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Despite the cost of entry going up more than a little since I started attending, I continue to enjoy WhiskyFest. This year’s main room seemed less crowded to me overall, but the VIP group seemed larger (though Ellen thought there were as many VIP folks last year).

As I review the program book and my other lists, there were a bunch of whiskies I either didn’t get to or arrived too late to get a pour from the only bottle. This is more a reminder for next time because I have no regrets! I think I’m in better shape today than in some past years due to requesting short pours.

My “missed it this year” list in no particular order:
- WhistlePig Straight Rye 2016 Boss Hog
- Tullibardine 25 yr
- Wolfburn Aurora
- Laphroaig 32 yr
- High West Yippee Ki Yay
- Redbreast Lustau Edition
- Compass Box The Circus
- Writer’s Tears Cask Strength
- Wild Turkey Decades
- Buffalo Trace George T. Stagg

I also would have liked to attend Highland Park Brand Ambassador Martin Daraz’ seminar — he’s such an entertaining speaker! — but we went last year and tasted the complete Valhalla Collection, so maybe next year.

There was another seminar that purported to do ham and bourbon pairings.

Ellen and I went to The Macallan seminar, though, and Brand Ambassador (and actor?) Kieron Elliott was also fun as he walked us through a tasting comprised of the Sherry Oak 12 yr, new Double Cask 12 yr, Edition No. 1 and Edition No. 2. I had purchased a bottle of the Double Cask (still unopened!) during my NYC trip on the recommendation of a shop owner, but of the four in the tasting I liked it the least. Maybe I’ll like more another time. :)

Okay, here’s what I did taste (in addition to The Macallan four above):

Glenfiddich Excellence 26 yr

Balvenie
- Single Cask 25 yr
- Tun 1509
- 21 yr PortWood

The Macallan
- Reflexion
- Rare Cask

Auchentoshan
- 21 yr
- 1988 Wine Cask Finish

Laphroaig 25 yr

Glen Garioch
- Founder’s Reserve
- 15 Years Old Renaissance

Old Pulteney
- 21 yr
- 17 yr

Highland Park 18 yr

Aberlour A'Bunadh (Batch 53)

Westland Garyanna

GlenDronach 18 yr

Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy

The Glenlivet 21 yr

Jim Beam Distiller’s Masterpiece

Van Winkle 12 yr (poured by Julian Van Winkle himself)

Alexander Murray & Co.
- Caol Ila 8 yr
- Dalmore 15 yr
- Polly’s

Ainsley Brae Sauternes Cask Finish

Suntory Toki (& Toki highball cocktail)

Octomore
- 7.1
- 7.3

Date: 2016-09-25 05:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] desperance.livejournal.com
I've been round Highland Park, but not the other Orkney distillery at Scapa. The legend is that you can't do both on the same visit, because they're never open at the same time: for a couple of months every year, they close the Highland Park distillery, and everybody decamps to Scapa to make their brief annual run. I have no idea if this is actually true, but it's a lovely story.

Date: 2016-09-25 07:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] trektone.livejournal.com
I had never heard of that story! I've also not been to either Highland Park or to Scapa, but perhaps one day.

Date: 2016-09-25 12:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tigertoy.livejournal.com
Even if you didn't catch 'em all, that sounds like a lot of whiskey. I don't know how such an event works. I trust you're only getting a small amount of each one, not a regular shot, or you'd be too intoxicated to appreciate anything before you reached the end of the list.

Date: 2016-09-25 03:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] trektone.livejournal.com
Hey there! Yes, definitely on the small pours. And from the perspective of the vendors, they want their premium products to be tasted by as many folks as possible and, preferably, not wasted. On the retail market, the ones that are 20+ years tend to be more expensive. I know that a number of those I tasted retail for upwards of $500 for a 750 ml bottle.

As for the possible different pours, the WhiskyFest SF list noted >300 selections:

http://whiskyadvocate.com/events/whiskyfest-san-francisco/

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