On Friday, the Southern California whiskey tasting season closed with the Scotch Malt Whisky Society's Single Malt and Scotch Whisky Extravaganza at Lowe's Hotel in Santa Monica.
As with last month's WhiskyLive, the Extravaganza included numerous tables at which distillery representatives poured samples of their wares. As this was a Scotch and single malt event, the samples were heavily tilted toward Scotch with a few Irish and other single malts. Present were such favorites as Ardbeg, Highland Park, Laphroaig and Bowmore, along with many others.
Glenfiddich was there pouring their fifteen year old Distillery Edition, a new, non-chill filtered release at 51% alcohol, a higher level than their other whiskies and a bit of a throwback to their old and sorely missed fifteen year old cask strength. The Distillery Edition was very well done, with a full and balanced, heavily malty flavor.
Highland Park was also there, pouring their full range up to the 30 year old. Brand ambassador Martin Daraz told us that within the next two years, Highland Park would be releasing a 50 year old and a vintage 1968 whisky, though it sounded as if the prices would be out of my range.
As with WhiskyLive, some of my favorite tables were the independent bottlers, which provided a chance to taste cask strength versions of whiskies from a number of different distilleries. The sponsoring Scotch Malt Whisky Society was there with a number of their excellent bottlings, including an eleven year old Ardbeg that I very much enjoyed. And the Society's American distributor, Spirit Imports, Inc., had its own table with a number of interesting whiskies, including nice Douglas Laing bottlings of Linkwood and Glenburgie. Spirits Imports, Inc. also wins the prize for the most clever label with its Scottish/Jewish hybrid: Loch Chaim, though the one they were tasting on Friday was a Macallan Fine Oak which I didn't particularly care for.
All in all, a fun party and lots of great whisky to be had. Thanks to the SMWS for putting it on.
FTC Disclaimer: The SMWS gave Sku's readers a discount to attend the event and invited me to attend free of charge.