Best of Whiskyfest

Whiskyfest San Francisco was Friday. There were a lot of men in kilts but they were outnumbered by bottles of whiskey. 200 different kinds available for tasting. We got a shot at tasting some that weren’t available to the general public. Throughout the next week, we’ll be sharing detailed reviews of our favorites. To whet your appetite, here are some of our picks from this year’s festivities:

Ardmore 30 — A truly layered and unique single malt available only in the U.S. Only 230 cases produced! Distillery manager Allistair Longwell (one of the men in kilts) shared this with me in a private tasting, and I was impressed by how the peat smoke came in gently and carried the other flavors one by one for a strong finish.

Duncan Taylor Lonach Glendronach 42 – The oldest scotch I tasted, though one of the more subtle and light. A little bit of nut taste and subdued finish were pleasantly surprising.

Ardbeg Supernova — Don’t like peat smoke? Then this isn’t the scotch for you. I like ‘em peaty, and this is a scotch that will punch you in the face … twice. But you know, in a totally awesome way.

Pappy VanWinkle 23 — A great limited edition bourbon that balances sweet brown sugar notes with a little bit of citrus. The finish has a little lingering heat.

Yamazaki 18 — A sweet honey and floral nose, followed with a mild melon flavor and pepper finish made this Japanese whiskey a standout.

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