The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2014

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14  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2014 Brief Encounters Whether THE TASTING PANEL goes to the brand execs or the brands call us, there is an abundance of news to report, from the latest releases to behind-the-scenes experiences with some of the world's most influential importers, winemakers, distillers . . . well, you name it. We may not have enough pages in each issue to devote as much attention as we would like to each person whose path we cross, but please note that if it's in the publication, we deem it noteworthy —Meridith May, Publisher & Executive Editor THE MESSAGE 14  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2014 W hen a tribute to a classic supper club in the heart of Chicago houses the world's largest selection of American whiskey, people might think something lawless is afoot. But rest assured, all is above board—or in barrel—at Untitled, a pulsating speakeasy-inspired hotspot in the trendy River North neighborhood. Hidden among the buildings, the entry is like a secret door in a haunted bookcase, but inside is a labyrinth of 18,000 square feet: five different bars, a venue for live music acts and a dining room with a menu crafted by Chef Joe Heppe that earned a Michelin Bib Gourmand. But the star of this stimulating space is the Whiskey Library, home to nearly 470 American whiskies. This collection is high- lighted by Untitled's private barrel program, with hand-selected whiskies for patrons only. The many selections are lovingly coordinated and curated by Beverage Manager Michael Karberg and Whiskey Librarian Robert Giles. "What we wanted was to create the biggest, most badass whiskey collection in the world," says Karberg. "Chicago has a very sophisticated palate. People here like hotter and spicier whiskey." The private barrel program at Untitled reflects this, with selections from Four Roses Single Barrel (Cast Strength), Henry McKenna, Elijah Craig and Oola among the standouts. "We move a lot of smaller brands, such as Oola from a small Washington State distillery, which other places wouldn't be able to move," adds Karberg. "It's a tremendous product." The Four Roses brand has also been resurgent, and Untitled is happy to oblige. There's also been a trend toward discovering American single-malt whiskey. "Single malts are big with people who like Scotch, but here, they're excited about a single malt that's American," says Giles. "Domestic single malts mostly have their [particular] flavor because the barley is roasted; there's no peat. American single malt whiskies are spreading from the smaller distilleries' geographic areas into other markets."—Tom Caestecker, Jr. "Badass" Whiskey Collection in Chicago Whiskey Librarian Robert Giles (left) and Beverage Manager Michael Karberg at Untitled. The Judgment of Encino O ur London correspondent, Steven Spurrier, and his wife, Arabella, visited THE TASTING PANEL's Los Angeles offices in early July. Spurrier had been in Los Olivos to act as Honorary Chair of the 5th Annual St. Mark's-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church Cellar Classic charity auction. During a chat over coffee, the wine legend updated us on his Dorset-based sparkling wine project, Bride Valley Vineyard (500 bottles, to be released later this year), and shared inside anecdotes about the film version of his celebrated Paris tasting (a second, more authentic film is in the works). Take that, TMZ! PHOTO: ANNA RUSSELL PHOTO: ANNA RUSSELL Left to right: Executive Editor David Gadd, Publisher and Editorial Director Meridith May, Steven and Arabella Spurrier during the Spurriers' visit to THE TASTING PANEL offices in Los Angeles. PHOTO: ANTHONY TAHLIER

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