The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2011

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Page 32 of 132

The Nth 2011 Universal Whisk(e)y Experience BROWN SPIRITS WERE THE WINNING GAME AT THIS LAS VEGAS EVENT by E. C. Gladstone A Frequent competition winner Patricia Richards, the Wynn Resorts’ in-house Master Mixologist, presented a whisky cocktail-making session, o≠ ering a chance for participants to shake it up with her, using recipes she created for the properties’ restaurants (I made a Kentucky Tea with Wild Turkey 101, though the Heritage Sour using Basil Hayden’s was my favorite). mong spirits drinkers, none are more passionate than lovers of whis- kies, whether bourbons, scotches or resurging ryes. So The Nth: The Universal Whisk(e)y Experience held at the Wynn Resort, Las Vegas in March, was not merely “The World’s First Premiere Luxury Show”; it was a veritable gathering of the faithful. Considering the city’s category-killing collections at Craftsteak (some 150 scotches), RiRa (ditto, Irish whiskies) and Twin Creeks (dozens of bourbons), not to mention UNLV Professor Adam Carmer’s Whisky Attic (the largest collection of whiskies in the country—over 500), one couldn’t imagine a better setting west of Islay for the weekend, divided between a Grand Tasting, themed presentations and brand-based master classes. At the Grand Tasting were gathered dozens of distilled malts from around the world, though a hefty repre- sentation of Scotland’s 100 distilleries was certainly dominant. Among the men in kilts and women in slinky cocktail dresses was much discussion of barley, peat, copper, oak (the eternal link—former American bourbon casks are typically used to age Glenfi ddich Ambassador Mitch Bechard with The Dalmore Master Distiller Richard Paterson and Ian Millar, Glenfi ddich Global Ambassador. Rick Edwards of The Glenlivet. Scotch whisky) as tastings were shared in special Glencairn glasses. Highlights for this taster included Glenfi ddich’s disaster-recovered Snow Phoenix, Springbank 18 Year Old, Hibiki 12 Year Old Blended from Japan, Dewar’s Signature and Aberfeldy 21 Year Old, Ardbeg (and its intriguing Highland bretheren, AnCnoc and Balblair year-designated single malts), Highland Park, Old Putney, Laphroaig, India’s Amrut, and Kentucky’s A. H. Hirsch. Several 40-year-plus vintages were sampled sparingly, though perhaps none garnered more interest than the premier release of 70-year-old Glenlivet 1940. Memorable moments included a tasting of rare 17-year-olds distinguished by their aging casks, presented by The Balvenie’s ambassadors, the charm- ing Nicholas Pollacchi and unassuming Dr. Samuel Simmons, and a tasting of Park City, Utah’s remarkably unique High West bottlings, including their unaged “Silver” Western Oat, Bourbon-Rye blend and High Country single malt, led by proprietor-blender David Perkins. Appreciation, knowledge and enjoyment were all poured as liberally as the liquid. 32 / the tasting panel / may 201 1

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