Whisky. It’s…..ALIVE!! (and kicking “A” double scribble in Boston)

Shouted from the roof tops, for all to hear (hint: play the below clip):

And this is how I felt when I heard WhiskyLive was coming to Boston…  Me bursting with joy and excitement as Fredrick Frankenstein; my wife giving the same sort of confused look Peter Boyle’s monster character gave to Dr. Frankenstein in the above clip.

Comic and movie geeks are into Comic Con; Guitar players are hot for Guitar Shows; Quilters are into Paducah Quilt Show; we whisky geeks are into Whisky shows and I was particularly excited about first Annual WhiskyLive Boston because:

  • WhiskyLive tends to be a more open, relaxed and extremely manageable.
  • It was going to be in Boston – an easy 2 hour drive from my house.

So, did WhiskyLive deliver on its first year in Boston?  The simple answer is: yes.  But, why yes?

Firstly, as far as whisky shows go, this is one of the longest at 4.5 hours (if you get the VIP ticket, 3.5 hours for the standard ticket).  The extra time was particularly good for me as I was locked in traffic and didn’t get to the event until it was an hour and a half in.

My traffic woes aside, for those interested in attending some of the master classes, the extra time allows you to attend a couple of these classes without feeling like you’ve not had enough time on the tasting floor.  That is a good thing.

Being in Boston presented an added bonus: Sam Adams, being a Boston based brewery, had a “Bier Garten” at the show pouring some really interesting brews including their Utopias which is normally a $150/750ml bottle, bottled at 27%ABV!

As this was WhiskyLive’s first year in Boston, the show was, as expected, a bit smaller than their normal shows.  For me, that was just fine!  I like to have a chance to talk with the people behind the tables.  I’m there not just to taste whisky.  I’m there to learn.  Though the show (from a “number of tables” standpoint) was *slightly* smaller, this was a well attended show!  Lots of feet on the floor.  It’s quite obvious that Boston is a solid market for a good whisky festival and WhiskyLive seems to fit the bill quite nicely.

Let’s get to some of the whiskies that were new to me:

  • The Maltman Range – independently bottled whiskies, bottled at 46% ABV
  • Gordon & Macphail’s 21yo Mortlach (perhaps my favorite whisky of the evening)
  • Blackadder 15yo Blairfindy (this one gets the award for the oddest whisky.  Like drinking sausages but in a really, really good way)
  • Auchroisk 20yo
  • The Notch Single Malt from Nantucket (Hey, I heard a story about a guy from Nantucket once…)
  • Hudson 6yo Baby Bourbon (quite possibly the best American whiskey I had that night.  Scratch that, it *was* the best American Whiskey of the night.  Brilliant)
  • Balcones Texas Single Malt (odd, interesting and quite enjoyable)
  • Koval Dark Millet single grain whiskey (I love what these folks are doing with their various grain whiskies)

I did have more new whiskies that night but, in addition to all of my pictures getting wiped from my phone, I lost all of my notes from that evening (KHAAAAN!!!!)!

I need to point out something here.  Whisky aside, it was such a treat to have my friend and business partner, Jason Johnstone-Yellin, in town.  That crazy bugger flew up from Virginia to be at WhiskyLive (See??  We whisky geeks are CRAZY!).  I need to make some shout-outs, too:

  • The loveable genius clowns of Malt Impostor were in town for the show.  If you don’t know Malt Impostor, what’s wrong with you?!, I mean, you should!  Here’s a link.
  • There’s a gent I can not say enough about:  Bozkurt Bozzy Boz Karasu from www.bozzy.org *just* moved to Boston two days before WhiskyLive and was kind enough to lend his floor to Jason and I for the night.  Thank you Bozzy!  Hanging out was a ton of fun!  Thanks, too, for the great review of the Single Cask Nation 4yo Kilchoman bottling!
  • Fellow Connecticutian, Chris Reisbeck of Gordon & MacPhail.  It’s the first time we’ve met yet I feel we’ve known one another for at least… a week.  You’re a cool cat and I really enjoyed talking with you (and your Mortlach).
  • Ryan Maloney of Julio’s Liquors had a table and found, from somewhere, a bottle of the Loch and K(e)y bottling of a single barrel of Balvenie at the pour.  This is a bottling of legend, my friends.  A well chosen whisky that I only wish I had a bottle of!
  • Doug Stone of Forwhiskeylovers.com – yet another cool cat, I wish we had more time to talk!
  • Raj of Purple Valley Import – Congrats on winning the Icons of Whisky “Importer of the Year” award!!
  • Ewan Morgan.  I can not say enough about Ewan.  Here is a true whisky anorak, living the life as a Master of Whisky for Diageo.  He’s also cool as all hell and makes me laugh my “A” double scribble off.  I salute you good sir (and hope your finger is better.  If not, you can do some fine saluting yourself!).
  • Jeffery Connell – special thanks for the press pass and extending the discount to the readers of Jewmalt Whisky Reviews!
  • Gable Erenzo – I’ve said it in the past, you’re a charmer and fun as hell.  Plus, you and your dad know how to make whiskey!  Long live Hudson whiskey!  (Also, how can I get the other 52 gallons of 6yo Baby Boubon??)

All-in-all, I am quite happy I attended and super excited to have a show so close to me.

If you’ve not been to a whisky event before, I highly suggest a WhiskyLive event.  If you live in the Boston area (or within a few hours), I hope to see you there next year!  This time next year, I’ll be behind a table pouring Single Cask Nation whiskies!

Thanks again, Jeffery C!