Universal Whisky Experience 2013 Review
Well another year has passed and with it another wildly successful Universal Whisky Experience event. This year’s Nth was fantastic with a wider variety of companies attending along with a considerably larger turnout compared to years prior. Companies like Jura, Macallan, Glenfarclas and Johnnie Walker were of course in attendance with their finest offerings. However, this year introduced a number of lesser known, yet no less impressive brands, presenting a plethora of unique and high quality whiskys alongside the usual suspects.
The show began with a number of different seminars which each ticketed guest could take part in. Last year I attended the Shackleton’s Reserve seminar held by whisky guru Richard Paterson of Whyte & Mackay. This year, I decided to take part in a very interesting and lively debate concerning whether it is better to invest in the world of high dollar scotches and whiskys, or simply enjoy them as a rare and decadent treat. The panel was comprised of 5 members on each side of the issue and participants ranged from company owners brand ambassadors to distributors and brokers. Needless to say there are a number of angles with which to take on such an issue, but towards the end of the hour long session it seemed clear that many of the experts, and the majority of the crowd alike, choose to drink their rare drams rather than invest purely for investments sake.
Following the seminar, crowds immediately began filling the labrynthian hallways of the Wynn Encore conference center in anticipation of the start of the show. As I stepped into the large conference hall, the sense of being a kid in a candy store took over (albeit a very drunk kid in an all whisky candy store). Moving from booth to booth, there was no doubt that the Nth as an event is growing by leaps and bounds. I started the evening off with a rare and previously unbeknownst to myself spirit, the Johnnie Walker King James Edition. From there it was on to other exclusive expressions from Jura, Black Adder, Macallan and Glenfiddich. In addition, Anchor Distilling had a number of booths showing off their crème de la crème and several smaller companies like High Moon and That Boutique-y Whisky Company (my personal favorite from the show) previewed the upper echelons of their wares. In a matter of only a few hours, I probably sampled somewhere around 10,000 dollars worth of once in a lifetime scotches.
If you consider yourself a whisky connoisseur or simply fancy yourself a scotch enthusiast, the Nth is one event that cannot be missed. Even if the show doesn’t become an annual pilgrimage, the Universal Whisky Experience should appear in bold and underlined on every drinkers bucket list.