing, whether just coincidental or fully intended, is getting more extreme.

What next, I wonder? How about a suggestion or two? Let’s help the whisky companies out by coming up with a few ideas of our own.

We’ve been getting a little too serious of late. Let’s have some fun. I know many of you out there have the intelligence, creativity and wit to do this.

Come on. Don’t be shy. Let’s hear them.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

It is Thanksgiving here in the U.S.. I really do have so much to be thankful for. This includes all of you who take time out of your busy schedule to join in here and participate.

I want to take time out of my Thanksgiving festivities to say that we have a good thing going here, and it’s because of you. Thank you!

Pairing whisky and cigars

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Tonight I’m going to Cigar Aficionado’s “Big Smoke.” It’s the cigar equivalent of a WhiskyFest. In fact, Big Smoke is held in the same room as WhiskyFest New York at the Marriott Marquis on Times Square in New York City. (We comp them a couple tickets to WhiskyFest and they do the same for us with the Big Smoke.)

I know that some of you would never even think of smoking a cigar, let alone smoking one while enjoying a whisky. But, for over 25 years, I have enjoyed an occasional cigar–and something good to drink with it.

Sometimes I’ll have rich, malty full-bodied beer to go with my cigar. Other times, I’ll have a nice vintage port wine. But many times I’ll enjoy a whisky with my cigar.

I don’t have a specific pairing, but I generally DON’T drink smoky whiskies with cigars, because cigars are already smoky. Rather, I look for something to complement my cigar–like a rich sherried Speysider or full-bodied bourbon.

For those of you who enjoy a cigar with your whisky (or whiskey), do you have a favorite pairing? If so, tell us what it is.

What’s your Thanksgiving Day whisk(e)y?

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

With Thanksgiving just one week away, have you thought about what you might be drinking during this food-festive holiday? Surely you can think of something special to follow the turkey dinner and pumpkin pie?

I’m leaning towards a really nice bourbon. I just haven’t figured out which one yet. I really like the new Evan Williams Single Barrel 2000 Release bourbon. That cork might be popped. And I’m still milking my bottle of Parker’s Heritage Collection Golden Anniversary bourbon. That’s definitely on my short list too. (I’m not driving anywhere, so I might just drink both of them! Or maybe even a third!)

How about you? Are you planning on drinking anything special? Or perhaps just your regular whiskey? (There’s nothing wrong with that, BTW.)

Two upcoming spirits auctions featuring rare whiskies

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

The first one is by Christie’s, in New York City, on November 14th. It includes the most recent Bowmore Trilogy (Black, White, and Gold), along with many rare whiskies from Park Avenue Liquor. The press release:

A LANDMARK EVENT FOR COLLECTORS OF FINE SPIRITS:
THE 1964 BOWMORE® TRILOGY TO BE OFFERED FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER IN THE UNITED STATES

CHRISTIE’S NOVEMBER 14 AUCTION OF FINE WINES AND SPIRITS IN NEW YORK TO FEATURE A CAREFULLY-CURATED SELECTION OF WHISKY, COGNAC, BOURBON, ARMAGNAC, RUM AND MORE

goldbowmoreNew York – With the winter season fast approaching, Christie’s is delighted to announce its November 14 sale of Fine Wines and Spirits, with a special selection of spirits that are sure to ward off the chill of cold days to come.  Over 40 lots of carefully-curated whisky, bourbon, cognac, armagnac, and rum will be offered from prominent sources, including the Park Avenue Liquor Shop, one of the most respected spirits retailers in the country. 

In addition, Christie’s is honored to have been selected as the first U.S. sales site to offer the exceedingly rare 1964 Bowmore® Trilogy (pictured above) direct from the Bowmore distillery in Scotland.  An exceptional selection of fine and rare wines rounds out the sale, with recent and mature vintages of Bordeaux and Burgundy in great supply, along with collector favorites from California, Italy, the Rhône Valley, and Champagne (separate press release available).  The total sale of wine and spirits includes over 800 lots and is expected to realize in excess of $2.1 million.

View our latest wine sale catalogues online here:
http://www.christies.com/departments/wine/wine-ecatalogues.aspx

 

The second one is by Bonhams in Edinburgh on November 18th. This one features a rare Dalmore Oculus (pictured), along with the 3,000 plus bottle collection by deceased whisky enthusiast Willard S. Folsom. Details from their press release:

BONHAMS SELLS ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST VALUABLE WHISKIES, THE DALMORE OCULUS, IN 18TH NOVEMBER WHISKY SALE
 
Bespoke bottling created to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of whisky auction sales
 

The Dalmore Oculus low resAs part of Bonhams Edinburgh’s highly-anticipated November 18th Whisky Sale, whisky enthusiasts will have the unique opportunity to purchase an exceptional one-of-a kind The Dalmore Oculus, amongst other distinguished whiskies.
 
This rare and unique Dalmore Oculus is one of the most precious whiskies to ever appear at auction. It is both the first and last of its kind, assembled from some of the most exceptional whiskies of the past 140 years and is thus estimated to sell for a staggering £15,000-20,000.
 
Due to its rarity and depth of stocks The Dalmore has long been recognised as a brilliant single malt. Jim Murray, whisky guru comments it is “one of the world’s greatest and undervalued distilleries”.
 
This particular unique expression of the Dalmore Oculus was created by master-distiller Richard Paterson, drawing on some four decades of experience. With his intimate knowledge of the stocks, Richard Paterson fused an incomparable and brilliant assemblage, beginning with a rich spicy and orange zest core from cask 1781 (distilled in 1951), trace elements of the taste and smell of dried fruits, ripe bananas, treacle toffee and almonds from an original fifty year old are added to develop complexity. Alongside these elements, rare malts selected from vintages distilled in 1868, 1878, 1922, 1926 and 1939 add a depth of flavour. Finally, to intensify the whisky, an incredibly intense oak, spice and bitter dark chocolate long matured distillate from cask 1782 is added to the mix alongside the whisky’s ‘capstone’: a judicious amount of the revered 64 year old, proffering notes of coffee, aromatic spices and citrus zest.
 
Such alchemistic artistry creates a peerless whisky fusion, which is beautifully presented in a precious Baccarat crystal decanter. This exceptionally crafted bespoke decanter is decorated with an intricate solid silver iconic stag standing alongside the name of this extraordinary whisky.
 
Richard Paterson, master distiller at The Dalmore said: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and The Dalmore Oculus is without doubt a truly exceptional expression. This is the most exquisite expression I have personally crafted with all the loving reference it so richly deserves to seduce the most discerning and sophisticated plates imaginable. I am confident it will appeal to epicureans, investors and collectors”.
 
Alongside the Dalmore Oculus, Bonhams will also be selling the first section of the largest single-owner collection of whisky ever to appear at auction. The 3,000-strong Willard S Folsom Collection of Old and Rare Single Malt Whiskies has been amassed over an 18-year period and features wide ranges of Ardbeg, Bowmore, Dalmore, Glenfiddich, Laphroaig, Springbank, Kinclaith, Killyloch, Ben Wyvis, Glen Grant, Glenmorangie, The Glenlivet, Strathmill, Mortlach and The Macallan.
 
Martin Green, Bonhams Whisky Specialist comments: “The 18th November Whisky sale is the most interesting to take place over a 20 year period and marks the 20th Anniversary of Whisky Auctions. The inclusion of the Dalmore Oculus is an exciting addition to this high quality sale. The Folsom Collection being sold in Edinburgh, Hong Kong and finally in New York in December makes this a very interesting and progressive year for Bonhams Whisky Sales”.
 
For Bonhams enquiries please call 0870 0273622

There are some pretty special whiskies in both collections.