It’s an unusually chilly night in Los Angeles and the smell of tar wafts in the air. Just the thought of a sip of whiskey warms the body right as the LA18 Generation Now crew stand outside in a line of well-dressed, cosmopolitan patrons eager to partake in Los Angeles Magazine‘s second annual Whiskey Festival – the follow-up to 2016’s inaugural smash – at the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum.
Whiskey is one of those mythical liquors steeped in tradition and history. It’s no wonder the drink has an international following of die-hard fans, yet it can be quite intimidating to newcomers. What’s great about an event like this is that there’s no discrimination and it celebrates the beloved spirit as a way to bring people together. Where else can you see tweedy intellectuals, tattooed hipsters, and suited businessmen happily conversing among creatures of the prehistoric age?
This year’s selection allowed for one to appreciate the distinct tastes and subtlety of flavors that showcase whiskey’s widely varying potential. Read on to find out our favorites & watch the BTS video below to see all that this unique festival had to offer (more than just straight whiskey: cigars, shoeshines, live music, Kikori‘s blood orange whiskey sour… yum).
One of the longest tasting lines of the evening came as no surprise as the crowd gathered around The Macallan’s table. The revered scotch distillery offered their Double Cask 12 and Fine Oak 15 year editions along with the celebrated Macallan Edition No. 2. This limited edition release came about as a collaboration of one of the brands top whisky makers and couple master chefs from Catalonia. The touch of the expert spirits craftsmen is identifiable in the bold mix of flavor from the sherry casks, floral notes and smooth finish that is sure to warm its way into the heart of any scotch enthusiast.
From the brewers at Ballast Point comes a relative newcomer with Cutwater Spirits showcasing their Devil’s Share line of four year old California small batch bourbon and single malt. Both were surprisingly smooth and offered individual flavors derived from the heavily charred virgin American oak barrels, but the bourbon exuded more of the earthy qualities found in older whiskey. There was a distinct sweetness in the single malt that brought out toasted hints of vanilla and caramel from the brewer’s malt.
An old favorite were the small batch offerings of Woodford Reserve’s Double Oaked and rye. The award-winning double oaked is always a crowd pleaser and was a welcomed addition to the evening’s tasting. The strong flavor of its namesake wood meld effortlessly with hints of apple to create a medium body spirit perfect for bringing the inexperienced into the whiskey fold. Not to be outdone by double oaked was the brand’s signature rye with its balanced grain, spice and dash of fruit flavor.
Los Angeles Magazine is “the definitive resource for Angelenos, covering the people, food, culture, arts and entertainment, fashion, lifestyle, and news that defines Southern California with a signature mix of feature-length writing, service journalism, investigative reporting, and design.” In addition to this event, Los Angeles Magazine puts together more than 135 experiences each year. Be sure to visit www.lamag.com for more.
By Stella Kang · Contributor | Dexter Keyton · Contributor, Whiskey Enthusiast