Mr. Julian Van Winkle arrived promptly at 5:30pm, a full half hour before expected, minus his signature mustache. In true Lush style, a few die hard Pappy Van Winkle drinkers waltzed in minutes later to grab a few bottles and a signature before the tasting began. Whirlwind of bourbon drinking begins!
Julia tasted out the Pappy Van Winkle 12 Year ‘Lot B’, Old Rip Van Winkle Family Reserve 15 year, and Family Reserve 20 year. Mmmm, delicious. As you may have tasted before, Pappy is extra ‘wheated’ and has a lovely cherry, spicy vanilla characteristic that sets it apart from other Kentucky Bourbons. In whiskey talk, the Pappy is at least 51% corn, by mandate, and aged in NEW, CHARRED American white oak barrels. So, Julian’s family recipe, passed through generations, has an extra dose of wheat incorporated. The whiskey is softer, sweeter, and just lovely as it ages. Julian has been distilling for years and his son, Preston, is highly trained in the art of distilling, as well.
We tasted and chatted and signed bottles…of course, we delved into discussions about whiskey in general and beer. Good times, great friends, and our favorite Van Winkle. Woo!
From Lush, we absconded with Julian to the Twisted Spoke for the annual ‘Legends of Bourbon’ par-tay. He joined Mr. Jimmy Russell of Wild Turkey, making the most of his cameo. Sean and his crew of one additional bartender were whipping up signature whiskey cocktails and the kitchen was slinging bourbon inspired snacks…including tempura bacon. Yes, bacon fried with tempura. Ohsonaughtyandtasty. Adam Seger joined in the fun, fully equipped with outrageous, unique cocktails created for the event…he was playing with raspberry and bloodorange, hibiscus as always, spice blends, and ginger, but also fried bacon in a cocktail. Disturbing, but yummy. He also tried his hand at Julian’s suggested cocktail of rye, cassis, and lemon oil. Hoowee. Brian Ellison waltzed in, too, with his collection of Death’s Door Whiskey and a slew of cocktail recipes in tow.
Also making an appearance were Chicago notables, and my personal favorite bartenders besides Ms. Jane and Adam Seger, of course, Mr. Kyle and Mr. Steven of the Violet Hour. And, we also met Dave, the distiller at High West, a newish distillery in UTAH playing with lots of rye, and apparently, oats. More on that after we visit him at the FEST this evening. Mr. Jim Bube made an appearance, Michael Bell of Founders Brewery, as did the Goose Island crew, and a few other kids in the biz. Good times had by all. Mitch and Cliff hosted an awesome shindig. The Lushes thoroughly enjoyed the event.
Some of our favorite beverages of the evening were on tap…DogFloyd ‘PopSkull’ aged in palo santo wood (the collaboration of 3 Floyds and DogFish Head), Sprechers XXX barrel aged root beer!, Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Allagash ‘Curieux’, and New Holland ‘Dragon’s Milk’, as well as Half Acre Lager. Slurping good.
Well, we’re off to Whiskey Fest. The ladies will be double timing it from 5-6pm with the VIP ticket, attempting to taste all 400 beverages before the crowd descends. Hopefully we’ll be standing afterwards and still able to take notes at the seminars. Watch out whiskey men, the Lush ladies are a-coming with our elbows out. And, Mrs. Sonja K., I am tracking you down to find out what the newest North Shore Distillery Limited Release you’ve cooked up this time. See ya soon.
And, Mrs. Wendy bird, how was your first LUSH Whiskey Week?! Welcome to the crew.