Whisky Live New York

2019 welcomes Whisky Live back under the management of the Paragraph Whisky Live team, with shows being held in New York and Chicago

Whisky Live New York
May 22, 2019
The Altman Building

The first Whisky Live ever held in the US, Whisky Live New York, moves to the Altman Building on 18th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues. Established in 1896 as the carriage house for the B. Altman department store, The Altman Building is a stunning space with 13,500 square feet over two floors. Original mahogany bay doors connect directly to the street to welcome visitors into an expansive piece of New York history, with custom hardwood floors, exposed vaulted brick ceilings, and an expanse of windows that lend an endless cascade of natural light.

Standard ticket prices are $159, with VIP tickets at $199, which include unique masterclasses hosted by Whisky Magazine and American Whiskey Magazine’s editorial team and distillers.

VIP access is from 5 to 10 p.m., with standard tickets from 6 to 10 p.m., and all tickets include food. Distillers will be coming from all four corners of the globe, showcasing their core ranges as well as rare, unique and hard-to-find whiskeys. Visitors can expect to sample offerings from both niche, craft distillers and globally recognised names. Regardless of your preference, there will be a whiskey to suit all palates – whether an avid enthusiast or new to the world of whiskey.

For more information and to purchase your ticket, head to: http://www.whiskylive.com/events/usa/new-york 

Blackened Metal

The inspiration behind rock band Metallica’s latest release 

Metallica’s raucous rendering of WHISKY IN THE JAR, a 17th century song by the way, might have inspired the aging bad boys’ launch of Blackened, their own whiskey brand, however AWM’s investigation uncovers this much anticipated dram’s astonishing back story… a master distiller’s Merlin-like alchemy, a giant Moller pipe organ, and, would you believe it, classical music to boot.

I finally caught up with Dave Pickerell, onetime West Point Military Academy cadet, professor of chemistry, music lover and master distiller, formerly with Makers Mark and many craft distillers, as he boarded a flight to San Francisco who tells me how he got into the whiskey lark.


West Point’s Moller Organ 

“During my West Point student cadet days, majoring in chemistry and nuclear engineering, I joined a group called the Ushers and Acolytes Society, spending much time in the Military Academy’s Chapel. “There I became friends with then Chapel organist Dr. Davis. After services one Sunday evening, the setting sun filtered through stained glass windows and only he and I were there, he called me over, ‘listen to this…’ he nods, launching into Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor (think Phantom of the Opera), a composition which so masterfully demonstrated the great organ’s mind blowing acoustic range.

“Following his impromptu concert Dr. Davis said, ‘and now, for the full effect of the voice’ reverberating throughout the chapel, rattling stained glass windows. “I was transfixed, utterly amazed.” Dave recalls.

The chapel’s massive Moller, built and installed in 1911, boasts 874 speaking stops controlling 23,236 pipes, and, in recognition of its mind blowing tonal scales and unique character, it has been called the Grandfather of all pipe organs. He adds, “You could almost count the vibrations as it shook your guts, reverberations so powerful, if played and held too long, they could actually damage the building.”

Never in a thousand years could Dave have imagined those soaring reverberations of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, or even for that matter Saint-Saens thundering Symphony No 3 Organ Symphony finale, might one day form the genesis for Metallica’s sonically infused whiskey.

Dave tells me, “Lars Ulrich and the lads wanted something fans would take to heart, something of refined signature – something very special.”

The band already had a working relationship with Meyer Sound, creators of the sound system used during Metallica’s live concerts, including a giant subwoofer used while playing ultra-low frequencies from Metallica’s music, based on playlists including all four musicians, the throbbing sounds are directed towards the barrels.

“We are not playing music just to make the barrels happy!” Dave interjects, “Metallica’s clean, crisp rhythms assist in the process, but I’m sure you could get an effect just by hitting the barrels with a low-frequency hum. But to cause molecules to vibrate, which affects the whiskey, during bombardment we can demonstrate a color change very quickly using Metallica soundtracks, put some science into it.”

He’d seen videos of beakers of liquids subjected to sound waves, noting how liquids would vibrate, swirl, and come to a mirror smooth stop when subjected to sound waves; ‘Merlin’ Dave was ready to work his magical experiment, acoustic sound waves and their effect on whiskey.

The result – Blackened – is a collaboration of Bourbons, ryes and whiskeys from all across North America, carefully selected by himself which, “once married, make their way into black brandy barrels for finishing.”

In subsequent blind tasting of nips, Blackened batch 81 and batch 82, one noted taster questioned their noticeable differences. “All we did was varying Metallica’s playlist, this was the only variant between batches, and amazingly the final taste was different!” Dave remarks. I’m told each batch of only 5,000 bottles of Blackened will utilize a different ‘Black Sonics’ from Metallica playlist, details of which can be found find on the band’s website.

No, YouTube video reviewer Van Holton isn’t raving over Metallica! What caught her attention, the astounding rendition of the finale of Saint-Saen’s Organ Symphony No 3. Normally a masterpiece for full orchestra, this organ solo, arranged and played by organist, Jonathan Scott, blew her away.

What’s all this music stuff really got to do with whiskey?

While whiskey pairings with food and cigars are often lauded, I’ve often mused about matching whiskeys with music? I mentioned this to Dave, who agrees sounds do have an effect on the palate.

He states, “We’re running a seminar where we blindfold people, have them taste food to varied sounds, it’s really cool.”

Music does have a distinct empowerment in the enjoyment of a chosen dram. Depending on mercurial mood swings, during contemplative moments I absolutely relish the celestial beauty of Sanctus sublimely performed by Libera, (a not too churchy all boy English vocal group) enjoyed with RUA, a smooth and soulful American single malt from Ollie Mulligan’s Great Wagon Road Distillery of Charlotte NC.

Then for Mendelssohn’s Fingal’s Caveoverture from The Hebrides, a rare and robust Balmaha 15-year-old Scotch whisky, (a restricted bottling of 270, of which my prized bottle is number 100) picked up along Loch Lomond a few years back.

As for Irish singer-songwriter and musician Enya’s (Sail Away…) Orinoco Flow, released in 1988, brilliantly adapted by Robert Prizeman for Libera.

Again, an example of full choral majesty, pure vocals amidst stunning wind and percussion, I’ve listened with a gentle nip of H. Clark Distillery’s new Tennessee Rye in hand. Heath tells me his new Rye is their tribute to America’s first whiskey.

OK, Getting back to the band Metallica, I’ve opened the Fed Ex delivery box, unwrapped first ever Blackened bottle delivered in North Carolina; uncork, pour, observe honey gold nectar cascade into glass.

Nose, take notice, no ordinary bevy! The taste demands eye opening attention. Swallow… whew, nice one Dave indeed! One can almost hear that mighty Moller… or is it Metallica’s version of Whisky in the Jar? I’ll let readers be the judge of that…



Three Tea and Honey whiskey debut

MurLarkey Distilled Spirits Unveils Two New All-Natural Infused Whiskeys

MurLarkey Distilled Spirits recently announced the exciting addition of two all-natural infused whiskeys – named Three Tea and Honey– to its collection of certified craft distilled spirits.

The distillery – based in Virginia – has been recognised by numerous awards boards, including gold at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, has been rolling out its premium infused spirits throughout September.

Bottles of Three Tea are available for purchase at the Bristow, Virginia distillery, as well as by special order through Virginia ABS stores. Honey will become available later in the year.

The products are handcrafted and certified gluten free, both creations were the invention of the MurLarkey product master, George ‘Papi’ Zwetkow and co-founder, Mike Larkin who spent months researching and developing the uniquely flavoured blends.

MurLarkey’s Three Tea whiskey is barrel-aged, comprised of a blend of Darjeeling, black and earl grey tea, creating a complex yet approachable aromatic flavour. As a result the flavour profile proves to be reminiscent of freshly brewed tea with sweet, subtle floral note and undertones that hint at orange peels and honey.

Utilizing all-natural, hand-harvested, local honey from Papi’s personal hive, the Honey whiskey promises a warm, spicy aroma with notes of citrus, honey, and wildflowers on the palate. Barrel-aged for a smooth, lingering finish, and reminiscent of oak and caramel flavors. Honey will be available later this season for whiskey aficionados to pick up their own bottle at MurLarkey or sample it in a signature cocktail in the tasting room.

A full list of retailers and restaurants that carry MurLarkey products can be found atwww.murlarkey.com.

Grain & Barrel – Collaborative Distilling

The Bardstown Bourbon Company announces Grain & Barrel Spirits’ participation in its program to produce custom bourbon and whiskey for the historic Chicken Cock brand.

A partnership between The Bardstown Bourbon Company (BBCo) and Grain & Barrel Spirits – the maker of pre-prohibition favorite, Chicken Cock Whiskey – has been announced, with the latter joining BBCo’s collaborative distilling program.

The two will work together to produce custom bourbon and whiskey for the historic Chicken Cock brand, dating back to 1856. BBCo and Grain & Barrel concluded their first distillation of 616 barrels at the end of August.

Through the distilling program, the master distiller at Grain & Barrel, Gregg Snyder will collaborate with the Bourbon Hall of Fame master distiller, Steve Nally and BBCo’s first class distilling team to produce high-quality, small-batch whiskey, bourbon and rye for many years to come.

“Joining the Collaborative Distilling Program at BBCo completes the exciting resurrection of Chicken Cock, one of the oldest bourbon brands in the country,” said Matti Anttila, chief executive officer of Grain & Barrel Spirits. “The brand is now officially 100 per cent back home in Kentucky, a mere 80 miles from Paris, where its story began 162 years ago. Working with the world class team at BBCo we are confident that the brand’s best years are ahead of it.”

“We are proud to work with the Grain & Barrel team and become the home for Chicken Cock Whiskey,” said David Mandell, CEO of Bardstown Bourbon Company. “Chicken Cock Whiskey has an incredible history in Kentucky, and we are excited to add to the next chapter in its development.”

Due to the success of its sold-out Collaborative Distilling Program, BBCo recently expanded its three million proof gallon capacity to 6.8 million proof gallons, which started operations in early July this year.

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