The focus is squarely on our favorite brown spirit and the products represented are predominantly whiskies. Brandy, Vodka, liquers and Rum make appearances but are in the extreme minority.
For us, it's a whisky wonderland.
Every one of these shows has its own personality and character. Some of that comes from the format, some from the attendees and a health chunk comes from the sponsors. People like John Hansel and Riannon Walsh work very hard to keep these three forces in alignment and aimed in the right direction.
WhiskyFest is very much an industy showcase. The major players and minor importers are on the same footing here. Everyone has the same space to work with, but that doesn't imply that the presentations are at all equal.
Mark and I trace the genesis of our whiskey adventures back to a science fiction convention in March of last year, but perhaps the biggest watershed for us was attending WhiskeyFest San Francisco in 2007. WhiskeyFest is an annual event hosted by Malt Advocate Magazine in
Father's Day is apon us again and what better time to get that special dad a bottle of something special. As a father of four myself, this guide for is a projection of what *I* want since there are no guidelines from a congressionally sponsored Government Institute Managing Mandatory Inferred Expression (GIMMIE?).
My first son was born in October of 1994 so this marks my 13th Father's Day. I thought that the perfect gift would be a bottle of whisk(e)y that is the same age as my fatherhood. The more I thought about this, the better I liked the idea. It has serious flaws for getting something affordable for my dad at 35 years but he doesn't like Scotch so I get off easy.
UPDATE: I've decided to catch up with the rest of the world and start using a 100 point scale. We probably will never rate anything below 30 points (because we're not planning on rating anything that doubles as an industrial floor cleaner) but the conversions to the old ratings will be easy enough.
- Bushmills Original - 50
- Jameson Original - 50
- Crown Royal - 50
- Crown Royal Special Reserve - 55
- Midleton 2007 - 85
- Bushmills 21 - 87
I think this works, considering I also placed Bushmills 1608 at an 88
The other night, Mike, Travis and I got together to do some serious tasting. Before we began we had four new bottles to open. We tasted Bushmills 10, Bushmills 21, Midleton 2007, The Balvenie Doublewood, and Scapa 14.
This is hard work. There are so many great flavors there to try and quantify, codify and categorize them is very difficult. But that is what we do and we try to do it well.
Boy, Bushmills is very busy this year. In addition to the release of Bushmills 1608, they're doing a Twin Cities poll with a drawing for a trip to Ireland:
When we had the opportunity to pour the Bushmills 1608 at our fund raiser we where thrilled on multiple levels. Not only did we get to share one of the finest Irish whiskeys with people who would truly appreciate it, but we were able to do so before the official Release. We only pulled it out for the very savvy or the very curious. Even with its limited exposure, and our lack of emphasis on its presence, the 1608 created a buzz of excitement every time we pulled it out.
Now that was fun!
The day was rainy and somewhat miserable, but this didn't dampen our spirits at all. We were prepared for an entertaining evening where we were part of the main draw.
Mike went down early to drop off the whiskey and to scope out the location while Mark was still working at his day job. There were many supplies that had still not ben acquired and they would have to come at the last minute like so much of this event.
My regular job requires me to travel from time to time. I find myself in Texas this week. Funny thing about Texas, they love Canadian whiskey.
When I spoke with John Hall at Forty Creek, he told us of his Small Batch Reserve. I managed to get a couple of bottles in from Toronto by way of Vancouver. He also told us that the only markets for this 6000 bottle run were Ontario and Texas. Since I'm here, I'm trying to get some.
Last night, I went to two different local liquor stores. Somehow I ended up in a dry city surrounded by dry cities and we barely made it before they stop selling at 9pm. I was surprised to see the extent to which Crown Royal is promoted here. They've got two 50ml bottles in a little purple baggie on huge endcap displays of 1.75L bottles. One place skipped the Special Reserve and only carried regular Crown, Cask No.16 and Crown Royal XR. I've also heard that Crown Royal outsells Jack Daniel's here.
There were a lot of firsts last night. Last night was the first time the CADHC had a Whiskey Bros. Whiskey Tasting at their event. This was also the first time we had done an event like this one and our first time out with the point cards. The first time I'd served whiskey in the same room with a camel was also the first time we had done a party at Long Branch Farms.
Best though, it was the first time many of our guests had tried the whiskeys we brought.
Mike spoke about our selection process for this suite, and I can honestly say that we were on the right track, but the audience was a bit of a surprise. We had assembled a list that was heavy on Bourbons and fairly common bottles, and adding in more Scotch as it became possible via donations. As it happens,this crowd was very much into the single malts. We had quite a few people that were interested in the high end stuff, more than I imagined.
Some had never tried premium single malts, others had some experience but wanted to learn more. Diageo provided us with a flavor map that helped us explain the regions and traditional flavors of Scotland better.
The days are ticking away and we're busily putting all the pieces in place for our first big event of the year. We've gotten some amazing donations that have ballooned the whiskey list from the originally intended 30 up to an incredible 50!
I'm thrilled to announce the arrival of Eagle Rare, Blanton's, Sazerac Rye, and Buffalo Trace from our friends at Buffalo Trace. This is a batch of bourbons that we wouldn't have been able to serve without their support. Skyy Spirits ensured that there would be no shortage of single malt variety with their donation. Malt Advocate has sent us a box of the first issue of 2008 to give away, and they have also helped getting me in touch with the right people to make this event possible. Diageo has promised to help as well, but Steve Beal has been ill, our best wishes go to him for a speedy recovery.
Back in November down at WhiskeyBros HQ, Mark and I were enjoying some old favorites and discussing what exactly belonged on the list of whiskey to bring to the upcoming tasting. It was an extremely interesting and elucidating discussion for both of us, in that it gave us an opportunity to discuss what our favorites were, and why, as well as trying to find the perfect mix to fit a western themed event. Another important factor we took in to account was the actual experience of our tasters; are these people who can tell a Highland Scotch from an Islay by the nose? Or are these people who have enjoyed the occasional Jack Daniel's or Johnny Walker when it was around, but haven't explored much? With all this in mind, and a budget besides, we set to work building and cutting a list of whiskey that would be accessible to novices while still providing something special for the aficionados.
It's amazing how much writing can pile up in a short time. Even more amazing is how much a little cut can affect one's ability to write. So this will be my attempt to catch up on everything that has happened in the last few days.
It seems that every serious exploration of Irish whiskeys travels through the Midleton Distillery in the form of Red Breast. Even a discussion of Bushmills Black eventually mentions it.
The Whiskey Bros. owes quite a bit to that particular spirit. It is one of the first to raise our sights beyond the myopic selections of basic liquor stores and big-box grocery chains.
Whiskey Bros. is pleased to announce our sponsorship of the Coastside Adult Day Health Center's (http://www.coastsideadultdayhealth.org) annual Texas Hold'em Tournament. We will be hosting a whiskey tasting event to benefit the CADHC, who will be using proceeds from this event to continue their work providing care for seniors.
WHEN: Thursday, January 31st, 5pm - 10pm
WHERE: Long Branch Saloon & Farms (Google Map)
TICKETS: Poker and Dinner: $100 buy-in with $75 rebuy. Dinner only: $25. Whiksey Tasting: $25 at the event. Includes shot glass and 20 point tasting card. See below for advance purchase details.
We're not just all talk here--we are getting out there and bringing the world of whiskey to you. The Whiskey Bros. will bring a selection of whiskeys tailored to your event for tasting by your guests. We supply everything you need to sample dozens of different whiskeys from around the world, including: Bourbon, Scotch, Whiskey and Rye!
Whether you prefer old single-malts or young blends, we have the selection for you.
Whiskey tasting is the perfect complement to a company party, barbecue, casino night, or dinner auction. We even sponsor charity benefits!
We can bring the whole whiskey tasting experience to your benefit. We believe that having multiple activities will help increase your turnout and your contributions. We're also very active in the community and donate private tastings to charity auctions and fundraisers.
Instead of just an open bar, we bring a full suite of high-end cocktails made from fresh ingredients and a selection of Whiskey from around the world. We work with the event coordinators at hotels to bring together food, drink and antertainment.