putting the “world” into whisky day

Saturday May 18th, is just around the corner and we are gearing up for another great event at Vine & Table. If you can remember back to last year’s event, then you will know that we had an incredible selection of whiskies available to enjoy.

World-Whisky-Day-Logo-2013This year’s list is impressive, even by my standards, with depth and breadth to the selections and a HUGE WHISKY SALE, the likes of which this state has never seen! I am still working on the details and no doubt will be right up until the last minute, but I can give you a hint of what to expect.

SCOTLAND – The home of single malt Scotch will be well represented again this year with a special nod to one of Speyside’s best kept secrets. The Benriach Distillery was one of the highlights of my recent trip to Scotland for what has become Vine & Table’s Annual Single Malt Scotch Cask Whisky Program.  A tour of this distillery and a subsequent tasting of their new make and aging stocks leads me to believe that this is a distillery to watch. This whisky is fantastic and if you haven’t heard of it up till now then you will on May 18th because we are all about it. The Benriach is classic Speyside malt whisky which is incredibly drinkable, which is evident in the 12 and 16 year old ex-bourbon casks. Billy Walker and his team have been playing around with ACE’ing (Additional Cask Enhancement) techniques and the new 15 year old malts in this series will be sampled on the day. And for those who like a dose of peat smoke in your whisky, well we have that too! Benriach makes a heavily peated single malt which is a must for Islay fans.

JAPAN – World Whisky Day would not be the same unless we tipped our hats to the founder of Japan’s single malt whisky industry. In 1919 Masataka Taketsuru from Hiroshima spent the summer at Glasgow University in Scotland where he studied chemistry. He travelled extensively within Scotland and spent time working at various distilleries including Bowmore on Islay and Hazleburn in Campbletown. Upon his return to Japan in 1934 he founded his own distilling company and called it Nikka. Taketsuru died in 1979 but his whisky lives on in the 12 year old Pure Malt which we will sample. This malt is a treat as it has just recently arrived to the U.S. for the very first time.

FRANCE – If you think that the only spirit to come out of France is Cognac then you may need to have yourself a little rethink.  Bastille 1789 is a French blended whisky which just received rave reviews at the recent WhiskyFest in Chicago. The whisky is produced in the Cognac region of France, but that is where the similarity ends. It is produced from malted barley and wheat, distilled in an alembic pot still and aged in oak, cherry and acacia casks. The result is a whisky that is malty, fruity, spicy, slightly sweet and thoroughly enjoyable.

U.S.A. – The bourbon category is on fire right now so there will be no shortage of quality whiskies from Kentucky and further afield. Expect to see the Reverend Elijah Craig in attendance along with his good friend Evan Williams, Old Pogue, Bernheim Wheat, Jeffersons Bourbons, Buffalo Trace, Blanton’s, Jim Beam and many more. I also expect a raft of new American craft distiller’s products at the event.
And that’s just for starters!

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 Vine & Table #301