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rwilps
10-07-2000, 09:49
Now that some of you folks may be easing out of the afterglow of this year's Bourbon Festival (damn, I wish we could have been there), maybe you could help me with Whiskeyfest 2000, at the Marriott Marquis in NY on Nov. 1. I'll be meeting my son there and we'll be staying at the Marriott itself. Because of the expense and rarity (for us) of the experience, we want to get the most we can out of it, and to be creditable representatives of straightbourbon.com. Any ideas or suggestions? I plan to concentrate on ryes and, of course, the new bourbon offerings, and I'd be most interested to meet Jim Murray, as I understand he's passionate about rye. It would be great to link up with any of you who will be there, also. Finally, any suggestions about good liquor and/or tobacco stores in the general vicinity (pipesmoking is my other hobby). Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Ralph Wilps

**DONOTDELETE**
10-09-2000, 09:02
Hi Ralph,

The Nat Sherman megastore is not too far away, then there are the Dunhill and Davidoff shops in the general vicinty. Please be advised that you will actually have to leave the floor of the Fest to partake of a smoke. Believe me, even though three and half hours sounds like a long time, you might want to think twice about taking the time away from the festivities for a smoke.

Park Ave Liquors is also within walking distance and has the finest selections of whisk(e)ys in NYC. Herb is the resident whisky maven.

I'll be concentrating on single malts, but I know that Lew will be there. Jim Murray will likely be splitting time again between the Buffalo Trace and Knappogue Castle tables.

Cheers,
Bushido

rwilps
10-09-2000, 13:20
Bushido,

Thanks for the info - we'll be looking for you, Jim and Lew to say hello. I may even try to fight my way through the crowd around the Ardbeg table - like so many others I started out with Speyside single malts, and ended up in Islay and Skye before staggering my way home to bourbon, with a detour through a puddle of Pusser's rum. Perhaps a nosing for auld lang syne...

Ralph Wilps

jvanwinkle
10-09-2000, 15:52
Ralph,
Be sure and come by my table & try my 13-year rye and a new disillation of my 20-Year "Pappy" which will be out in December of this year.

jvanwinkle
10-09-2000, 15:53
Ralph,
Be sure and come by my table & try my 13-year rye and a new disillation of my 20-Year "Pappy" which will be out in December of this year.
Regards,
Julian

rwilps
10-10-2000, 08:26
Dear Julian,

Thank you for your kind invitation - wild turkeys couldn't keep me away! I'm from the Pittsburgh area and I spend a pretty fair amount of time around Monongahela, PA. There's a little spit of land sticking out into the river there with a historical society road sign explaining that it is "Whiskey Point", where the Whiskey Rebellion was finally put down. I can envision the flatboats poling out into the river later that week, quietly drifting to the left downstream past the army camp in the night fog, the dull shine of copper stills and coils hidden by quilts and bundles. Those freemen distillers and their families were headed for Kentucky, leaving old man Overholt on the bluff behind, he of the church connections and the hidden still. I am looking forward to tasting a rye that honors our land and the libertarian values which ultimately brought forth bourbon from the softer bluegrass which welcomed these refugees.

Ralph Wilps

**DONOTDELETE**
10-12-2000, 16:59
Ralph,

The smart money is on the Aberlour table. Neil MacDonald will be bringing some superlative not-available-in-the-US whiskies like the Special Reserve (French Market only). If you enjoy a good Speysider, don't pass up Aberlour.

Interestingly enough, my personal journey through the whisky world has lead me back to scottish blends. I was very intrigued by Jim Murray's article in the latest MA issue. Finally, a topic on which we can agree! (please leave me out of the Ardbeg discussions). We should plan to meet up during the 'Fest. RU entering early with the rest of us?

Sláinte,
Bushido

rwilps
10-13-2000, 08:02
Bushido,

My son and I will be entering at 6 with the rest of the MAWS and media folks. Since, as I said, we've never been to one of these before I'd love to hook up with you for a few tips on getting the most from the evening, and also to put a face with the words I've enjoyed over the past few months (I've got your stylish site bookmarked). If you have any suggestions where and when to do so without intruding on your plans, then let us know.

Aberlour, eh? I remember it from years ago as a complex whisky which was being pitched by its importers as a bargain-priced "sleeper". A cask-strength bottling would be fascinating to taste.

In anticipation,
Ralph Wilps

**DONOTDELETE**
10-16-2000, 09:52
Ralph,

The first time is pretty daunting. You don't know where to go first and what to do next. To get the most out of it, try to do a little bit of everything the first time out. Look at the speaker's list and do attend a presentation that interests you. It is an incredible opportunity to learn from the masters. I am sad to see that Richard Paterson from Dalmore is not on the speaker's list for NYC this year. His presentation/competition on blends was a highlight during my first year.

Do plan on targeting a booth from a distillery that you have an interest in. It is an unparalleled chance to ask probing questions and give your opinions in an informal atmosphere with the master blenders and distillery managers who shape the future of the products we all enjoy.

Make a checklist of whisk(e)ys that you want to sample. Take advantage of the early entry to hit the most popular destinations before the huddled masses are released.

Finally, it is not explicitly stated, but most everyone will be wearing business attire or business casual. I was *extremely* casual on my first go round and felt a little uncomfortable.

I will be meeting several folks there, but I always have time to make a new friend. Email me off-list and I'm sure we can arrange a time and place to chat for a bit.

Cheers,

Bushido

jbare
11-07-2000, 09:24
Hey Ralph,

Tell us about Whiskeyfest NY - did ya have anything spectacular? I'll be attending Chicago and I need to know.

Joe

**DONOTDELETE**
01-13-2001, 20:20
Hi Ralph,

Last I heard you, Bushido, Lew Bryson, Julian, and others were making plans for the Whiskeyfest 2000 shindig in N'Yuck in November. Then... nothing. Did you guys all take the Amelia Earheart flight or something?

Whiskeyfest 2001 in Chi-Chi-Chicago is coming up (in Ma-Ma-March - Brrrr) and I'm curious as to what sort of event it will be. What was the one you went to like? Is a four-hour bourbon festival sufficient? Are there other events not in the advertising that would make an interesting couple days out of it? And are you planning to ever do THAT again? How about in March?


=John=
http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

kitzg
01-14-2001, 08:31
I had similar questions. I am actually holding hotel reservations for Chicago but then realized that the event was only four hours (the promise of 200 whiskies is somewhat reduced when you realize you have only 4 hrs. to attempt to drink a few). Then I considered the total cost (hotel, travel, dinner,etc.) and the Ky Bourbon Festival (for which I also am holding reservations for 2001) seems like such a better deal. Not to mention the fact that the IRS shakes all of the money out of my pockets and more in April and I'd better be prepared for them. Greg

rwilps
01-14-2001, 12:52
Hi guys!

We didn't take the Amelia Earhart flight - I just came back from Whiskyfest 2000 to get tangled in some family medical problems (which bourbon helped immensely to address!). This might be a good time to ramble on a bit about Whiskyfest, from the perspective of a couple of months' distance. For me, the experience was inextricably interwoven with meeting my son (who drove in from New Hampshire) and having a now-rare stretch of 2 days of time together, and also with the extraordinary expense (for me, at least) and sensory barrage of staying at the Marriott Marquis and sharing the whole Manhattan thing with my son. But let me try to give you a few impressions of the event itself, from a first-time participant.

Whiskyfest appeared to be beautifully organized, with a main ballroom area in which 50 or so tables were set up and manned (or ladied) by distillery or distributor folks, and 4 or 5 smaller "breakout" seminar rooms. The preliminary brochure laid it all out so we could plan our experience. It helped that I decided to join the Malt Advocate Whisky Society, because we were allowed to go in at 6 PM, before the crush, along with the press. That was the best time, since we could get in to sample the "showstoppers" (Aberlour "Abunadh", Sazerac rye, the old Pappys, etc.). I (and my son, after some good-natured wrangling with the nice MAWS lady) were both issued "gift bags" (or press kits), with some organic shortbread, whisky miniatures, distillery brochures, and commemorative nosing glasses. The use of nosing glasses was a little unclear to me - each table had a supply of Scottish Highland Spring water and a big bucket. The first time I sampled a whisky (a highbrow Scotch close to the door) and spit into the bucket, I was gently informed that the bucket was there for me to dump the leftover sample from the glass, and the water was to rinse the nosing glass out. Yours truly apologizes, explains that he's a bourbon lover requiring certain allowances, and shambles on.

The time between 6 and 6:30 was the highlight of the evening for me. I had a chance to meet Mr. Jimmy Russell and Eddie Russell, and especially Mr. Jimmy took the leisurely Kentucky time to listen to me about the personal value his efforts have had for me. We had some nice technical discussion about the "vatting" process used for Rare Breed, and I really enjoyed the 10 yr. old Russell's Reserve, which has the oaky core of the now Japan-bound 12 yr. old, but with more of the mellowness of Kentucky Spirit.

Another high point was also about people - it was our chance to meet Julian Van Winkle and Sally Campbell Van Winkle. They were warm and obviously enthusiastic about their attendance, and I was treated like a long-lost pen pal when I mentioned straightbourbon.com. I bought Sally's book and prize it for the autograph as well as its contents (I also have a beautiful 8x11 photo of Jimmy Russell holding up a glass of Russell's Reserve to the light, autographed by him in gold ink, no less).

After a few samples, I began to get into my expansive mode, and had fun describing straightbourbon.com to one of the "suits" from Jim Beam. After I complimented him on the company's commitment to preserving archaic mashbills, he listened carefully as I encouraged an upgrade of Jim Beam rye to 100 proof, etc. By that time, after a few more samples, the ballroom was filling up (there were nearly 1000 people there at the height), so we tried the buffet. Big disappointment, guys - your basic cheese and fancy dips, crudites, and a couple hot pasta dishes which my kid said were good. No tables, so we balanced little saucers on the rail overlooking the hotel lobby and ate there.

Then we sat in on lectures - my son and I both listened to Fritz Maytag's fascinating archeological discussion about Colonial ryes and the use of uncharred barrels, with illuminating samples (I'll pass on the Old Potrero, at least as long as it's aged in uncharred barrels - it reminds me of a rum agricole - all raw and estery). Then my son peeled off to go up to our room (kids!) and I sat in on the Russell lecture. Wonderful samples (all of which I had earlier tried), and a chance to listen again to a man who is pure pleasure to be around. The level of the audience was varied - it ranged from one guy who kept arguing with Jimmy that Jack Daniels WAS bourbon, to a reserved gentleman in a formal kilt who sat beside me, looking dubious at his first proferred sample of standard WT, whose one eyebrow lifted increasingly with each new iteration, and who stared at the glass of 12 yr. old with something like awe. I didn't get to any other lectures - it was more fun to round out my sampling, particularly with the marvelous Sazerac Rye, its towering cousin from Julian, and the wonderful Pappy bourbons. I think the Van Winkles saw me by that time as a well-meaning but not-very-intelligent house guest who stays a bit too long! By that time things were winding down - I chatted with a young man who is the major force behind alcoholreviews.com, and we were both at that blearily earnest stage... Then upstairs to think it through, have a pipe and then to bed.

My thoughts - first, you're right - it's an awfully short time to do a great deal, and Bushido was accurate when he said it would be overwhelming. The chance to sample great whiskeys was diminished by the blur of activity - I'm sure that my comparisons were only cartoonish because of the range of tastes I blurred through. The overall experience was positive, but I'm not sure I would want to spend approx. $1500.00 again for the whiskey part. Maybe in a few years, when I know more and have had a couple of Bourbon Festivals in the interim.

Advice - dress is business suit or dress or neat pants suit for ladies. Get there early, and pick out the seminars I haven't gone to so you can post all about them and I can read them! Take some time to get away from the crush with a particularly interesting sample to give it a chance - I didn't, and I feel cheated. Try a couple of cask strength Scotches - at least you'll see what the rest of the world is doing with bourbon barrels. Also set up a theme for yourself - I used rye as my structure for the evening. Eat lightly (that won't be hard), and stay at the hotel if you can. It's nice to be able to take a brief rest in your room, and you don't have to have a deprived designated driver moping around.

I'm not sure all this is a help - I wish I were a more experienced, more knowledgeable bourbonian, so I could really give you ideas. Maybe if you asked me specific questions something else would float to the surface.

Ralph

**DONOTDELETE**
01-14-2001, 16:56
Ralph did I read you right? You spent *** One Thousand - Five Hundred Dollars *** on whiskey?! Oh Man! If I had it I'd do it too!

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

rwilps
01-14-2001, 18:03
Linn,

Don't I wish I had $1500 to spend on good whiskey! No, I spent $1500 on Whiskyfest 2000 - the room alone was $450/night, and my son and I had a reasonable meal at the hotel restaurant - which, granted, was on top of the building and rotated to show the whole vista of Manhattan, and during which I had a double Booker's and Aidan had a double Knob Creek - but still, a $185 tab without dessert or tip... You see what I mean. I did come back with a bottle of Kentucky Spirit, though. Maybe I should have just told my son to meet me in Virginia - do you think you and Vicky could have given us a better time for 2 days for less (just kidding, though I envy your lifestyle, for sure)?

Ralph

**DONOTDELETE**
01-14-2001, 20:59
Ralph,

We have over 200 bottles of American whiskey, of which you may taste any you'd like. We don't have seminars by Jimmy Russell or Elmer Lee here, but we have a library with articles by and about them. We have a singing fish mounted on the wall in the bar (I'll be you won't find THAT at the Marriott Marquis!) . We have a magnificent guest room which is slightly larger than the queen bed it contains and looks out over the entire greater driveway area. In our dining facilities, overlooking a small television set and multilevel cat playground, you can enjoy haute cuisine cooked to perfection, as well as less formal fare available whenever you'd care to get up and get it yourself. Double, and even triple, Bookers' is available and after consuming one you may notice that our dining room, too, may appear to rotate. If you are planning a trip to the Bourbon Country and your route takes you down I-71 through Cincinnati, be sure to let us know and plan an extra day. I think we can get you in for substantially less than $1500.

I also think that we can find better things to do in March than freeze our tushes off in Chicago attending the Whiskeyfest 2001 show. Chicago is cheaper than the Big Apple, but not that much. I think the Whiskeyfest shows are much better for those who simply have no way to attend the Kentucky Bourbon Festival (or travel to Scotland, since that's probably the biggest focus of those shows anyway). For us lucky ones (and Pittsburg is certainly within reach) there's no comparison. Of course, like the Black Tie Gala at the Bardstown affair (which costs $125 each for your four hours and cold food as opposed to $85), the best way to see it is on someone's expense account and many who work in the industry or report on it or are buyers for major customers get to do all that for free. If you don't make it out sooner, I sure hope to see you there in September!

=John=
http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

**DONOTDELETE**
01-15-2001, 05:02
Ralph I'm in shock! $450 a night! Vickie and I spent about $450 for four nights in Kentucky and all meals. We brought home 22 bottles of bourbon for about $600. A couple of bottles never made it out of Kentucky. You might envy my slow & easy southern lifestyle, but you wouldn't envy my low working class income!

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

Ken Weber
01-15-2001, 06:50
I have been reading your accounts of WhiskeyFest and must admit I agree. We have to go and do the press, PR, and schmoozing thing. With all of the products there, it is impossible to sample very many, though some folks obviously tried! I just figured that you have a good product when you see the same people making return visits to your table. But then you realize they are asking the same questions as before. I suppose they just forgot where they had been.
The seminars are truly outstanding. As much as some folks are into marketing, it is great to hear Jimmy and Elmer talk. If you remember the old tv show, "The Guns of Will Sonnet", the big line was, "No brag, just fact." Well that is the way the master distillers are. They tell you the truth with no pretense. They always relate interesting distilling ideas they came up with that fell flatter than a pancake. They are real people of extraordinary accomplishment.
If you go, I would recommend having a nice dinner before, attend those seminars which sound appealing, and DO NOT try to sample everyone's wears. Pick your spots, talk to the people at the tables, do they really know what they are talking about? Try to compare like products. I spoke with several people who were comparing our Sazerac Rye to Julian's and Fritz'. We compared notes and I was constantly asked which rye was better. I will never say our's is, for taste, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
Perhaps we can organize a tasting and round table discussion at this year's Bourbon Festival. Entrance could be gained by bringing you favorite bottle of bourbon and sharing it with all present. I might be able to furnish the mansion or clubhouse at Buffalo Trace, tasting glasses, buckets, water, appetizers, and possibly some unusual offerings. Our distillery is about an hour or so away from Bardstown, so I don't know if that presents a problem. Let me know what you folks think.

Ken

**DONOTDELETE**
01-15-2001, 07:55
Oh Baby Oh Baby! I just wish I could bring the band! Party Time U.S.A.!

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

bourbonmed
01-15-2001, 09:14
Ken said "I might be able to furnish the mansion or clubhouse at Buffalo Trace, tasting glasses, buckets, water, appetizers and possibly some unusual offerings."

Now THAT, my fellow bourbonians, is true hospitality. To say nothing of sheer marketing genius. As MashBill says...Damn, September is a long ways off.

Ken, maybe you can work something out with the festival planners for a shuttle bus roundtrip from Bardstown, perhaps an afternoon trip. I got a feeling this would be the most popular "excursion" of the entire fest.

Wouldn't it be great if other distilleries did the same?

Omar

MashBill
01-15-2001, 17:34
Ken,
YOU'RE TORTURING ME! STOP! PLEASE STOP!

Seriously, what a great offer! An hour isn't too much for me to drive! I'm going to the BourbonFest solo, so I can fit at least 4 more in my car. (6 more if 2 don't mind riding in the trunk of an old Lincoln Continental! /wwwthreads/images/wink.gif)

With this kind of offer, I'll have to wear 2 pair of pants, as you may blow off one pair. (Right, Linn?)


Bill
http://home.kc.rr.com/mashbill/

**DONOTDELETE**
01-15-2001, 21:14
Bill this just goes to show that mom was right when she told us to make sure to ware clean underware whenever you're going out! Spare pants are always a good idea.

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

Ken Weber
01-16-2001, 06:41
Omar,
I was thinking the same thing about a shuttle from Bardstown. Rather than open this to everyone, I would prefer to make it a straightbourbon.com affair at first. If it works, we can talk about opening it to more folks. How do you suggest we take reservations for this?

Ken

bourbonmed
01-16-2001, 11:01
Ken,

My first thought is to start a "2001 Stony Point Excursion" thread. I'll bet we can get 20-30 people from this forum right away. You may have to limit admission to 50, which is what a full size bus holds. I don't have a schedule of events for Bardstown 2001, but a mid-day, mid-festival treat should work even with late arrivals. Just pick a date and watch us sign up. A well known hotel or landmark, like the Whiskey Museum, could serve as pick-up/drop off area. Please add my name to the list.

Omar

Ken Weber
01-18-2001, 13:22
Omar,
Good idea. I would like to keep this a little more intimate, say 15 people. I think sipping some interesting bourbons and talking with Elmer would be better in a smaller group. Since I travel quite a bit, perhaps you can take the lead on selecting a date and a list of attendees.

Ken