Whiskies of the World Atlanta
The Ash Said It brand is becoming synonymous with upscale events around the Metro Atlanta area. The more events we attend, the more we are requested for a writeup. This past weekend we were invited to Whiskies of the World at the Intercontinental Buckhead. It benefits the North Atlanta Rotary Foundation. This location set the tone for a refined evening of whiskies from around the globe, an elegant selection of food and masterclasses.
This was my first whiskey tasting event and it was oh so memorable. The cigar patio was perfect for connoisseurs that favor a good pairing. From a virtual pilgrimage of a whisky's early start to a cigar 101 course there was certainly something for everyone.
There were so many distilleries represented that night. A few were local to the area while others had traveled from as far as Scotland. The conference hall was a bit overwhelming with vendor tables encompassing the entire space. I gradually made my way from table to table inquiring about their company.
But first I wanted to find out the differences expressed in the over 200+ varieties.
Malt whiskey is primarily produced in Scotland. It is made from malted barley and does not have a required maturation. Many seasoned connoisseurs prefer a whiskey that has matured over a long period of time. Single malt whiskey is the product of one distillery.
Grain whiskey usually comes from Scotland and Ireland. It mostly consists of wheat and sometimes a combination of grain. Its is most often distilled in cheap column stills and lacks vibrant flavor.
Blended whiskey is most likely a mixture of malt and grain whiskies. These whiskies come from different distilleries and thats what makes the blend so unique. The ratio of malt and grain always determines the characteristic of that particular blend. The higher the malt the better the blend is. Its origin is Scotland.
Rye whisky contains at least 51% rye and must be matured in oak casks for at least 2 years. Its spicy taste is not as in demand these days so there are only a few produced in the United States. However Canada still produces it for its whiskey blends.
Corn whiskey is derived from 100% corn. This neutral whisky is often added to blends. It is a popular crop in the United States where it originates.
Most bourbon comes from Kentucky. This grain mixture has to contain 51% corn to be considered bourbon. The sour mash process is often used here. It should be aged for at least 4 years.
It was refreshing to see some familiar brands such as Jim Beam, Crown Royal, The Splinter Group, Johnnie Walker and I.W. Harper. However, I was more intrigued about the brands that I did not know. This was also an educational experience for me. I learned about the different varieties of whiskies and where they are produced.
One of my first stops was at Mac McGee where I met owner Anton Quinn. He spoke enthusiastically about how this distillery was located in Decatur's historic square. They serve from scratch gastropub fare featuring a 500+ whiskey list and 30 different beers on tap. Mr. Quinn went into detail about what sets his distillery apart from the rest. They host whisky tastings regularly and they're relatively close to the city.
Richland Rum caught my eye with their beautifully crafted bottle. I was eager to learn about them. Aside from being recipients of The Good Food Award, Los Angeles International Gold Award and The Tasting Gold Award they are Georgia's ONLY rum distillery. They are located in Richland, Ga. It is approximately 140 miles from the city of Atlanta. This rum is made from unrefined cane syrup and aged in American pure white oak barrels. They offer tours to showcase the process of perfecting an award winning product.
The name Lazy Guy Distillery had a fascinating sound to it. What are they all about? Owner Mark Allen was brimming with pride as we discussed this first generation whiskey distillery. This company has done vigorous research in the market to serve their key audience accordingly. Like many of the exhibitors, they've taken time out to ask consumers about preferences. One of their products that stands out against the rest is the General. This 150 proof corn whiskey is the product of a four grain recipe and a slow distillation process. This distillery also offers tours of their facility.
Sean Mcqueen, the founder of Mississippi River Distilling Company, was delighted to talk Cody Road Bourbon. This spirit had a flavor all its own. Wheat, corn, vanilla and caramel make quite the impact. It was a melodious combination that went down very smooth.
Co-founder of Charred Oak Bourbon Whiskeys, Robert Kennedy, had a lot to be proud of. His company was just awarded the GOLD medal by The SIP Awards, International Spirits Competition. Its beautiful amber color finishes with a sweet vanilla essence.
The George Dickel Tennessee Whisky table was very festive. Their George Dickel No.12 and George Dickel Rye were on full display. The George Dickel No.12 has a subtle vanilla flavor followed by a smokey maple finish. It had a very distinct taste that was one of my favorites that evening.
ImpEx Beverages Inc had an impressive array of whiskies and scottish gin on display. They import exclusively from Scotland.
I had a magnificent time at Whiskies of the World Atlanta. Not only was I able to give some exclusive details but this experience has opened my mind to enjoying whiskey in the future. I was not able to visit with every vendor. There were hundreds of people there and I was not the only one with questions. Be sure to check the links of the exhibitors that I did discuss. Also look for the next Whiskies of the World coming to a city near you!