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  1. #1

    WhiskeyFest question (e.g. is it worthwhile)

    I recently got into Scotch and Bourbon and was thinking of hitting Whiskeyfest this year. However, I noticed that rather than a 1 or 2 day affair, it was essentially a 3-4 hour block of time on a Friday.

    My question is this:
    How worthwhile/enjoyable is it if you're trying to cram all the different tastings you want into such a small block of time?

    I'd imagine getting sloshed and/or have my tastebuds desensitized within that span of time with trying just 10 different glasses, much less the number of drinks I'd imagine wanting to try. I assume the tasting portions are smaller than a shot, but I can't imagine them being so small that they wouldn't add up to a large amount of alcohol, especially when factoring in barrel-strength items.

    Can anyone who's been to WhiskeyFest (or any other similar large-scale tasting) comment on if the time allotted detracted from the experience?

  2. #2
    Connoisseur
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    Apr 2009
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    836

    Re: WhiskeyFest question (e.g. is it worthwhile)

    Here are some previous WF threads that may be helpful:

    2007 - Philly

    2005 - Chicago

    2004 - NY

    2004 - Chicago

    2000 - WhiskeyFest
    John Q.
    Tennessee Squire
    Quote Originally Posted by ggilbertva
    It won't be any cheaper than it is today.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan
    Someone will pay it. Someone always pays it.

  3. #3
    Enthusiast
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    Re: WhiskeyFest question (e.g. is it worthwhile)

    Binny's has something the thursday before that has most of the same stuff but costs 40 percent of the price.

  4. #4
    Virtuoso
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    Re: WhiskeyFest question (e.g. is it worthwhile)

    I went to my first WF last year and had an absolute blast. I understand what you're saying about blowing our your palate, but drinking great booze for four hours with a crowd of people all with smiles on their faces is just about the best way I can think of to spend a Friday night.

    VIP is the only way to go.
    "A man comes from the dust and in the dust he will end-- In the meantime it is good to drink whiskey."
    -->WhiskeyWonka<--

  5. #5
    Taster
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    Re: WhiskeyFest question (e.g. is it worthwhile)

    I've been to WhiskyFest twice: once in Chicago and once in New York City. I had a fantastic time at both. If you're on the fence about going, don't spend any more time making up your mind. Tickets sell out much earlier than you will expect. In fact, Chicago is already sold out for this year.

    The Binny's World of Whiskies event on the evening before WhiskyFest Chicago is worthwhile, and it is cheaper to attend as someone pointed out. I attended Binny's event and WhiskyFest the year I went to Chicago. Two nights in a row wasn't too much. Also, the whiskies at each event are mostly the same, but they aren't identical events. Go to both and decide for yourself which one is more appealing.

    This year, I will be at the Binny's event and WhiskyFest Chicago, again. I'll also be at WhiskyFest New York for the new event format in October.

  6. #6
    Taster
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    Re: WhiskeyFest question (e.g. is it worthwhile)

    One other minor comment: it's WhiskyFest, not WhiskeyFest.

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: WhiskeyFest question (e.g. is it worthwhile)

    My fingers won't spell whiskey without the 'e' unless I force them too. I always write WhiskeyFest and nobody has complained. I have the same problem with Whisky Advocate. (Sorry, fingers, it was necessary.) In fact, I told them they missed an opportunity to distinguish themselves from Whisky Magazine (no more, I promise) and stake their place as an American publication by using the American spelling, but it's the scotch producers who are the big pricks on that subject and it probably would have hurt advertising revenue.

    Is it worth it? Well, it is what it is and 'what it is' isn't a big mystery. It is not, however, about getting wasted and very few people do. It's about trying new things, talking to the producers, seeing old friends, meeting new ones, and being in a space with a lot of people who share your interest in whiskey. You have to decide for yourself what that's worth.

  8. #8
    Connoisseur
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    I will add this. Some gentlemen on this forum don't care much for scotch or Irish or Japanese or other variations of whisk(e)y besides bourbon and rye. If you find you fall into that category, there is a good chance you will be disappointed with WhiskyFest. It is a world-wide whisk(e)y offering/lineup and with the exception of maybe the Pappys and BTAC, the bourbon offerings are fairly standard. And if my memory serves me correctly, little to no VIP pours are bourbon.

    Perfectly fine and even preferred by lots of folks, but jut be aware. This is a bourbon forum after all.
    Josh

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

  9. #9

    Re: WhiskeyFest question (e.g. is it worthwhile)

    Thank you all for the sage advice and personal experiences. Sadly the Chicago event is sold out, so I may try to aim for the Binny's event (thanks for bringing that to light; never even knew it existed). If that goes well, I might opt to do the San Fran WF later in the year.

  10. #10
    Enthusiast
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    Re: WhiskeyFest question (e.g. is it worthwhile)

    One thing WhiskyFest has going for it is the seminars, talks, whatever you call them. They are great opportunities to get lots of information direct from the people who know, and they often include tastings of things that you either can't get anywhere at all, or at least things that might not be available to everybody who stops by the distillery booth. If you go to all the talks you may not have time to hit every booth in the tasting room, but if you're a whisk(e)y enthusiast you probably have a pretty good idea of who makes what and you'll know the handful of places you really want to hit. The Binny's event is a great place to taste stuff, and if that was all I wanted to do I'd probably hit that and skip WhiskyFest, but I don't mind paying the extra because I always really enjoy the talks. I've been to WhiskyFest I think five times, and the first year or two I spent more time in the tasting room, but the last few times I have spent more time at the talks.

    Last time I went (2010---in 2011 I waited too long to get tickets!) I saw one of the best presentations I've seen yet, from Fritz Maytag. If you go, and he's speaking, I highly recommend that one. But, all the talks I've been to have been pretty good.

 

 

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