Resounding Success for WhiskyFest in Chicago and Washington D.C.

This spring’s WhiskyFest events in Chicago and Washington, D.C. showcased the depth and breadth of the whisky world, offering whisky lovers the opportunity to taste hundreds of whiskies, rub shoulders with the leading distillers and blenders from Scotland, the U.S., and beyond, and create cherished memories.

Three generations of Russells—Eddie, JoAnn, Bruce, and Jimmy—welcomed eager Wild Turkey fans at WhiskyFest D.C. (Photo by Peter Wagner Photography)

Master distiller Denny Potter was on hand to pour Whisky Advocate’s 2017 Whisky of the Year, Elijah Craig Barrel Proof. (Photo by Peter Wagner Photography)

WhiskyFest Chicago—now in its 19th year—took over the Hyatt Regency Downtown on Friday, March 23rd. Attendees sampled both classic and brand-new drams, from Johnnie Walker Blue Label and Michter’s 10 year old bourbon, and were among the very first to taste the not-yet-released Old Fitzgerald 11 year old Bottled in Bond bourbon from Heaven Hill, along with Hudson Cherrywood Rye, a WhiskyFest exclusive. Numerous whiskies from Whisky Advocate’s 2017 Top 20 were on offer: Ardbeg An Oa, Little Book, Tyrconnell 16 year old, Macallan Double Cask 12 year old, Kentucky Peerless Rye, Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Decades, Rebel Yell 10 year old single barrel, and Whisky of the Year, Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, poured by master distiller Denny Potter himself.

Master distillers, blenders, and other big names in whisky embraced the opportunity to pour their whiskies, lead tasting seminars, and shake hands with guests. “It was wonderful to have thousands of whisky aficionados under one roof,” said Paul Hletko, master distiller of FEW Spirits. “The best part about WhiskyFest is the opportunity to interact with whisky lovers. I spend so much time holed up with a still and it’s extremely rewarding to go out and talk to people who enjoy the spirit.”

Sharing a dram with someone you love is one of the best parts of WhiskyFest. (Photo by Peter Wagner Photography)

Guests at WhiskyFest Chicago enjoyed a memorable night of great whisky and great company. (Photo by Peter Wagner Photography)

Just a few weeks later, on April 17th, WhiskyFest welcomed whisky lovers in the nation’s capital: WhiskyFest D.C. showcased hundreds of different whiskies from countries around the world, and attendees charted a course of tastings and seminars that spanned scotch, bourbon, Irish, Japanese, and even Taiwanese and Indian whiskies. “The distillers and brand ambassadors were friendly, accessible, and did a great job in showcasing their products for those who attended,” said Frank Coleman, senior vice president at the Distilled Spirits Council.

“What an amazing night,” said attendee Bhavesh Mehta. “This was my second year attending WhiskyFest in D.C. and I am already counting down to WhiskyFest 2019. Me and my friend had a blast tasting many of the rare and unique single malts, like Old Pulteney 35 year old, Bowmore 25 year old, Laphroaig 27 year old, Kavalan Vinho Barrique, Glen Moray 25 year old, and Macallan Rare Cask. Highly recommended to any whisky lovers. There are other whisky events and WhiskyFest D.C. is hands down the best—no comparison at all.”

In a historic first, WhiskyFest D.C. welcomed George Washington’s Distillery, based at Mount Vernon, to pour its authentically crafted rye whiskeys. On display was a hand-written letter from our first president, describing the great demand for his rye whiskey.

Next up on the horizon for WhiskyFest: San Francisco (November 2nd) and New York City (December 4th). Early bird tickets are now on sale!

More From WhiskyFest