If there are two Chicago Spring Whisky Events, Whisky Fest and Binny's World of Whisky are the ones to go to. John Hansell and Malt Advocates (MA) promote a few smaller Chicago Events prior to Whisky Fest, but these are the diamonds. Both have their adherents.
I just finished Malt Advocates Whisky Fest @ the Hyatt Regency. Once, again, John H has outdone himself. I entered VIP @ 5:30pm, which was worth it with the MA Member discount. The highlights of the evening, for me, were as follows:
1. MA Charity table - Buffalo Trace 17 yr old single cask one of two finished in a rum cask (unspecified which rum distillery), nosed & palated coconut with a silky smooth finish. I enjoyed the original and controversial Compassbox Spice Tree. (also, tried Glenmorangie Elegance, but prefer Astar and Signet). The Glenlivet 1969 never showed up. I wanted to try Balvenie Vintage Cask 1976, but there was too much. I hope to coax Sam "AKA Dr. Whisky to try the Glen Ord 40 year old from 1965 if he has an open 1976 around and is around in the future.
2. Diageo's Classic Malts Distillers Edition Seminar @ 7pm - Well done. It confirmed my preferences of the Talisker and Lagavulin DE.
3. G&M's Select Reserve 1976 Millburn, 27 yr old. (However, the Pulteney's were quite good at CSAH earlier in the week).
4. Great food. Pouched salmon with extras; mashed potato bar relaxed the palate; and chocolate desserts were divine.
WOW - Binny's 3/31
Another animal, but a bargain; pure whisky and no seminars. Great selections for the hard core single malt hobbyists. A malt freaks paradise. Buy what you drink on site with discount. Little to no food (cheese & crackers), so get your nutrition before you arrive. Hit Manny's Deli at 4pm
1. The Balvenie 12 yr old Signature. MSR: $54.99
2. Tomatin 30 yr old (note: I tried the 40 year old; great for a 40 yr, but preferred the 30 yr)
3. Amhrut Fusion & Connemara Peated Irish (Best buy, non single malt scotch) MSR: $50 & $39.99
4. Death Door new make (Best American Whiskey surprise even if you can't buy it)
Note: the Distilleries and Bottlers that don't display at Whisky Fest have tables at Binny's South. Some may show up at next years Whisky Fest.
Missed opportunities: Table 24: Springbanks, The rares: Glencraig 30 yr; North Port 24 yr.
Small tables, more collectable and drinkable single malts.
A suggestion - encourage Manny's Deli across the street to cater and consider charging $15 more. If not the get manny's to stay open later.
-- Post From My iPhone