Saturday, November 03, 2012

WhiskyFest Weekend – Day 2



As mentioned in my previous post, I recently attended WhiskyFest Weekend this year in New York City – the first time ever that this event has ever been held on multiple nights.  It was two consecutive nights filled with good food (served buffet style) paired with great whiskies made from all around the world.  The event was held on the evenings of Friday, October 26, 2012 and Saturday, October 27, 2012.  While my last blog post covered the first night (Friday), this post will summarize my experiences on Saturday, the concluding night. 


One of my go-to scotches is Bowmore, so I made sure to visit their exhibit early in the evening.  The night before, I learned that possibly the most interesting question you could pose to a whisky manufacturer or distributor at one of these events is the ostensibly simple and seemingly benign, “What’s new?”.  On this night, I asked the same question to the Bowmore representative and got the most delightful surprise to this innocuous query.  At the start of 2013, I was told, Bowmore fans can look forward to being treated to a new expression – Dorus Mor, a single batch release.

Aged for 10 years in first-fill oak casks, this is a non – chill filtered single malt that has a stunning alcohol content of 57% .  According to the company representative, this scotch is about as close as you can get to actually drinking it straight out of the barrel in which it was aged.  Despite the high alcohol content, I found it to have a rather gentle nose – but that can be deceptive once you take a taste because it has quite a kick to it on the backend, which is really where you can feel the high amount of alcohol. 


Above, I made reference to my go-to scotches – as something of a devotee of Islay-based scotches, another one that’s especially high on my list is the great Laphroaig.  This intensely peaty, smoky scotch doesn’t really have what you might call a brand new product coming to the market – instead, the company is trumpeting the return of a product that had been taken off the market for a while but is just now returning.  Their Triple Wood had been off the market for quite some time, but is now being re-introduced to the scotch-savvy public.  The reason for its absence was simple – they just ran out after a while. 


When I inquired about its age, a Laphroaig representative told me that it averages about 10 years, but in reality, it can be aged anywhere from eight to 13 years.  As you might have already guessed, Triple Wood takes its name from the manner in which it is aged.  The types of wood barrels in which it is kept are first-fill bourbon, toasted French oak and European sherry casks.  This particular scotch has something of a complex flavor profile – you can taste sherry on the front, followed by black pepper on the end. 


As frequently occurs whenever I attend one of these whisky tastings, I discovered one that was unfamiliar to me.  This year, I was introduced to a Canadian Whisky called Black Velvet.  They were attending WhiskyFest in order to announce a new product to the market called Toasted Caramel.  Made by blending their regular whisky with a caramel-infused barrel and aging for three years, it contains 35% alcohol (70 proof).  Best served chilled, it could be used either as a digestif (as it tastes very dessert-like) or it can be mixed in a cocktail; technically, it’s got too high a proof to be considered a liqueur, but its hint of sweetness slightly masks the taste of the alcohol.  Initially offered to me with ice, I subsequently tried it in an Old Fashioned.  It’s a refreshing change and if you’re in the mood to try something different, then I definitely recommend this one.

WhiskyFest Weekend in New York City has been over for a while now, but many great memories of the fun linger; these memories provide some modicum of comfort, especially in the aftermath of an unwanted and unappreciated visitor we had in our area named Sandy.  Next year, WhiskyFest in New York City will again take place over a weekend, as it did this year; I look forward to attending then, as well – my only hope is that by that time, we don’t get another one of Sandy’s distant cousins as we did this year. 



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