I was lucky to be visiting family and friends back home for a few weeks when the WOW Expo was in San Francisco, March 24 and 25.
A tasting with Jim Murray on that Friday! Blindly tasting 10 whiskies, 7 of which I knew, but only one of those did I identify. His tasting's theme was his favorite tv show's motto, "Things aren't as they seem," which did ring true in the packed room of fans. Also, him pouring me a taste from his own bottle of Alberta Premium the following night while he signed his '06 Whisky Bible was another major highlight of the 2 day event.
Meeting and tasting Fritz Maytag's (Anchor Brewing/Distilling) new upcoming release Hotaling's Whiskey! Excellent, can't wait to get a bottle or two.
Suntory's stand with 2 special "only available in Japan" bottlings. Tough luck that single bourbon cask is not available for purchase outside it's homeland!
Improvements for next year:
The glassware! Although the Celtic Malts just created a beautiful new glass, they weren't so quick to promote or share them. Tasting Jim Murray's surprises were awkward in thick, classic, large, stemmed hotel water glasses. Had I gotten the chance to try out the Celtic Malts glass I would have bought a set or two. Very surprised and disappointed glassware was overlooked. As was it too the saturday night when cheap wine glasses were used rather than a simple and classic nosing glass.
The Expo's international theme "World of Whiskies" was not true, with many whisky producing countries not there. Perhaps because it focused on the local and US markets? The San Francisco Whisky Expo is a more appropriate name.
Overall, I'm glad I attended, and probably will again! A great experience meeting top professionals and tasting some of their fine whiskies.