2 cool whisky events YOU can attend!

November 29, 2011 § 2 Comments

If you live in or plan to visit NYC, read on!  These two events are different and interesting enough that I wanted to give others a chance to attend instead of doing a post-event review. (See, aren’t I nice!?)

These are hosted by Le Dû’s Wines … who has been building quite a nice collection of whiskies over the last 6 months and are taking this recent addition to their shop quite seriously (which makes me happy!).  You may remember me giving them a shout out earlier this month for hosting the exclusive Louis XIII tasting I blogged about HERE. …

Get out your calendars are read on!

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7th

CLICK ON BOX TO BE TAKEN TO THEIR PAGE

Click on the box above to be taken to their site or call 212-924-6999 for reservations.

Enough said.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 15th

This next event is FREE but invite only and space is extremely limited.  Consider this your personal invitation.  If you are interested (and why wouldn’t you be!?) email JT Robertson (jt at leduwines dot come) asap for a spot.

Here are the details: Free but invite only Signatory and Cigar tasting on December 15th.  Signatory’s Brand Manager will be tasting 8 or so awesome single barrel Scotches in a super swag cigar shop in Midtown (complete with a smoking lounge, of course).  What could be better?  Get on the list now to get the full scoop!

THANKS for the 411 JT!!! You know you’ll be seeing me behind a whisky glass!  Can’t wait! 

Whisky Events Roundup (part 3)

November 23, 2011 § 5 Comments

So my friends, to conclude my Fall Whisky Event Roundup series, today I present to you Part 3.  (You can find parts 1 and 2 by clicking on their respective numbers)

After this, I think it’s time for a nap … or perhaps I’ll sneak in one more whisky… 😉

NEW YORK, NY

Louis XIII Private Tasting

The Invitation... a sign of what was to come!

What: The great people of one of my favorite wine & whisky shops, Le Dû Wines, invited me to a very special exclusive tasting of the stunning Louis XIII cognac by Remy Martin in the Porter House New York restaurant in New York City.  The Louis XIII senior brand ambassador, Pierre-Antoine Bollet, led us in a most interesting tasting which started off with champagne and the story behind the cognac.  We then watched as the liquid gold was poured into special crystal glasses and passed around for the tasting to commence.

About: Louis XIII is an elegant cognac that is a combination of ages ranging from 40yr – 100 yr (their tag line is “a century in a bottle”).  Bottled only once per year in a vintage-designed Baccarat crystal decanter, the master blender (who is a woman!) aims to re-create the same flavor profile each and every year so that no matter which bottle you get (if you have the means to spend at least $2,300 USD) you know what to expect.  The grapes are from the Grand Champagne region in France and I thought it was interesting that though cognac is made from the eaux de vie of grapes, unlike wine, the spirit does not continue to age in the bottle, just like whisky.

Barrel: The cognac is placed in new limousin barrels at the beginning of the aging only.  Then, the spirit is moved into a unique type of barrel that is only used for the ageing of Louis XIII, which is called Tiercons.  This type of barrel is no longer produced; it has thinner walls and was historically used for boat transportation.  Tiercons are now only used for Louis XIII and, luckily for the brand, Remy Martin owns the largest collection of the Tiercons which are 100 – 150 years old.

How to NOSE: We began with the glass; the sides were straight like a “chimney” not fluted like a traditional whisky nosing glass or bowed like many wine glasses.  This allows all of the delicate aromas to travel vertically together.  My favorite part was that the first smelling did not happen with the glass close to the nose.  Instead, we started with the glass held down by the hips and slowly raised it up along the center of the body while giving the glass a gentle swirl.  As soon as you detected the first scent, you were to hold the glass there and experience the lightest notes (my glass was hovering somewhere in between my belly button and rib cage).  I thought it was such an interesting way to start discovering the 150+ flavor notes (and no, my nose is not sophisticated enough to find that many but it was fun to try!).

How to TASTE: Once we had brought the glasses much closer to our noses and really “got in there” with the smelling (my favorite part).  We were finally allowed to taste it!  Starting with a very small sip that we were to “chew” and let dissolve in the mouth – this technique (just as we do in the whisky world) allows you to prepare your palate, wake up all of your taste buds, and gives you the first hint of what you’re about to experience.

Final thoughts: This is a really lovely spirit.  There are many layers to this – I wish I had had a bit more (both cognac and time) to continue the exploration but alas, all good things come to an end!  With plenty of notes of dried fruits (apricots, apples) and warm spices (think cinnamon, clove, etc) I was pleased with how rounded it was on the palate.  The sweet notes are nicely balanced with the spicy notes and the 40% abv is necessary to cut through the heavier mouth feel.  Overall, a really beautiful spirit and one that I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to experience.

Louis XIII tasting at Porter House New York

The passing of the beautiful cognac!

Photos courtesy of Mara Rudzinski of Le Du Wines.

Women & Whiskies Skyy Whisky Tasting Event

What: There is a cool group of whisky-loving marketing ladies who put on some great tasting events throughout the year.  This is the first of their events that I was able to attend, and even then, I was unfortunately in and out pretty quickly.  Though I was skeptical going in, I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with the turnout and the overall presentation.

About: The evening was hosted in a private room overlooking the Olives bar in the W Hotel in Union Square, NYC.  There was a bubbly female rep from Skyy who had the challenging job of holding peoples attention long enough to give them some knowledge about what it was they were drinking to a room full of post-work ladder-climbing career women desperately trying to listen while getting drunk on whisky and presumably, their empty stomachs.

Herein lies the rub: don’t taste enough and you don’t have much to compare each expression to… drink too much and, well, you know, we have all been there.

Final thoughts: I will say that I was apprehensive about attending this event because I was having a hard time getting past the fact that I had little interest in drinking whisky with a bunch of other women (unless they were all my good friends).  If I am having a glass of scotch at a bar, I’d like to be surrounded by a wide range of people, not limited to one particular group.  However, I missed the concept completely.  This was not a casual “step right up”  tasting but rather a sit-down “let’s talk whisky” tasting, focusing on introducing the next generation of female whisky drinkers to the spirit (Yes!).  And for this purpose, I thought they did a great job.  So much so that I’d like to attend their next event from beginning to end this time if I am so lucky to be invited back.

Women & Whiskies Tasting Journal

Women & Whiskies Skyy Tasting

Special thanks to Sarah Jones (tweets at @fill_my_glass) for inviting me to this event!

LASTLY…

There was also a trip to Miami, Florida sandwiched somewhere in these last few weeks but it was over in the blink of an eye and, as it turns out, though we had a lot of fun, there was not much to report on the whisky side of it aside from the occasional Jack & Ginger (which is as tasty to drink as it is fun to say).

In conclusion to this awesome, crazy Fall season;  there was never a dull evening and though I didn’t get to blog, comment or tweet about each and every event I attended, I did try my best and I’m looking forward to spending a few nights relaxing next to the fire with a good book and a glass of whisky.

…oh wait, is it Thanksgiving already!?  HAPPY TURKEY DAY EVERYONE!!!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Whisky Events Roundup (part 2)

November 22, 2011 § 2 Comments

Well, I am happy to say that this season has not let me down!  The calendar keeps filling up, the events get better and better, and these days, I often find myself between a [preferably full] glass of whisky, great company and my next flight … I swear, if it weren’t for my recent swing of hating mornings, I would have otherwise thought I were living in a dream!

To follow up from the Whisky Events Roundup Part 1 post from last week, today, I give you Part 2!

LOUISVILLE, KY

Fall time in Louisville!

Icons of Whisky Awards by Whisky Magazine

What: Annual awards ceremony at the historic Seelbach Hotel where Whisky Magazine presents the winners of the Icons of the Year awards for American distillers, distilleries, retailers and brand ambassadors.

Who: The who’s who of American whisky.  Tom Bulleit (Bulleit Bourbon & Rye), Jimmy Russel (Wild Turkey), Julian & Preston Van Winkle (Old Rip/Pappy Van Winkle), Jim Rutledge (Four Roses), Kevin Smith (Maker’s Mark), Damian Riley-Smith (Whisky Magazine), David Sweet (Whisky Magazine), Mark Gillespie (Whisky Magazine & WhiskyCast), a few awesome folks from Buffalo Trace & Heaven Hill…  Of course there were others but I couldn’t get everyone’s card (though I did try!).  My apologies to everyone who I missed on this list.  It was such an amazing group of whisky-lovers I was honored to have been a part.

Holy cow: My dear friend and esteemed industry partner, Chip Tate of Balcones Distillery (who my company represents abroad and with whom we have starting to do some work with together state-side, more fun details later!) but he WON the ICON OF WHISKY AWARD for best CRAFT DISTILLER!!!!  This is HUGE and wonderful news and I couldn’t be more proud of Chip, his team and all of their dedicated hard work.  I know it feels great to be recognized and this is so well deserved!  Congratulations!!!!

Lunch at the Whisky Round Table

YAY!!! Chip Tate won Craft Distiller of the Year!!!!

Whisky Brand Innovator of the Year Award ... and the winner is.... BUFFALO TRACE for their Single Oak Project

...and the Whiskey Distiller of the Year is..... Jim Rutledge, head distiller at Four Roses!!!

Congratulations!!!

YES!!!! That's right!!! Go Chip! Go Balcones!

And after a long night of celebrating, we needed something hearty the next day. Loving the living in the South

This event was so important and awe-inspiring that I thought it deserved the full attention of this particular post.  Tomorrow I will publish the 3rd, and final, post to the Whisky Events Roundup series.  Thanks for reading!!!

Whisky Events Roundup (part 1)

November 15, 2011 § 9 Comments

To say I have been out and about these last few weeks is a bit of an understatement.  And while I haven’t been able to collect my thoughts and share them with you here until now, I will say that my twitter accounts (@whiskygirls and @localinfusions) have never been so active!

That said, I am sorry for my recent absence and not just from my own blog but from so many of the other great whisky blogger’s blogs in the community.

Let’s start, shall we?

Time Square NYC the night of WhiskyFest NY '11

Whisky Week NYC

WhiskyFest NY

The GOOD: Lot’s of fantastic brands, all under one roof.  Some interesting pours if you could get to those tables fast enough and then prove that you were worthy of such a pour (by the end of the night, this seemed to really come down to one basic fact: are you going to taste this or take it like a shot?) … though not in those exact words.

HIGHLIGHTS: Running around the first half of the night with my good friend (and fellow whisky geek) Jonathan Wingo of Brooklyn’s Whiskey Shop and together having a beautiful moment with Jonathan Luks of Mackmyra who shared with us a taste of their Special07 bottle (that will never be sold in the USA) and another taste of their Cask Strength whisky (whose proper name didn’t make it into my notebook – my apologies) but it is also a whisky that will not make it to the US market, sadly.  A proper review of this company will follow as they are most certainly worthy.

The other highlight for me was meeting Preston & Juilan Van Winkle (you know, of the Old Rip van Winkle brand).  Not only were they serving their incredibly limited and incredibly delicious products but, if possible, I was more impress with them as individuals.  Not pretentious, not stuffy – just easy to talk to, whisky loving, Southern boys.  I was honored to share a few laughs and a few sips with these two fine gentlemen.

The BAD:  Too many vendors in not enough time.  The food was awful and water was not easy to come by.  Unfortunately, this turned out to be a recipe for disaster.  People were frantically running around trying to drink every whisky they could and, aside from those in the industry, this seemed to have turned everyone into animals.  Sadly, the atmosphere quickly morphed into a post-college frat party.  Not. Cool.

Julian & Preston Van Winkle

Rodeo Bar Balcones Event

WHAT: Rodeo Bar in NYC is a Texas-style bar who has their BBQ (think Ribs & Brisket) flown in from Texas daily.  Head distiller, Chip Tate, of the Texas distillery Balcones, was in town and did a very cool pairing of his Texas whiskies along side of the authentic Texas fair.

HIGHLIGHT: The BBQ ribs with Balcones Brimstone whisky.  This is a blue corn whisky that has been smoked after coming off the stills and before going into the barrel with Texas Scrub Oak … the same wood that gives the meat it’s amazing smoked flavor.  Picking up what I’m putting down?  Heaven.

WHO: Lots of brand ambassadors, industry people, whisky enthusiasts and the NYCwhisky.com folks. Very fun!

Chip Tate of Balcones and Karl duHoffmann of Martin Scott

Balcones & Ellabess Fine Dinning Pairing Event

WHAT: The very chic NYC hip dining spot, Ellabess, threw a private soiree celebrating Chip’s unique whiskies.  Chef Troy Unruh and his team created an exciting pairing menu using Balcones products that were timed and served just as the appropriate Balcones spirit was being poured.

HIGHLIGHTS:  The evening finished on the roof with cigars and generous pours of Balcones extremely limited Rumble Cask Reserve (a cask-strength version of the Rumble, only ~200 bottles ever made).

Check out this video of the chefs hard at work with Balcones’ high-quality whiskies!

Balcones-inspired menu by Ellabess

Chef Troy Unruh of Ellabess and Head Distiller Chip Tate of Balcones

Yuuuum

Chip Tate & the Whisky Woman, Allison Patel

Rumble Cask Reserve on the roof top of Ellabess in NYC

The following post (part 2) to include:

Remy Martin Event, Miami, FL & Louisville, KY for the Icons of Whisky Awards

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