Yesterday Melissa and I attended Julio’s Liquor’s annual Whiskey-a-Gogo. It’s a free event…FREE. Who could say no to free whiskey?
As you can see, the event was very popular. The line moved quick though and we only had to stand outside for ~20 minutes.
Once inside there was all kinds of shit going on. Lots of people that appeared to be straight off the boat from Scotland. There were hired bagpipers, although there were FAR more people from the general public wearing kilts than there were hired kilt-wearers.
We tried a bunch of different whiskeys – whiskey proper, scotch, and bourbon. Now, I didn’t take great notes, but I do know which ones we REALLY liked and the ones we REALLY disliked. Below I try to capture what we tried and what we thought.
Unsure of where to start, Melissa jumped right in, basically making a b-line for a random table. We tried Willett Pot Still. I remembering it being just OK.
I ran into a LIBA reader at the event who recommended we try Noah’s Mill. It was good stuff…I thought it had an interesting fruit/peachy aftertaste.
I should mention that running into the aforementioned reader (Greg) was a “celebrity” moment for me. Greg and I have never met, but he recognized me and came up to me saying “are you Lost in the Beer Aisle?”…cool.
I spent a few minutes talking to the rep from Macallan. I tried the 10 year, the 12 year, and the 15 year. The 15 year (fine oak) was one of our favorite of the afternoon. I liked the 10 as well, but Melissa thought it was too mild.
My college buddy Andy is a big whiskey & scotch fan. Years ago he tried to get me into the “art” of drinking the stuff; I wasn’t able to appreciate it at the time.
As we recently started to dabble, Andy provided us some suggestions. One of his favorite go-to Irish whiskeys is Knappogue Castle. We tried two variations:
* The 1994. –> We were not huge fans.
* The 12 year barrel aged version. –> Very good.
Glenfiddich is a scotch that we see in bars all the time but had yet to try. I learned that their line is aged in various combinations of sherry, rum, and bourbon casks. The “21” is aged in Cuban rum barrels.
We tried the 12 year, 18 year, and 21 year. I’m a huge fan of spiced rum, so the 21 was DAMN good to me. Too bad the stuff is $200 a bottle. I liked it, but I didn’t like it THAT much.
Melissa and I agreed that the 18 was also very good – it’s also much closer to an acceptable price point.
At a certain point we ran out of distilleries that had heard of before, so it was time to start guessing. Laphroaig sounded like a cool name, so we gave their cask strength scotch a go. Peaty, cigar, dirt, moss, smokey flavors. *cough* *wheeze* Gross. Not our kinda scotch. We even had to switch out our tasting glass because we couldn’t get rid of the flavors even with rinsing!
Melissa ended up burping the stuff for hours afterwards.
Next up in the “pick a random booth” tour was Bruichladdich for a try of their 16 yr Bourbon Cask. Another decent drink although it didn’t knock my socks off.
Finally, we tried Gordon & MacPhail’s “Imperial Port Finish 15 year”. I didn’t get a picture of this, which I regret. The stuff was tasty and had a clean and refreshing fruity/berry flavored finish.
We ended up cutting ourselves off after sharing around 15 samples. Some folks may have shown up to get wrecked, however we were there to try new stuff and find a liquor we both liked and would be willing to buy a bottle of. I don’t think we’ve decided which booze was the winner, but we will have a much easier time next time we hit up Julio’s to buy whiskey.
The event was a really good time for novices and experts alike. If you’re new to whiskey like me, I recommend going to try new stuff and ask questions. The vendors were REALLY nice to me when I walked up and said “I’m new to whiskey, tell me about what you offer”.
We will definitely attending the Whiskey-a-Gogo next year!