I’m starting to feel like I know my way around Chicago a bit and it was great to see old friends and new folks. A few people I missed, I’ll come back. Importantly there was WhiskyFest Chicago, of which, some notes:
- Koval Oat — Koval is based in Chicago and they do some interesting grain combinations. I loved their four-grain (corn/barley/wheat/rye). The 100% oat has a supple satiny aromatic quality to it that was completely new to me.
- Tomatin 30 year old — The other Tomatin expressions were, I thought, either “sherry bombs” (as Brad put it) or not much of anything. But the 30 year old was special, lovely balance of heat and spice and vanilla surprising for a product that’s been in the wood so long.
- Glendronach 14 year old “Virgin Oak” — My first sample of the night and a great way to start. Very distinctively, deceptively simple, like a baseline reference for an excellent single malt. Anchor is distributing this in the US now, apparently.
- Cody Road Rye Whiskey — Fine pure rye from Mississippi River Distilling Co in Iowa, by far the best of a thin crop of new ryes.
Also went to The Map Room, wherein:
- Big Muddy Monster — An “India-Style Brown Ale”, they call it, more like a blend of different beers, like a rich brown ale married to a hoppier pale.
- Darkhorse Plead the 5th — Well, here’s an Imperial Stout for you. Superb. Vinous, old fruit, dates and leather, good heat, good balance.