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Even though I’ve been to many whisky events like the Universal Whisky Experience, Whisky Live and events through the LA Scotch Club I had never attended The Whisky Extravaganza though they began doing events in 2000. This is what I learned of what to expect from their website:

Each year, The Whisky Extravaganza (TWE) hosts tasting events and masterclasses in major cities throughout the U.S., offering whisky enthusiasts from the novice to the connoisseur the opportunity to explore some of the most prestigious single malt, premium Scotch whiskies and other unique whiskies from around the world. Each TWE event offers a tasting session, masterclasses curated by industry experts, and culinary pairings.

So what was the difference for me? First of all it was held downtown at the historic Biltmore, the masterclass I attended was my first with two female Master Distillers, I discovered some new whiskies – rye, bourbons and blends - and made new friends. Sound good enough? I think so, so let me share:

Masterclass

Deep Dive Distilling: Singular Focus, Award Winning Whisky

With Mel Heim, Exec. VP Operations/Master Distiller for Eastside Distilling and Becky Harris, Founder/President/Chief Distiller for Catoctin Creek Distilling.

Moderated my: Kim Ohanneson, President, Women Who Whiskey LA Chapter.

(We were ushered in the back door a bit late so we missed most of the presentation. We did get to hear a bit from Harris on her distillery’s focus on rye, a spirit she feels can be served young.)

Burnside Oregon Oaked Bourbon 92 proof

Gold – Los Angeles Spirits Competition

Sweet caramel, toast, spice and cream. I returned to this one at the end of the class. It proved to be my favorite of the six.

 

Burnside Goose Hollow RSV 92 proof

Gold – Los Angeles Spirits Competition

Toasted oak, hazelnut and cinnamon after adding a drop of water.

 

Burnside Oregon Oaked Rye 92 proof

Double Gold – San Francisco World Competition

Very creamy, dried fruits, cedar.

 

Roundstone Rye 80 proof

Double Gold – NY World Wine and Spirits Competition

Harris called this one a good “introductory” whisky.

Yogurt, walnut and Bananas Foster.

 

Roundstone Rye Distiller’s Edition 92 proof

Gold – Wizards of Whisky World Awards

Harris said this was a “mild whisky” that stands up in cocktails like a Manhattan.

Caramel apple, white pepper, almond with a nice spicy finish.

 

Roundstone Rye Cask proof

Double Gold - San Francisco Spirits Competition

Wow, a lot of caramel on the aroma and flavor, followed by buttered popcorn after adding a little water.

From the Walk Around Tasting

New discoveries of mine – not necessarily a new whisky/whiskey - are noted as NEW:

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society had four NEW whiskies that they didn’t serve at the last Peatin’ Meetin’ I had attended. This is always a popular table and I savored every taste. These are the names on the bottles that are also identified by a Cask Number: Red Carpet Welcome, 16 year old, first fill Sauternes hogshead barrel, Cask No. 135.3; All Hands On Deck, 19 year old, refill hogshead barrel, Cask No. 29.247; Sweet Memories of Autumn, 12 year old, refill hogshead barrel, Cask No. 76.138 and Pine Nuts on Baked Apple Pie, 22 year old, first fill barrel, Cask No. 35.207.

Though High West Distillery in Salt Lake City, Utah has some bottles that I have at home like their Double Rye and BouRye this time I tried their fun Yippee Ki-Yay rye that was NEW, and was happy to see them pouring A Midwinter Nights Dram rye that I had once at our local Alchemy restaurant.

I had been a fan of Compass Box Hedonism for a while. It’s a bit pricy so I don’t have it in my liquor cabinet so thrilled to taste this again. I also got my fair share of everything in their line-up of blended whisky that was NEW and enjoyed it all: Oak Cross, The Spice Tree, The Story of the Spaniard and The Peat Monster. That final one, the Peat Monster, I’ve enjoyed at the Peatin’ Meetin’ too.

Brenne, a French Single Malt Whisky company, was serving the 10 year old that I had before, and an Estate Cask that was a NEW discovery for me.

From the classic peaty Laphroaig I focused on what was NEW at their table too: Lore, Triple Wood and Select. I was also instructed to smell, then to smell again with my mouth open. This increased the pleasant aromas and blew off some of the harshness.

Deanston scotch whisky distillery was NEW: a 2008 red wine cask and a 12 year old got my attention.

Also NEW was Branch and Barrel Whisky out of Colorado. I enjoyed two: a Holiday Twist and White Oak.

Another NEW one was Fireside Colorado Bourbon Whiskey Small Batch, from Mile High Spirits.

Boulder Whisky, a third whisky from Colorado that was NEW, I liked the Single Malt Peated, Single Malt American Oak and the Boulder Bourbon.

From The John Milroy Selection I enjoyed a 22-year-old Speyside single malt and then, my last dram of the night was the Sagamore Spirit Port Finish blend of straight rye whiskies. And yes, once again, these were NEW to me! So many discoveries = my time well spent!

Photos from the event can be seen here.

Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a "certification in first globally-recognized course" as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 15k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com