If the autumn leaves make you long for brown spirits, there’s no better place to sample whiskies from around the globe than WhiskyFest. The fall slate of events is quickly approaching, with whisky lists and seminar schedules still growing. Whisky lovers in San Francisco, New York, and Las Vegas are in for a special evening of rare pours and insights from some of the brightest whisky-making stars from around the world.
First up is WhiskyFest San Francisco on October 28. VIP attendees are granted early access and are able to taste a number of limited releases exclusive to the VIP hour, including, Blanton’s Gold Edition, Bushmills 29 year old Pedro Ximénez Cask, Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19 year old (Batch 4), Compass Box Ultramarine, Parker’s Heritage Collection Wheat whiskey, and more. Japanese whisky will be well-represented, with Nikka, Hibiki, Kikori, and other distillers pouring a range of styles. Meanwhile, Bay Area favorite St. George Spirits headlines a cast of craft producers that includes FEW Spirits, Balcones, and Virginia Distillery Co., among many others.
On the seminar front, attendees can do a deep dive into the world of whisky, with guided tastings led by head distillers and master blenders. Andy Nelson, co-founder and head distiller at Nelson’s Green Brier, talks about his family distillery’s reappearance on the Tennessee distilling scene after being closed for more than a century. Meanwhile, Jota Tanaka, master blender at Mt. Fuji Distillery, will be recapping the distillery’s 50 year history and pouring a special single grain cask sample, among others. More seminars are listed on the WhiskyFest website, with others still to be announced.
After San Francisco, WhiskyFest moves to New York on November 3. Typically the biggest of the WhiskyFest events, VIP pours include many of the same whiskies offered in San Francisco such as the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, Elijah Craig 18 year old, Michter’s 20 year old, and Calumet Farm 16 year old, in addition to those listed above and more. Folks looking to soak up some more in-depth whisky knowledge will have 12 seminars to choose from, including the aforementioned sessions led by Nelson and Tanaka, as well as others from High West, Dewar’s, Glen Moray, Keeper’s Heart, and Beam Suntory. Be sure to check the WhiskyFest website for updates leading up to the big day.
WhiskyFest New York will likewise have plenty of noteworthy whisky-makers in attendance. Compass Box lead whisky maker John Glaser will be in San Francisco and New York, pouring several of his artful blends like The Spice Tree, The Story of The Spaniard, and The Peat Monster. Those in New York will also have a chance to meet John Rempe, master distiller at Lux Row; Brian Nation, master distiller at Keeper’s Heart, Brendan Coyle, master distiller at High West; Caleb Kilburn, master distiller at Kentucky Peerless; Jared Himstedt, head distiller at Balcones; and many more.
The WhiskyFest year concludes with the first-ever event in Las Vegas on December 2. While details are still developing, we can confirm that Beam Suntory will have three seminars to choose from and will be pouring great whiskies all night including Booker’s, Little Book, and Yamazaki to name a few. All three WhiskyFest’s in fact continue to grow in scope and attendance as they draw near. Swiss single malt producer Seven Seals has signed on for San Francisco and Las Vegas; Ireland’s Hinch Distillery has signed on for San Francisco and New York; while Darren Peck, head distiller for Morris Australian single malt, will be present in San Francisco.
There is still time to purchase your tickets to all three fall WhiskyFest events, but act fast as they are selling quickly. And for those who have already purchased tickets, visit the WhiskyFest website to plan which seminars to attend, and which whiskies to go for first. Every WhiskyFest offers an abundance of whisky to discover and taste, from new expressions to full vertical flights. Come share a dram with us and see for yourself this fall.