The Attendees: Big Bernie aka LimpD’s Dad or THE Whisk(e)y Ambassador, G-LO, Jay, Jerry, LimpD, Miracle Max, The Rick, The ROK, and The Wookie.
The Food: Primo’s Hoagies, Mrs. LimpD’s Meatball Sandwiches, G-LO’s Pepperoni and Provolone Stromboli, Mrs. ROK’s Lasagna, Philadelphia Pretzel Company’s Assorted Pretzel Tray (courtesy of The Wookie).
The Whiskies: Aberlour, Ardbeg , Ardmore, Arran, Auchentoshan, Balvenie, Bernheim, Bunnahabhain, Compass Box, Dalwhinnie, Dewars, Eagle Rare, Four Roses, George T Stagg, Glenkinchie, Glenlivet, Glenmorangie, Hibiki, Lagavulin, Macallan, Midleton, Port Charlotte, Sazerac, Springbank, Several Single Malt Whisky Society Bottlings, Suntory Yamazaki, Talisker, and probably several more that I forgot to mention.
The Post Mortem…
On a balmy Saturday evening, we gathered on The ROK’s patio to share and discuss an outstanding selection of our favorite whiskies. Although I don’t have a final bottle count, there were a minimum of 60 whiskies from around the world. The USA, Ireland, Scotland (Highlands, Lowlands, Speyside, Islay, etc.) , and Japan were all represented, and I personally sampled over a dozen of them.
The lion’s share of the whiskies belonged to LimpD and Miracle Max, and lucky for us, they were eager to share their respective bounties! LimpD decided to circumvent The Wookie’s border security and transported his collection via armored personnel carrier (aka a Toyota Highlander). Miracle Max decided that a bodyguard (aka Mrs. Miracle Max) would be necessary to transport his collection without incident. Although we were scheduled to begin at 8PM, some minor delays pushed our start time back a bit, but by 8:45PM, we were officially underway!
With 60+ whiskies on hand, the “where to begin?” question can be a challenge. Luckily, Miracle Max made this decision a no-brainer. Late last summer, Miracle Max mentioned the possibility of splitting a bottle of Port Charlotte Islay Whisky. Though I completely forgot about it, Miracle Max did not. Since I was now the proud owner of one half bottle, that’s exactly where I began. I generally prefer a bold whisky (LimpD refers to me as the Kingsford lover), and Port Charlotte definitely fell into that category. Although only 6 years old, this whisky is definitely a classic Islay, i.e. rich and smoky with a very long finish (a more detailed review will be posted as soon as possible). From there I moved on to Compass Box’s The Peat Monster, which definitely lived up to it’s name. This whisky is a blend that includes both Islay and Highland Single Malts.
Since we would probably be drinking well past midnight, I thought it wise to pace myself. The ROK was kind enough to supply us with countless bottles of spring water, and there was more than enough food to line our stomachs. After a short break, I picked up right where I left off.
Throughout the rest of the evening, I proceeded to taste the following whiskies (with appropriate water and food breaks in between of course): Compass Box Oak Cross and Asyla, Bernheim Original Wheat Whisky, Ardbeg 6, Eagle Rare 10 and 17, Murray McDavid’s Isle of Arran Bottling, Talisker Distiller’s Edition, a Scotch Malt Whisky Society Bottling (per LimpD, it was a Springbank), Midleton, and Glenkinchie.
Of the 12+ whiskies that I tasted, the following three peaked my interest and have made my “future acquisitions” list: Bernheim Original Wheat Whisky, Eagle Rare 17, and Compass Box’s The Peat Monster . The Bernheim Wheat was a completely new experience; a whiskey that combines the sweetness and richness of a traditional bourbon with the spiciness of a rye whiskey. The Eagle Rare 17 has all of the qualities that I enjoy in the Eagle Rare 10, but takes it to a whole new level. Though not as sweet as the 10, it definitely has a deeper and richer flavor combined with a long lasting finish. The Peat Monster is not only an award winning whisky, it is also quite affordable at about $60/bottle. Although this whisky is definitely smoky, it has just enough Highland Single Malts to make it accessible to those non-Kingsford lovers.
I wish I could remember some amusing anecdotes from the evening, because there was certainly a plethora of witty banter between pours and snacks. Below are some of the highlights that I can actually remember:
- Not only have I been labeled “a Kingsford lover” where Single Malt Whisky is concerned, I am supposedly a chronic neat freak (shocker!), and will clam up immediately when my idiotic behavior is publicly brought to my attention.
- The Rick and The Wookie dislike the films of Judd Apatow. The Rick is also tired of movies with excessive improvisation. He said something about the actor’s eyes dancing around when they spoke their lines, and that he found that very distracting.
- Miracle Max is not only a whisky aficionado, he is also mad about beer and highly recommends a road trip to the Grey Lodge Public House in the Mayfair section of Philadelphia. He is currently stockpiling numerous selections of both beer and whisky throughout his home. (Shhhh… don’t tell his wife!)
- Know matter how hard they tried, LimpD couldn’t resist yelling “Yahtzee!” and Miracle Max let out a bird call. I give them an A+ for effort since they managed to hold out till well past 11PM before violating the ban. Thankfully, no one brought a Vuvuzela!
- Having your father call to complain about your salary is a sure way to get fired by The Wookie.
- Although several mosquitos feasted on my arms throughout the evening, I can rest assured that they most likely died from alcohol poisoning.
- Not only did Jay score a very rare bottle of Ardbeg 6 from a guy who knows a guy that knows another guy, he has also traveled to Scotland on more than one occasion and been lucky enough to tour several distilleries. Bastard!
All in all, the 2nd Annual Whisky Fest was a complete success. Great food, great whisky, and great friends. What more could you ask for?