Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Whiskey Wednesday: WhiskyLive 2010
Last week was the second annual WhiskyLive Los Angeles, sponsored by the good folks at Whisky Magazine. This year, the festival moved from the Santa Monica Civic Center to the more centrally located (and much more posh) Beverly Wilshire Hotel. While it lacked some of the more casual atmosphere of last year's event, the whisky was good and there was a wide variety of it to be had.
Some special treats that were being offered included a 40 year old Tomatin and a nice range of unusual single malts from Duncan Taylor, including Auchroisk, Imperial and a peated Bunnahabhain. There was also a wide variety of American whiskey on display. At the Heaven Hill table, they were tasting several versions of the Parker's Heritage series of Bourbons, including the most recent wheated version which I found very impressive. Dave Pickerell was there with his WhistlePig Rye which I was glad to finally get to taste. And it was nice to see a whole table devoted to my favorite underrated whiskey, George Dickel.
As usual, apart from the tasting floor, there were masterclasses dedicated to specific distilleries. For the true whiskey geek, there was the class by High West's David Perkins (bottles pictured above). Perkins not only offered tastings of two of his newest whiskeys which aren't on the market yet, but ran a "virtual distillery," in which he provided samples from the various phases of distillation, including the heads, heart and tails, and explained how distillers make the all important cut that creates good whiskey. It was a fascinating experience and went far beyond the basic brand promotion that is the norm for most masterclasses.
Next up in the fall tasting lineup is the Scotch Malt Whisky Society's Extravaganza on November 18.