WhiskySCHOOL is in session. Please make your choices from the below courses offered to you.
The school? WhiskyLIVE NYC. The subjects? Whisky, whiskey and other brown spirits (also some new make spirit/white dog, vodkas, beers… you get the idea; booze).
WhiskyLIVE 101 – try to go with a friend or group of friends — CHECK!
I was blessed to have Stephen Mathis of Malt Impostor with me to pal around with and experience the festivities – Thanks for helping to make the night a blast, Stephen!
WhiskyLIVE 102 – Make sure you attend at least one Masterclass — CHECK!
Stephen and I joined in on The Glenlivet Masterclass with host and Global Brand Ambassador extraordinaire: Ricky Crawford (pictured right – please forgive the blurry picture)!
Ricky did a great job of taking us through The Glenlivet line (12yo, 15yo, Nadurra, 18yo, 21yo & 25yo; the Nadurra and 25yo shining like crazy diamonds!) as well as a history of The Glenlivet.
The Masterclass started at 6:30pm and there were drunken hecklers in the crowd. Seriously folks? You’re already drunk at 6:30? Children. To Ricky’s credit, he is a total pro and muscled through it all. This one run-in with the hecklers was the ONLY bad experience I had the entire evening.
WhiskyLIVE 103 – TALK with the brand ambassadors, listen to them, learn from them – you just might be able to taste some special, special stuff if they know you give actually care for, and are passionate about, whisk(e)y — CHECK!
One of the first stops made was at the Scott’s Selection/Speyside table. We met up with Brian Dvoret (who you might remember from this here post. Stephen, I had to steal you picture. Sorry & thanks!) and talked with him for a quite a bit. Brian was very excited about a new product he’s bringing into the US and was kind enough to share a sip of the Lark whiskies coming from Tasmania. Crazy stuff; very unusual and very good. A review of those whiskies three are forthcoming… Brian, thanks so much for the samples!
Then over to the High West table where I met David Perkins. David is someone I’ve been wanting to meet. High West has been churning out some fantastic ryes for a short while now and recently started distilling oats and malted barley. David gave us a taste of some of his single malt (both new make and 1yo, matured in ex-rye casks). Lovely, love stuff. Other winners at the table? Double Rye, High West Silver (made from oats – like drinking liquid marshmallows!) & 21yo Rye.
Another memorable stop was at the Purple Valley Imports table where they were toting some fine antique Glenglassaugh whiskies, newer Glenglassaugh “spirit drinks”, Amrut Indian whiskies, Still Waters Vodka and Blackadder Indy Bottlings – the two Blackadders I had were Tomatin & Caol Ila “Peat Reek”. Lovely stuff, lovely people. Jonathan Bray & Raj Sabharwal; two stand up, sweet guys.
On the opposite end of the room was the Tomatin table where I was greeted by Douglas Campbell who is Tomatin’s master distiller/brand ambassador and employee of Tomatin, now, for 50 years (shown right with yours truly). Douglas was kind enough to share some fine, soon-to-be-released whiskies; Tomatin 30yo and Tomatin “Decades”. “Decades” is a whisky constructed in honor of Douglas’ 50 years with Tomatin. It contains whiskies from five decades starting from the 60’s until the 2000’s.
Oh, and this was one not to forget at all!! I had a wonderfully surprising chance experience after talking with Ewan Morgan and Peter Zimmermann (both great guys and each a Diageo “Master of Whisky”)… a friend and whisky prophet, Joe H, showed up with his personal bottle of 60’s Laphroaig (distilled in the 50’s) and shared a sample with Stephen and I. Amazing shit!
The advanced courses:
WhiskyLIVE 201 – Eat food!! There’s a lot of whisky to try (over 150 different expressions), you best offset that with a crumb in your tum — CHECK!
While I didn’t see any kosher options (there may have been some), there was some solid food with vegetarian options for folks like yours truly. Gorgeous, delicious food. No complaints there.
WhiskyLIVE 202 – Try not to get overwhelmed with all there is to taste — CHECK!
With close to 200 different whiskies to taste, it could be a bit daunting as to what to taste. While I find WhiskyLIVE to be completely manageable it’s always good to go there with a bit of a plan of a attack so’s you don’t leave the event kicking yourself in the a$$ because you forgot to try this or that; talk with that or this person, etc…
WhiskyLIVE 301 – Take pictures! After a few whiskies you may not be drunk but you may not remember everything — CHECK!
Special thanks goes out to Jeff Connell and Dave Sweet!
To read the Malt Impostor’s take on WhiskyLIVE NYC, click here.