Saturday, April 14, 2012

Whisky Live 2012 New York City



Every year, I look forward to attending WhiskyFest here in New York City; unfortunately (at the time of this writing), it is approximately six months away and I couldn’t wait for a nice whisky tasting. Thankfully, springtime in The Big Apple brings an event called Whisky Live; if you’re a whisky lover in other parts of the country, you may be familiar with this tasting as it’s held in various regions of the United States. In years past, I have been unable to attend Whisky Live when it hits New York due to other previous commitments; luck was with me in 2012 as I was available to attend the event, held in the hall at Pier 60 of the Chelsea Piers.

This being my first time at Whisky Live -- but far from my first whisky tasting – I decided that my main focus would be on the smaller, lesser-known brands in order to introduce myself (and you!) to products that were unfamiliar yet may be worth purchasing in the future.



Adding to the list of unlikely places that are new to developing whisky is Sweden with a product named Mackmyra. This was the first time I’d ever heard of a Swedish whisky. Mackmyra is the only Swedish whisky in the world. It is a single malt that is aged in small casks made of Swedish Oak for just six years. Containing only rye, it lacks the peaty flavor and aroma of Scotch Whisky.

George Dickel

As it turns out, Jack Daniels is not Tennessee’s only Whisky; in fact, George Dickel has been in business since 1870. Dickel whisky is cold filtered where they chill the distillate, resulting in a more consistent product. Jack Daniels, by contrast, is room temperature. As I tasted their 12 year old 86 proof product, I was informed that chill filtering makes it smoother in winter than in the summer as there is no bite to it. It is made of 84% corn, 8% rye and 8% malted barley. They don’t filter in charcoal; anything that is charcoal filtered can technically not be considered bourbon.



Whisky’s poor younger cousin was also represented at Whisky Live this year – I believe they refer to it by the name of “beer” or something like that. Belhaven is Scotland’s oldest brewery. They provided several offerings, but I only tried the Wee Heavy Ale – so called because it contains 6% alcohol, more than any of their other products. They also make an IPA.

Washington Wheat

Washington Wheat is a whiskey that is made of 100% Wheat from Spokane, Washington; this produces a softer taste when compared to something like Bourbon and has little spice. In the sample given to me, I could not detect anything in the way of an aroma, so if some of you whisky drinkers are looking forward to trying it in something like a Glencairn nosing glass as I did, then you might be a tad disappointed. It is aged only two years in full-sized new American Oak barrels. An 80 proof spirit, its taste is sweeter on the front of the tongue, with a distinctly sharp bite on the side of the tongue.



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