As with just about everything from March, I’m a little late on my coverage of the 2012 Atlanta Single Malt and Scotch Whisky Extravaganza. Hopefully no one was waiting on my feedback before pulling the trigger on tickets to an event in another city. In the spirit of full disclosure I will tell you that my tickets to this year’s event were complimentary. That being said, I’ve paid for my own in the past and I would continue to do so if necessary. This year’s event was held on Wednesday, March 28 th in the same room at the Intercontinental Hotels as it’s been held in recent years. This year I had the chance to partake in a couple of different experiences compared with years past.
I started the evening with an invitation to the Whisky Panel directly preceding the actual tasting. It was a space limited Q&A session with representatives from Diageo, Edrington, Beam Global, and the SMWS. I walked in and was immediately handed a glass of Macallan 18 Year Old. For all those planning events, dinners, tastings, and whisky related gatherings of any sort this is an exceptional start to the evening. 😉 I sipped Macallan with my buddy Sam as the four person panel answered questions from the audience. The questions ranged from benign to introspective. No amazing revelations were passed along (at least to me) but it was a nice opportunity to get the opinions of those working in the trade. It was also nice to sit down and ask questions instead of trying to squeeze them in among the masses at the main tasting.
From there we headed over to the main tasting event. Immediately I noticed fewer brands represented. Don’t get me wrong, there was still plenty to taste and it was worth every penny of your Whisk(e)y Apostle discounted ticket price. But for someone who has been several years running it was a noticeable reduction. The brands on display included Michael Collins, Dalmore, Highland Park, Macallan, Glenmorangie, Ardbeg, Glenrothes, Bowmore, Glen Garioch, Crown Royal, Classic Malts, Balvenie, Glenfiddich, Duncan Taylor, SMWS, Ardmore, and Laphroaig. To me Atlanta seems to be a growing whisky market. As such, I would’ve thought more brands would be pushing to represent at the main Atlanta whiskey event of the year. That’s just my opinion. I’m a little biased. Despite this, it was a well organized, fully attended, and enjoyable event. I was sad that Glemorangie Artein and Suntory Hakushu 12 year old weren’t available to taste yet but I healed those wounds with other tasty drams. The only other down side is that they went back to the one table dinner station instead of two smaller ones. As in years past this caused the expected traffic jams of those trying to get food in between drams. This is not a big thing. It’s just something that came to mind.
After the main tasting another new addition drew my attention. The Smoking Lounge was a cigar tobacco tasting hosted by the General Cigar Company. Ambassador Sharon Landry ran a great and informative tasting. We went through numerous wrappers with the same binder and filler, thus allowing us to isolate our personal favorites. This was a nice touch at the end of the evening and the SMWS Springbank bottling I drank during the tasting was fantastic. I hope this makes another appearance next year.
The 2012 Extravaganza was another great event. Fewer drams and food logistics were more than offset by additional activities and the general enjoyment of the event. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you have the chance to partake in one of their events it is highly recommended. Oh, and don’t forget your Whisk(e)y Apostle discount!
Drink wisely my friends,