If you are whisky or bourbon drinker and have yet to check out Whisky Fest SHAME, SHAME on you but hey you might not have known about it and that is what I am here for! To inform you! This is likely my 5th year here and it is always a great time! WhiskyFest™, the leading whisky festival in North America, offers you the opportunity to taste from a selection of more than 300 whiskies from around the world. Interested in learning more about Whisky? There are several seminars to take advantage of. Seminars are included in the price of your ticket, and seating is on a first come basis.
Hyatt Regency Chicago
Friday, April 21st 2017
Grand Tasting — 6:30 – 9:30 PM, VIP 5:30 PM
Seminars by Master Distillers and Brand Ambassadors — 7:00 PM, 7:45 PM, 8:30 PM
This year they introduced a new and improved WhiskyFest app which is incredibly useful you can highlight the brands and seminars you want to check out and even set a reminder alert for them! You also get the opportunity to connect with fellow attendees too.
Upon entering there are a few signs that will help you locate your favorite brand or one you might want to try out or you can just check out the guide book that will be in the bag they give you upon checking in. Now if you are here for the VIP portion you get an additional hour of tasting and mingling I highly recommend it! You get the opportunity to try a few exclusive brands which might be gone by the time the general admission opens up. Most importantly pace yourself and make sure you EAT there is a HUGE gourmet buffet with a wide variety of options to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters!
Personally, I was uber excited to check out Gardner Dunn, East Coast Brand Ambassador for Beam Suntory he presented Sakura Hibiki Experience. This is where we learned about the deconstruction of Hibiki as we walked through the seasons of Japan and enjoyed the special blend of The House of Suntory; a combination of Yamazaki, Hakushu and their single grain distillery, Chita. It was both tasty and educational!
Back to the event so maybe in prior years I did not notice this but there were a couple “drinking clubs” yes almost like a fraternity BUT for Whisky! These guys were either outfitted in a sharp preppy blazer with a Whisky Wolfpack crest on their pockets or then there was the Jamesville Bottle club that were adorned in gold sweaters and YES they too have their own crest as well! I loved the comradery that they had, funny part I cannot forget to share Jamesville had a pledge with them he had NOT gotten to sweater status so he was wearing a huge gold tank top over his shirt! LOL I am still laughing at him.
I enjoyed checking out a few new brands as well one in particular from the same people who make the Drew Estate cigars has now jumped in the Rye game! Yep John Drew Rye Toasted Oak Barrel and it was extremely smooth! The rep said it arrives here in Chicago in June I will definitely be interested in checking it out!
Know this, please do yourself a favor and set a reminder because this event SELLS out months ahead of the actual event! Check out the website and sign up for the newsletter so you can be in the KNOW!