How to begin? I’d have to say that after going to a few single malt scotch tastings, and holding a few in my home, I was still not prepared for WhiskyLive LA. I could only compare it to the grandest of wine tastings. It was that large in scope, that impressive in range and that comprehensive in education.
Entering with the VIPs at 5 p.m. into a grand ballroom at the Hyatt Regency in Century City – yet to be filled with guests – we were followed by a female bagpiper and equipped with etched whisky tasting/nosing glasses and enough drink tickets to satisfy anyone’s palate. A large buffet ran the length of one wall that started with a salad bar, garlic fries, grilled asparagus, BBQ chicken and meatloaf sandwiches. A large spread of spreads included a creamy edamame that most raved about, as well as sundried tomato, eggplant and green olive tapenade.
Prices for the full bottles (if they had been for sale at the event) ranged from $30 to over $400. Distillers came from the usual places such as Scotland, Ireland and Kentucky, but also as close as Anaheim, California to parts further out: Colorado, Australia and India. If the palate grew tired of single pours of whisky, rum, vodka, bitters or single malts, a row of mixologists were busily muddling and shaking different whisky-themed libations. To round things off, a chocolatier had small cuts of his chocolates that were blended with mint julep and single malts.
I brought my husband Eddie with me, and as expected, the men doubled the women in attendance. No matter, as most of the whisky reps were uber-attractive ladies that evened the playing field.
My palate grew fatigued after nearly two non-stop hours, and, as I sat with my feet up reviewing my 30 some-odd photos and pages of notes, I sobered up while Eddie did another turn around the room. I was in whisky heaven.
Some of the standouts of the evening for us was chatting and tasting single malts with distiller Patrick Maguire from Australia Tasmanian Distillery Sullivan’s Cove, the couple from Colorado’s Brekenridge Distillery who shared a sipping bitters, a bourbon and very smooth vodka with us, checking out the local www.lascotchclub.com, having the 18-year old Lagavulin again, loving the depth in the whisky from India’s Amrut single malts, the opportunity to taste the older Glenlivets, St. George’s made right here in Alameda, discovering Usquaebach, Johnnie Walker (for the FIRST time!), a pumpkin spirit and Bernheim’s Wheat Whiskey…
Here is my story in photos. And, suffice it to say, if you see it here, I dug it in my glass.
From the website http://www.whiskylive.com/
Whisky Live is the international celebration of whisky, bringing all the whiskies of the world together under one roof. Whisky Live prides itself on bringing together the finest whiskies, great food and a range of education and entertainment to make learning about whisky both fun and stimulating. Whether you are a whisky enthusiast an uninitiated newcomer or just looking for a day out that offers you something different Whisky Live has something for everyone.
Whisky Live gives you the unique opportunity to sample the greatest whiskies in the world, whilst mingling with the producers and distillers, marketers and visitor centre staff, all under one roof. In addition to learning about the world of whisky, you will be able to sample rare and sought-after whiskies and meet the stars of the industry.
Each event has its own local flavour and provides the greatest insight into this greatest of spirits. With great food, masterclasses and much more, Whisky Live is a great day out and a memorable experience.