It’s hard to believe, but there’s less than a month to go until this year’s Whisky & Fine Spirit’s Expo on Friday, October 4th. One of my favorite parts of the Expo is always the VIP session, which allows attendees to sample some of the world’s finest and rarest spirits– products you might not otherwise ever taste and that are not on offering during the General Admission session. I have been studying that list all morning and here are a few of the gems that I definitely will be looking to try.
Bruichladdich 21 Year Old Cuvee Series Single Malt Scotch – Everybody who knows me knows that I have always been a huge fan of the Bruichladdich Distillery and its exceptional malt whiskies. My love affair with Bruichladdich only intensified after meeting Jim McEwan, Master Distiller, on my 2012 visit to the distillery on the isle of Islay. These guys do whisky and they do it well. The three whiskies in this very limited series have been aged in first-fill bourbon casks before being finished in select wine casks from Bordeaux.
Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey – If there is one Irish whiskey that you try, it should be this one. Barry Crockett, Master Distiller at the Midleton Distillery in my hometown of Co. Cork, is regarded by many as the man who put Irish whiskey back on the map. Created by Barry and his team, this very limited release bottling of older pot still whiskies, ranging in age from 12 to 22 years old, made its initial debut last year and has been collecting awards ever since, including a 94-point rating from Jim Murray’s 2013 Whisky Bible. Now that Barry has retired from the distilling business, there is no doubt that this bottling has already become a collector’s item.
Glenfiddich 19 Year Old Age of Discovery – The beauty of the Whisky & Fine Spirits Expo is that the spirit companies see this event as an ideal venue to launch new products onto the market. William Grant & Sons, owners of Glenfiddich and Balvenie, will unveil two new whiskies on the night. The Glenfiddich Age of Discovery is a Madeira wine cask finished whisky that pays homage to the Portugese explorers of the 15th century. It is the first 19 year old whisky to be released from Glenfiddich and promises to be exceptional. I have a soft spot for whiskies aged in Madeira casks, as Madeira tends to bring out the best in a whisky without dominating the whisky’s distinctive house style. Expect to see me at this table!
Laurent Cazottes Greengage Eau-De-Vie – Wow! This stuff is amazing. I had the opportunity to try this eau-de-vie with Sommelier Arthur Black a few weeks ago and I can’t wait for you to try it. This Greengage plum brandy is probably the best fruit brandy I have ever tasted. The spirit is an absolute delight to the senses, with the essence of the fruit in its purest form on the nose and an ever changing aroma as the spirit opens up in the glass. Nicolas Palazzi, a.k.a. the ‘Cask Hunter,’ is the importer for this very unique spirit and an excellent guide to the lesser-known brandies from France and Spain; Nicolas will be at the Expo to introduce you to this truly fine spirit.
A. E. Dor XO Fine Champagne Cognac – A.E. Dor practices aging in both humid and dry cellars and this 25 year old cognac is an absolute treat. It has a beautifully delicate bouquet while at the same time being full and rounded on the palate. It has a gorgeously silky texture with a crème brûlée finish. If you have never tasted a good cognac before, let this be your first. Thibault Feniou from A. E. Dor will be on hand to guide you through what makes their cognacs so special.
I look forward to seeing you at this year’s event.