The new venue for the 2014 edition of Whisky Live Boston was the State Room, which was on the 33rd floor of 60 State Street. To put it simply, the view was stunning. Compass Box didn’t even put up its banners for fear of blocking the view behind its table. The tables also lined the L shaped space luxuriously, while the dining and food service area was on the floor above that looked out over the main event area.
One of the great strengths of Whisky Live that we’ve touted before is the length of time it runs (5:30-10:00pm in this case). This allows an especially leisurely approach, which begins with laying down a base layer of victuals. The food served in the dining area was very tasty, very well prepared, even if the variety of food was not terribly wide. Still, there was some beautiful Bourbon braised beef, sweet and sour chicken, tater tots, and homemade potato chips, among other things. I preferred the focus and the quality here to a much bigger, less interesting buffet/salad bar.
Base layer down, the whisky beckoned. Mixed among the big producers were local retailers, including Julio’s, Federal Wine and Spirits, and Norfolk Wine and Spirits, all of whom brought some singular drams. On hand were also a plethora of craft distillers from New England and beyond.
But we stopped off beforehand to talk to the Distilld folks, whose app is the certified, approved, official app for Whisky Live (if it hadn’t been all three, we wouldn’t have stopped). Pour lists for each Whisky Live event were a highlight, but we’ll say more soon when we take a closer look at the app in a separate post. The amazing 21 year old Redbreast was two tables away, and we didn’t hesitate to go there immediately after snapping a quick pic with Distilld.
Other highlights: the Lost Blend and the Great King Street Glasgow Blend were lovely new additions to the Compass Box line, as were the new Rutter and Flaughter from anCnoc. The Bulleit 10 Year Old and the Parker’s Heritage stood out for us on the Bourbon side, as did the Hazelburn Rundlets and Kilderkins, and everything that Charlie Tower and Brad Jarvis were pouring that night (the 21 year old Cragganmore Old Malt Cask was gorgeous). Our thanks to both of them for donning the Grouchos with us. It was also great to get our old friend Raj Sabharwhal of Purple Valley Imports to get in there with us as well–if you haven’t tried the Amrut Sherry or the Sullivan’s Cove whiskies, you’re missing out.