Meandering our way through the Wynn hotel, through hallways of ballrooms reserved for private banquets and company meetings, we eventually stumbled upon the Ultimate Whisky Experience. Already in session were several different special event classes where one could learn about subjects such as the Shackleton whisky recreation, or how whisky can be an investment - the one we found ourselves in shortly after arriving. I can't say that I view whisky at all in these terms, but it was somewhat interesting to see bottles I had once tasted appear on a Powerpoint presentation with recommendations about long-term value stability. Everyone had on suits or fine evening gowns. People were attentive and interested (I think). The UWE tasting was about to begin.
Inside the main hall were plenty of old faces from Scotland. Peter Currie, formerly of Springbank and now working with Duncan Taylor, was a sight for sore eyes. Euan was all decked out (featured above) with his wife behind the table, pouring some seriously old malts - 1969 Macallan for one. One thing was clear right off the bat - there were some serious drams being tasted at the UWE. This was no normal whisky event. The room was full of high-end stuff, even if it wasn't full of people.
Our baby was in attendence - the 30 year old Brora from Chieftain's. She was showing quite well and I think people were really impressed. They were also pouring the Springbank 40 year - a whisky we currently sell for over $1000 a bottle. It was magnificant.
The best whisky of the night for me was this 1985 Bruichladdich DNA cask that was oily and salty as all hell, yet still quite soft and restrained. I was blown away. Bruichladdich can really wow you when they're on point.
The guys from KBD were also pulling out all the stops. Loads of old and rare Willett Bourbons were on display, including a 28 year old that really took our breath away. Spicy and full of intense clove action - this was worth every penny of the $300 price tag - too bad it's only available at the KBD distillery.
Here's the deal with the UWE - if you can spare $500 and you love whisky it's like being a kid in a candy store. There are loads of malts you would normally never have the chance to taste and there are so few people in attendance that tasting them is quite easy. It's the opposite of most tastings where they run out of the best stuff in minutes. They still had 40 year Springbank when we were leaving over at Chieftain's and Springbank themself still had plenty of 21 year old. Glendronach had a full bottle of the 31 year at closing time and Glenfarclas still had every vintage available. Still, it's $500 and it's in Vegas, so you'd need to have some serious extra coin, plus a few days off.
More details later. They delivered the goods and now I'm beat. We had a huge Thai dinner at Lotus of Siam. I will be eating there for every meal from now on. Simply amazing.