On February 25th, 9:48pm. G-LO and Aaron text each other:
G-LO: Someone must be having fun. Or she was abducted by Scotsmen!
AK: Fell into a big spit jug somewhere? Partying at St Patrick’s? *
If G-LO was a betting man, he would have won. I WAS having a lot of fun and sadly saying my goodbyes after a great night at Whisky Live in New York City. The event came early this year (it usually takes place in early April). Maybe the organizers follow the Lunar Calendar to pick a date. Have you noticed that there are already Peeps® and Matzoh on the grocery store shelves?
I’m pretty new to these types of events, so I asked Susannah SB if she’d like to go with me. Susannah is a beer/wine/spirits writer who is extremely knowledgable on whisky (she has an excellent blog called What Tastes Good), and whenever I see her, I always regret that I don’t spend more time with her. I knew I’d be in good hands with her guiding me around the tables and at the ready to answer any questions I had. She was all that and SO MUCH fun!
I arrived to the venue at Chelsea Piers during the VIP hour and the place was already packed. We met at the Brenne table as we are both big fans of that whisky and its founder, Allison Patel. And look what news Brenne had to share!!! Brenne Ten – a limited release coming out this Fall which has already won 2nd Best Single Malt in the World and Best Single Malt – European Category in the Wizards of Whisky Awards 2015! Allison was clearly overjoyed over her forthcoming release…
“I couldn’t be more excited and proud to announce the pending release of my second expression and first age-statement of the line due out in the USA this Fall; Brenne Ten. This incredibly limited ten year old whisky is a combination of four barrels I’ve selected that deliver a much deeper, richer Brenne experience. It’s amazing how a couple extra years in oak and a slightly higher proof have enhanced this most unique Single Malt.”
One taste and I could understand why she was so excited. WOW! The evening was starting on a high note!
With over 300 expressions of whisky being poured at this event, it was clear that Susannah and I needed a Dram Plan. I showed her the suggestions that Aaron had sent me earlier in the day:
Go to Redbreast to try the 21 – they’ll have it there. Connemara peated, Compass Box. Curious on what Forty Creek will have there. We only have Barrel Reserve in California. Gordon MacPhail!, try a Scapa. Talisker! Yamazaki! Ardbeg! Lagavulin! Laphroaig!
Susannah loved his suggestions and we both agreed that we also wanted to try Monkey 47, a gin we had both heard about. We happily made our way to that booth and to tastings at Armorik, Forty Creek, Smooth Ambler, High West, Benromach, Mortlach, Compass Box and Ardbeg with a break for food in between. Drams were drank, laughs were plentiful, and we thankfully dodged some creepy characters (You didn’t know LimpD came to Whisky Live, did ya G-LO? I tease of course!).
I’m not the type to do a blow by blow of the evening (I’ll leave the rambling posts to Aaron and G-LO) but to sum up such an evening seems an impossible task. Enter Susannah (SSB below) to save the day with her top five moments:
- Moment #1
- SSB: The super special secret Brenne Ten that I had. SO. GOOD. and is going to just blow people away when it’s released this Fall.
- ME: Agreed! What a total treat to get an early tasting!! Now I can’t wait until the Fall when I can buy a bottle of it!
- Moment #2
- SSB: The extended time we spent talking with John Foster at the Smooth Ambler table. I felt like the hectic atmosphere in the rest of the room slowed down during our conversation—maybe because John is a calm person, maybe because the whisky (especially Contradiction) was so good. And that rum! What a surprise.
- ME: So poetic (and true) that things slowed down and became more relaxed at Smooth Ambler table. John was very generous with his time and I’m so glad we got to try all of their delicious whiskies and the rum, THE RUM!
- Moment #3
- Moment #4
- SSB: Tasting Green and Yellow Spot and that incredible Redbreast 21 year old at the Pernod-Ricard Irish whiskies table. That Redbreast was probably the dram of the night for me—so complex and yet light, floral and sweet. An absolute stunner. Also, the cute young Irish guy I got to talk to—I could listen to his accent all night!
- ME: I couldn’t agree more. And here’s a picture of the cute Irish guy who entertained us for a while.
- Moment #5
- SSB: Seeing Steven Zeller aka Smoky Beast and Ari Susskind and having some Single Cask Nation and a super tasty Four Roses single barrel.
- ME: It was great to finally meet Steven, who I have heard so much about, and so nice of Ari to share his samples of Four Roses and the SCN Westland (Was it Westland? I hope so, because I bought a bottle the next day!)
SSB: Overall, I thought it was a great night because I wasn’t too worried about rushing around trying one thing after another. Instead, I got to chat with old and new friends and try several things (but not too many) with the best lady-date I could hope for.
ME: The night went by way too quickly. So much to try! So many people to meet! I was too busy having fun to take many pictures. But I did snag this one (and a dram of Uigeadail) at the Ardbeg table at the end of the night.