Tag Archives: Single Malt Scotch Whiskey Extravaganza

Extravaganza 2012 Recap

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,

Richard

Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza – Spring 2012

Apparently, folks really enjoy this event series. I’ve been getting emails about when they’re going to roll out the 2012 schedule for about a month now. I’m sure some of you were also wondering about your Whisk(e)y Apostle discount too. 😉 Well, I just got the information yesterday afternoon. Here’s a quick note from the folks at the SMWSA along with event information.

Ladies and Gentlemen are cordially invited to enjoy a connoisseur’s evening featuring rare & exceptional single malt, Scotch and unique whiskies from around the world. The evening includes a delicious dinner buffet as well as a selection of premium imported cigars for our guests’ later enjoyment. The Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza brings the discerning enthusiast the opportunity to sample the participating whiskies in a sophisticated and elegant environment with genuine camaraderie and knowledgeable representatives from each participating distillery.

All events from 7:00pm-9:00pm. Registration begins at 7:00pm. Business casual, Jackets preferred. No denim or athletic attire.

Special rates for groups of 8 or more.

Spring 2012 Extravaganza Schedule

ATLANTA
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
The Intercontinental Buckhead
3315 Peachtree Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30326

HOUSTON
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
The Intercontinental Houston Near The Galleria
2222 West Loop South
Houston, TX 77027

DALLAS
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Dallas/Addison Marriott Quorum By The Galleria
14901 Dallas Parkway
Dallas, TX 75254

DENVER
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
The Brown Palace Hotel
321 17th Street Denver, CO 80202

NEW YORK
Thursday, May 10, 2012
The Roosevelt Hotel
Madison at 45th Street
New York, NY 10017

I really can’t recommend these events enough. They really are well run and very enjoyable for the experienced and novice Scotch fan. You can order tickets either by calling 800-990-1991 or going to this link. Tickets are $150 for none Society attendees but don’t forget to use your Whisk(e)y Apostle discount code (WA2012) to get $15 off your first two tickets. If you’re ordering online it goes in the “promotional code” box.

I’ll definitely be at the Atlanta event and tweeting live. Hopefully, I will seem some of our Atlanta readers there.

Drink wisely my friends,

Richard

2011 Fall Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza

I just received an invitation for our readers from the SMWSA.

Ladies and Gentlemen are cordially invited to enjoy a connoisseur’s evening featuring over 110 rare & exceptional single malt and Scotch whiskies. The evening includes a delicious dinner buffet as well as a selection of premium imported cigars for our guests’ later enjoyment. The Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza brings the discerning enthusiast the opportunity to sample the participating whiskies in a sophisticated and elegant environment with genuine camaraderie and knowledgeable representatives from each participating distillery.

All events from 7:00pm-9:00pm. Registration begins at 7:00pm. Business casual, Jackets preferred. Jackets are required at the Chicago & Philadelphia venues. No denim or athletic attire may be worn to the events.

The SMWSA was generous enough to extend member pricing to our readers. When you order your tickets please use the “WA2011” code to get $15 off your first two tickets. That takes the price down from $135 to $120. You can call to order tickets at 800-990-1991 or on their website at this link.

Here is the fall calendar:
Chicago
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
The Union League Club of Chicago
65 West Jackson Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60604
Jackets Required (No Denim or Athletic Attire)

Boston
Thursday, October 13, 2011
The Taj Boston
15 Arlington Street
Boston, MA 02116

Washington, DC
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
JW Marriott Hotel
1331 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004

Philadelphia
Friday, October 28, 2011
The Union League Club of Philadelphia
140 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Jackets Required (No Denim or Athletic Attire)

San Francisco
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
The Intercontinental San Francisco
888 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

Los Angeles
Friday, November 11, 2011
Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel
1700 Ocean Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Fort Lauderdale
Thursday, December 1, 2011
The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
1 Seminole Way
Hollywood, FL 33314

Event Notice: Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza – Spring 2011

We just received the announced schedule for the spring sessions of the 18th annual Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza hosted by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Long time readers know that Matt and I have attended these event in the past and really enjoyed them. It’s a great series of events if you are looking to try new scotches or get reacquainted with old favorites. Here is the invitation we were asked to pass along.

Ladies and Gentlemen are cordially invited to enjoy a connoisseur’s evening featuring over 110 rare & exceptional single malt and Scotch whiskies. The evening includes a delicious dinner buffet as well as a selection of premium imported cigars for our guests’ later enjoyment. The Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza brings the discerning enthusiast the opportunity to sample the participating whiskies in a sophisticated and elegant environment with genuine camaraderie and knowledgeable representatives from each participating distillery.

All events from 7:00pm-9:30pm. Registration begins at 7:00pm. Business casual, Jackets preferred. No denim or athletic attire may be worn to the events.

Here is this year’s schedule:

New York
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
The Roosevelt Hotel
45 East 45th Street
New York, NY 10017

Phoenix
Thursday, March 24, 2011
The Arizona Biltmore
2400 East Missouri Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85016

Atlanta
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
The Intercontinental Buckhead Hotel
3315 Peachtree Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30326

Houston
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
The Downtown Club at Houston Center
1100 Caroline Street
Houston, TX 77002
Business casual. No denim or athletic attire.

Dallas
Thursday, April 14, 2011
The Intercontinental Dallas
15201 Dallas Parkway
Dallas, TX 75001

Denver
Thursday, May 12, 2011
The Brown Palace Hotel
321 17th Street
Denver, CO 80202

Tickets for each event are $135. The Society was kind enough to extend their special Member pricing of $120 to our Whisk(e)y Apostle readers for the first two tickets each of you purchase. Tickets can be ordered online or over the phone by calling 800.990.1991. To get the special Whisk(e)y Apostle pricing just provide our discount code: “WA2011”

These really are great events and we look forward to seeing some of you at the events in Atlanta and New York.

Qu’est-ce que c’est?

“I hate people when they’re not polite” as the song goes.  Whisky writers and enthusiasts have long been accused of elitism.  Even those of us who seek to lift the veil on whiskey’s mysteries, can fall prey to what some see as arrogance and snobbery.  Whisky festivals often seem to enforce this theme.  The vast majority of attendees are white men over forty with very comfortable lifestyles.  Clubs, guilds, or societies often host the events.  There is often a dress code.  One expects a certain amount of decorum.

Where am I going with this?  Well I’m about to rant in a way that suggests my own elitism (though that is hardly the point).  This week the Single Malt Whisky Society hosted the Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza.  The event itself was very great.  However, some the attendees did not comport themselves a way befitting their standing.  There are always a few assholes at events like this.  There are the guys that pre-game and show up drunk.  There are the guys that don’t understand the point of the spit/pour buckets and are hammered after the first table.  My chief complaint this time?  The guys that do not respect the “talent.”

Unless you are at Whisky Fest, most of the folks behind the tables are brand ambassadors (as opposed to Master Distillers).  Brand Ambassadors range from dudes in kilts with a brogue to well educated non-kilt wearers to actors, actresses and models.  These folks are the “talent.”  Back in the day, the actors/actresses/models rarely knew anything about whisky in general and sometimes not much about their own brand.  I’m happy to say that (apart from a handful of brands) this is becoming a thing of the past.  They still hire pretty girls (they know their market), but the brands are doing a better job with education.

While talking to the Heather at the Glenfiddich table (a real class act who knows her stuff), I heard someone behind me mutter, “it doesn’t matter how many questions you ask, she is not going to sleep with you”.  This is unacceptable.  First of all, don’t disrespect a guy who is genuinely seeking knowledge.  That is the act of a barbarian.  Secondly, do not disrespect the ladies at these events (or ever for that matter).

If that was the only incident, I would still be outraged but I would allow that it was just one jerk-ass showing off for his friends.  However, throughout the night, there were many instances of this kind of behavior.  Now, I’m no prude.  I like a well shaped form as much as the next guy, but real men leave that kind of talk in the locker room or in the company of other men.  You’re momma raised you better.

If you’ve stuck with me this long, I guess I should talk about the event itself.  It was a good time.  The food was pretty good.  The layout in the tasting room caused some traffic flow problems.  The tasting tables were laid out in a “U” shape with table seating in the middle of the room.  There were times that navigating between the tasting tables and the seating became difficult.  Without prodding people to keep moving, I’m not sure there was anything to be done though.

There were over 100 whiskies on pour.  I tried a small amount of quite a few, but really took my time with a few others.  At events like these, I try to focus on things I wouldn’t normally try.  That night, the SMWS bottlings were high on my list.  They are all worth trying, but my favorites were the Cask No. 76.68-15yo from Dufftown (Mortlach distillery) and the Cask No 53.136-17yo from Islay (Caol Ila).  The Mortlach surprised me, because it was very sweet with some great berry notes.  Previous independent bottlings I’ve tried tasted like Robitussin.  The Caol Ila?  Well, that’s a distillery that continues to grow on me.  Perhaps my palate is getting more sophisticated.  Finally, I see what all the hype is about.  I get a lot of those fizzy, lemony notes I found in the unpeated Caol Ila with some great peaty bite.  This is a whisky you can chew.

I got my chance at the Ardbeg Rollercoaster.  Rollercoaster is very enjoyable, but I think the Corryvreckan was better.

Like Richard, I decided the give the Dalmore another try.  I’m still not enthralled.  For some reason, I’ve always wanted to like the Dalmore.  Maybe it’s Master Distiller Richard Patterson’s charm or the beautiful package design.  I’m never satisfied with the whisky though.

Usquaebach was there.  If you’ve never had this blend, I encourage you to give it a try.  The high-end version comes in a nice ceramic jug (it’s an NAS vatted malt).  That’s the only one I’ve seen on shelves.  They have two other versions. (a 12yo with some grain content and 15yo vatted malt).  For my money, I think the 12yo and the NAS are the way to go.  I wasn’t all that impressed with the 15yo.  The 12yo is a great little blend at a good price point.  I put it on the same level as Old Parr (maybe even better).

Overall, the Extravaganza was great.  I highly recommend the event.

Remember, if I see you disrespecting the ladies at one of these events, I’ll come at you like Richard Patterson going at someone putting water in a glass of Jura (seriously, he’ll slap you).

fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa

-Matt