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  1. #1
    Connoisseur
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    Nov 2010
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    Indianapolis
    Posts
    586

    WhiskyFest Chicago: Any Advice For A Newbie?

    Good afternoon gentlemen!

    With WhiskyFest Chicago right around the corner, I was wondering if any of you had some good advice for a newbie? It'll be my first MA event and I'm pretty friggin' stoked!

    So far, I've printed out the whisky list and am combing through it trying to formulate a game plan. I have a VIP ticket and it's my understanding that the VIP choices are only available for the first hour. Therefore, I'm creating a "ranking list" of the VIP-only whiskies that I wish to try. I'm trying to start with the light, floral Speysiders first and leave the heavy hitting Bourbons and Islays last. Is this a good idea?

    Also, Tom and I will be attending the Binny's event the night before. Anything else outside of WhiskyFest I should look into? Tom mentioned an Ardbeg event the following day. Still looking for details on that.

    So what can I expect when I get there? A mob scene? A mad scramble that will make Black Friday jealous? Lol

    As always, any help and advice would be great! And try to keep the snarky "forget about the darkside and head straight for the bourbon" advice to a minimum. :-D :-D :-D

    Cheers!

    Josh

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Josh

    "The last time I turned down a whiskey, I didnít understand the question."

  2. #2
    Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    2,016

    Re: WhiskyFest Chicago: Any Advice For A Newbie?

    My advice is spit, drink lots of water, and pace yourself.

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,656

    Re: WhiskyFest Chicago: Any Advice For A Newbie?

    There are a lot of people but it's a pretty easy-going atmosphere.

    Pick and attend one or two of the seminars. It's worth the time and a nice break.

    The show is plenty long enough and you'll be fatigued but sated by the end.

    As Lost Pollito says, it's a marathon not a sprint. Eat!

    Don't let the quest to maximize your tasting cause you to neglect opportunities for conversation.

    Your taste buds can handle just so much. After that you're just drinking anyway, so relax and enjoy it.

  4. #4
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    870

    Re: WhiskyFest Chicago: Any Advice For A Newbie?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lost Pollito View Post
    My advice is spit, drink lots of water, and pace yourself.
    Are you indicating that some people don't pace themselves and might over imbibe ?

    I'm leaving Barb at the hotel this year so that I won't be forced to consume any of her unfinished glasses (Chuck, seminars can help one pace themselves or destroy the person who drinks most of another person's pours).

    I am pleased to report that although I don't remember much after the Ardbeg seminar at Chicago (including getting a Whistlepig glass from Dave Pickerall, talking excessively to Joe and Brett at the end of the night, walking to my room, or many other things my wife loves to report) I did redeem myself at NYC WhiskyFest in Nov and had a enjoyable night, had some readable notes, and managed to walk from Times Square to Union Station and catch the right train back to Connecticut.

    Tom

  5. #5
    Disciple
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    1,537

    Re: WhiskyFest Chicago: Any Advice For A Newbie?

    Quote Originally Posted by MacinJosh View Post
    Good afternoon gentlemen!

    With WhiskyFest Chicago right around the corner, I was wondering if any of you had some good advice for a newbie? It'll be my first MA event and I'm pretty friggin' stoked!

    So far, I've printed out the whisky list and am combing through it trying to formulate a game plan. I have a VIP ticket and it's my understanding that the VIP choices are only available for the first hour. Therefore, I'm creating a "ranking list" of the VIP-only whiskies that I wish to try. I'm trying to start with the light, floral Speysiders first and leave the heavy hitting Bourbons and Islays last. Is this a good idea?

    Also, Tom and I will be attending the Binny's event the night before. Anything else outside of WhiskyFest I should look into? Tom mentioned an Ardbeg event the following day. Still looking for details on that.

    So what can I expect when I get there? A mob scene? A mad scramble that will make Black Friday jealous? Lol

    As always, any help and advice would be great! And try to keep the snarky "forget about the darkside and head straight for the bourbon" advice to a minimum. :-D :-D :-D

    Cheers!

    Josh

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    My snarky advice is that I love your plan. Please visit as many Speysiders as you can during VIP hour, so that the line I'm in will be shorter.

  6. #6
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    176

    Re: WhiskyFest Chicago: Any Advice For A Newbie?

    If you do go, track me down and say "hi" if you see me. I'll be strolling around. And have a great time!
    Publisher and Editor of Whisky Advocate magazine.

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Kentucky!
    Posts
    4,750

    Re: WhiskyFest Chicago: Any Advice For A Newbie?

    I've attended once, a long time ago. Pick one seminar to go to. The year I went Fritz was there, one of the most enjoyable talks I've ever heard.

    Other than that, try to pace yourself, but have a ride or cab fare planned in advance.
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

    As long as you have good whiskey you're not "unemployed", you're "Funemployed!!!"

    I'm no Pappyophile

  8. #8
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    469

    Re: WhiskyFest Chicago: Any Advice For A Newbie?

    Don't kill yourself at Binny's - it's *almost* as good as WF. Brett & Joe knock it out of the park - but you don't want to kill your liver & stomach the night before.

    *MY* experience with the "VIP" stuff (I didn't have that ticket last year) was that if you engage and interact with the people at the booths, they'll still pour you the premium stuff from under the table - but only if they know you are interested/really care.

    I can't suggest strongly enough that you spend some good time with the artisan distillers - they were grouped off together. Most of those offerings you won't be able to taste for years - if ever - outside of their locales. And there are some amazing offerings (some duds, too, though).

    Special tips:
    1) Spit - a lot. I know it kills me, too, but otherwise you'll be wasted
    2) Drink tons of water
    3) Eat before you go - but nothing super spicey that will kill your palate
    4) Eat while you are there - an amazing buffet spread
    5) Drink tons of water
    6) Spit - A lot

    Spit & water - otherwise you get wasted. That said, I'd guess you can reasonably taste and get nuances on the first 10-15 things you taste. Beyond that point you'll be able tell an Islay Scotch from a Bourbon, but that's about it. Watch the ABV - we (stupidly) started the night with WLW & GTS - neat- from the BT folks. Oops. Took 20 minutes to get our tongues back.

    Seminars are great - you can try cool stuff, learn things, and it's a break from the bustle of the floor. The first 30 minutes are very "rushed," but people chill, start to get imbibed, and slow down realizing nobody is running out of anything - so just be aware the lines for the "good stuff" are longest at first.

    Hope that helps - I reread this and wish like the dickens somebody had told me that info before I went last year.

    Oh - the Ardbeg thing: It's a tasting of the new Alligator expression. Last year's Roller Coaster event was top-notch. I was terribly hung-over, however...

    Here's the sign-up link:
    https://www.mhusa.com/projects/ardbe...n2011/form.asp

    Enjoy - I'm jealous, as I won't be attending this year

  9. #9
    Taster
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Quad Cities, Illinois
    Posts
    93

    Re: WhiskyFest Chicago: Any Advice For A Newbie?

    When do you guys think is the best time to stop by Binny's? Day of? The next day? Do you have anything special planned Lost Pollito?

    The Delilah's after party sounds fun. I think me and my buddy will be going to that. Hopefully its not too packed.

  10. #10
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    870

    Re: WhiskyFest Chicago: Any Advice For A Newbie?

    John, or anyone else that might know, is there going to be a Charity table at this event? The one at NYC WhiskyFest was excellent.

    Tom

 

 

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