|Robin Robinson of Compass Box|
with The General
This was on most people I talked with's
Here are a blizzard of some of my impressions of the show associated with small pictures. If you click on one you can see them bigger.
Robin Robinson poured Compass Box The General. Butterscotch with intensity - particularly after a drop of water and a little time. Rich and strongly oaked. Floral, fruity, complex and long finished. This was on many people's lists to try to get a taste of and I heard it on many people's highlight lists.
|Chris Riesbeck is elegant pouring|
Gordon & MacPhail
|Emily Ross Johnson pours WT|
I usually see her running the
Astoria Whiskey Society.
|Part metal, part punk, and very Scottish.|
Chris Riesbeck, brand ambassador of Gordon & MacPhail, and a wonderful man, poured Glen Scotia sherry cask 21 yo and this year's stunning batch of Caol Ila Cask Strength. 'I could sell ten times what we get allocated' he states flatly. Sweet, grassy, honeyed, and intense with a beautifully rich clean peat hit. G&M's cask strength Caol Ila is lovely peat monster.
I was delighted to see Emily Ross Johnson - who I normally encounter as the cocktail brilliant person responsible for The Astoria Whiskey Society's amazingly fun tasting events and signature cocktails - behind the table pouring Wild Turkey and Russell's Reserve. Bernie Lubbers was delightful pouring Heaven Hill. I had a nice draw of Henry McKenna 10 yo Bottled in Bond. When you talk about bottled in bond whiskies with Bernie Lubbers he might show you his tattoo - which is utterly fabulous and makes his feelings about BIB bourbon abundantly clear. I also had a nip of the new batch of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof. This one is bottled at 66.6% abv. That's a good Satanic accident - and the flavors on this batch are richly redolent of cherry, leather and tobacco after a moment of air. Really lovely.
|Bernie Lubbers & H. McKenna 10 BIB|
|Lubber's BIB tat is definitive.|
|New batch spotted: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof at 66.6% abv.|
Satanic! Devilishly good, actually. Cherry candy
leather tobacco bomb. Maybe the best yet.
|Brandy Rounds and friend from Drydock liquors|
of Red Hook, Brooklyn.
|Daric Schlesselman of |
Van Brunt Stillhouse
|Van Brunt Stillhouse American Whiskey|
Oddly drinkable for a baby craft whiskey.
I had seen bottles of Van Brunt Stillhouse American Whiskey, Bourbon, and Malt Whiskey around Brooklyn and New York but hadn't had the opportunity to try them until tonight at WhiskyLive. They are young whiskies aged in small barrels from a new urban distillery. I wasn't expecting much - but I was pleasantly surprised - by the American Whiskey variety in particular. 40% malt, 40% wheat, 10% corn and 10% rye on the mash is totally unique. 6 months in a 10 gallon barrel. The nose is young and solventy, but the palate is big and soft with lots of apricot-peach stone fruit. Very easy to drink. I'll be looking more closely at this.
So was Mark Gillespie. He said hello at the Van Brunt table and then proceeded to do an interview with Daric Schlesselman, distiller, there on the spot. I love watching the WhiskyCast master at work:
|Mark Gillespie interviews Daric Schlesselman|
Like most recent shows I've been to, Chip Tate's Balcones dominated the American craft whisky scene with top pours of the night. This included astounding tastes of French Oak finished Texas Single Malt and the Redemption Cask finished Texas Single Malt. Rich, complex, and stunning. A great moment was when Dave Pickerell came by and the two big bearded bears embraced like brothers.
|Scott Goldenberg and Ari Susskind|
|Peter Silver and friend|
Raj Sabharwal of Purple Valley Imports was pouring Sullivan's Cove, Amrut, and the English Whisky Company. I enjoyed the new American Oak expression of Sullivan's Cove: sweet, honeyed, lacy, and complex. This is a rapidly rising Tasmanian whisky that has been hoovering up awards and attention lately. The curiosity about their offerings was high and Raj's table was busy. I ran into Rose Robinson pouring Glen Grant. She is beautiful and enthusiastic and the whisky was delicious as always. I can even forgive her for being Robin Robinson's little girl.
|Rose Robinson pour Glen Grant|
|Joe Hyman from Bonhams has a|
Jim Beam Cleopatra decanter from 1962
The adorable quiet pride on his face: priceless.
|That Cleopatra decanter's 1956-1962 BIB strip|
The undisputed highlight of the show (again) was Joe Hyman's Bonham's table. Joe was pouring dusties, as usual, and he had a bunch of beauties from 70's Cutty Sark, an 80's G&M Connoisseur's Choice Linkwood (honeyed, rich and beautiful at 15 yo), a stunning 6 year old Jim Beam 1956-1962 BIB in a beautiful and kitchy Cleopatra Amphora decanter. That old Jim Beam was butterscotchy-rich with lacy rye intensity. Delicious.
|Steve Zeller, "The Smoky Beast" and Allan Roth of Char No. 4|
appreciate the fantastic dusties at Joe Hyman's table.
|Hyman's Corby's Little Touch 1943: candy rye.|
|1942 Seagram's V.O. w/ Joe Hyman|
|Canadian tax strips show the date, plain: 1942|
|Dram of the night: Joe Hyman's nip of|
Hannisville Rye circa 1863.
|Sons of Liberty Hop Flavored Whiskey|
|Sons of Liberty Pumpkin Flavored Whiskey|
Steve Zeller had the fun idea of grabbing Chip Tate and introducing him to Joe Hyman, who he didn't know. They hit it off and it was a sight watching Chip enjoying Joe's dusties and them getting to know each other. One a master of the old; the other a master of the new.
|Matthew Spinozzi pours Bhutan 5|
|Susanna Skiver Barton pours Brenne|
I ran into Matthew Spinozzi, a fun guy I had shared a dram with the previous year when I was working the Gordon & MacPhail table. Now he returned the favor as he was working as a rep for K5 whisky from SpiritsofBhutan. It was much better tasting than I was expecting for a vatting of Scottish malt and Bhutanese grain spirits.
I finished my Whisky Live experience at the Brenne Whisky table where Allison Patel and Susanna Skiver Barton (blogger of http://whattastesgood.net/)were pouring the stunning barrel 268. Even after all those drams, the Brenne was still fruity and effusively tasty with tons of bubblegum and banana esters with apricot and white chocolate.
Regrets? By the time I hit the Four Roses table they had run out of the new 2014 Single Barrel Limited Edition. I'll be excited to try it next month when it hits. I also wanted to hit Simon Brooking's Laphraoig table for some 18 and 25. But my two attempts to assault the table were both repulsed by vast crowds. The mass appeal of Laphroaig is amazing. I also regret not getting a photo of Joe Gratkowski, blogger of http://www.whiskyjoe.com/
The really jaded folk groused that there were fewer truly extraordinary whiskies on offer this year. Whisky in general is a bit younger and the special stuff has become more and more expensive and harder to find being freely poured. But I found that balanced by effusive creativity in young whisky from the craft segment, and, almost single handedly by Joe Hyman - a walking whisky history lesson. Good venue, good people, lots of action. A really lovely night out.
Disclosure: I attended comped as press (a first for me at any show).