Tuesday, December 8, 2009


While on the topic of San Francisco, I'd like to share some photos I somewhat recently took at Rickhouse, a whisk(e)y bar.

A leathery menu of fine whiskies/whiskeys.

Creative use of dismantled whiskey barrels to enhance one's drinking experience.

An original brick wall scorched by San Francisco's historic fires.

Various cocktail-creating accoutrements.

No short supply of fine spirits.

A "whisky" our bartender was quite enthusiastic to have us taste... The Balvenie's Single Malt Scotch Whisky matured in a Jamaican rum cask. While not terribly complex and more like a whisky-influenced rum than a rum-influenced whisky, it certainly was interesting.

My dram for the afternoon... a 17yr old Murray McDavid bottling of Mortlach

A: Deep gold to light amber. Slightly oily.

N: Lots of sherry and no detectable peat. Oranges and tropical fruits. With water, the toffee surfaces as well as a touch of peat.

T: Loads of malt. Plenty of sherry. Finishes with juicy fruit.

WhiskyFest San Francisco 2009

I apologize for the delay. My backlog of photos, tasting notes, etc. is steadily increasing and as it is, this post is almost 2 months overdue!

When we arrived, we were given a plethora of reading material along with our commemorative Glencairn nosing glass.

This represents perhaps less than 1/4 the attendees and booths. Most major Scotch distilleries that export whisky to the U.S. were represented.

Not at all surprising that Ardbeg had one of the most interesting booths. They were also serving the highly anticipated Corryvreckan due out in early 2010. Unfortunately, all the peat-heads pulverized the booth's allotment of Corry before we reached it (although now, I am far less bitter about it as I am typing this entry while having a dram of his heavenly whisky).

And also too late for a seat at Laphroaig's presentation and guided tasting...

The Glenlivet's presentation had several open seats. While initially disappointed, the presentation was actually quite informative and entertaining. They were also quite generous with their more rare and costly whiskies.

A Welshman in a kilt guiding us through the tasting.

Random thoughts on WhiskyFest:

1. Three hours was most definitely not enough time to try all the whiskies one would be curious about and have a sensible enough palate left to distinguish one from the other. If I were to attend next year's event, I'd have a clear plan and adhere to a self-made schedule.

2. Arrive early to the presentations which will obviously be popular.

3. I prefer a format where there are fewer whiskies to taste and more time to evaluate each one... and hopefully with a smaller entry fee!