I went with some friends last week to WhiskyLive 2017 in NYC. I didn’t use my “press credentials” to get in, rather I bought VIP tickets (at a discount 6 months ago). VIP basically was supposed to get you entry 30 minutes early, access to a special lounge and a higher end crystal glass. Well, the line got all screwed up and even though I got there early, I didn’t get in until almost 6pm. The glass was weird and I think I’d rather have the normal glass. And to top it off the VIP lounge didn’t have anything special in it–literally they were serving Evan Williams 2008 Single Barrel, a $22 Bourbon and some awful Widow Jane swill.
However, enough complaining and venting… but seriously, next year, the line situation needs to be fixed and they need to get a few more epic bottles in the VIP lounge.
I am very glad that I went for three reasons though. First and most importantly, Four Roses brought Brent Elliott up for the event and I got to meet the man himself. He is awesome and I plan on having an interview with him in the coming weeks: stay tuned! They also were pouring FRSBLE2016, and while I do have several bottles of it at home, it was really nice to see a special pour. Very few producers did that, so a real special thanks to Four Roses for stepping up and bringing their best.
The second reason I was glad to go was to see the upcoming releases from Barrell Bourbon. Joe Beatrice was there pouring Whiskey 003 and the new Bourbon 009, 010 and even 011. They also had some New Years Bourbon which they were nice enough to give double pours when I asked nicely–thanks guys!!! (The New Years Bourbon should have been in the VIP lounge as it was better than pretty much every other one there) I can’t say enough good things about the Barrell guys, they bought tons of bottles so everyone could try as much as they wanted, no severely limiting the pours like some other people did…
The third reason I am glad I went was to try to new Michters 10yr Rye. It was good. But it wasn’t great. If I find any this season I will be trading it for something else because I wasn’t overly impressed. I tried it three times. It was enjoyable but the finish just wasn’t enough to make me need it. It’s probably a 90 +/- but certainly not a top 10. They also were really stingy with the pouts: yes, I’m talking about you Kenny Ng!!!!! (exceptionally stingy pours matter in this situation, and I doubt they ran out because it was still there 2 hours into the event).
Anyway, WhiskyLive was a fun event, but not as well done as WhiskyFest was in the Fall. I am glad I went for the reasons above and it was amazing to meet Brent and great to see Joe and try both of their whiskeys. But to be honest, the rest of the booths just didn’t do it for me: too many low end whiskeys and bad craft distillers or generic Scotches that I’ve already had. I hate to be “that guy” but if people are expected to return, they need to have something unique and new each time–I’m not sure I will be going back for 2018 unless they really step up their game. And of course… they really need to figure out the entrance better… at least the weather was nice, but it could have been below zero with all of us waiting outside.
Thanks everyone for reading my venting!