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My First Whisky Fest – Whisky Fest Las Vegas 2023

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My First Whisky Fest – Whisky Fest Las Vegas 2023

The event:

On the first weekend of this month, I was able to go with Greybeard to my first Whisky fest. Whisky Fest Las Vegas 2023 is put on by  Whisky Advocate. They set up at the Resorts World event center.

Each year, there are 4 to 5 Whisky Fest events across the United States and whiskey sections at some events like Big Smoke Miami. There are General Admission and VIP tickets as well as press passes. With a VIP or a Press Pass, you are able to go in an hour early for pours of the most special or anticipated offerings. Our press passes were provided for free by Whiskey Advocate.

Check-in Experience:

As we had a press pass, I could only go by the early check-in, which was a simple list with a number of tickets. We checked in together, got a normal VIP bracelet to show we could join the early pours and a goody bag with our Glencairn glass for tasting, and walked into the event with no muss no fuss.

The Main Event:

After a while, I found two main rooms, several food lines, and sodas and desserts. There were also several hot water stations to rinse your tasting glass. The layout was quite roomy, and for the most part, you had room to mingle and talk in-depth with the distillers at each booth.

Booth design ranged from the provided black draped partitions to oversized barrels, industrial style shelving, fully enclosed to free and open, and a bit of everything. It is quite interesting to see who engages in pageantry and finery or is just there to let their whiskey speak.

One of the most enjoyable booths for me was actually an Irish whiskey distillery named Waterford. This distiller features a series of single-origin whiskeys showing off the terroir of their individual farms in spite of the whiskey mash bill, distilling, aging time, etc., being exactly the same. They then had one that was a blend from a total of 21 of these local farms. I was able to try three farm representations and the blend, and it was amazing how different they were and then how artfully they were blended. This one would make a fabulous event for a whiskey night if they have distribution in your area. They are still coming into the US market, and for now, only just, it doesn’t seem to be their main thrust, but this is one to keep your eye out for.

One trend I noticed this year is the number of whiskeys coming soon that are aged in Mizunara oak casks as a finishing cask, anywhere from 6 months to two years. The most standout version was a 21-year Dewars, followed closely by Glendalough’s offering. I will be looking to do pairings with these in the future; I know the Dewars are widely available already.

Another booth I enjoyed as a whole was learning more about Frey Ranch, and their Single Malt Smoked was one of the best VIP-only pours I tried. Proof and Wood also impressed with their series of the Representative, the Senator, and their Tumblin’ Dice Heavy Rye Bourbon. Another booth I sought to try all from was the Blackened by Metallica offerings. All their coming items are great in the same vein but different from the previous offerings. Blackened remains, in my opinion, one of the better celebrity offerings for its price, in fact, being an excellent whiskey for its price in its own right.

Finally, my biggest target is the Age of Scorpio from Seven Seals. A very light whiskey, it kind of melts and dissipates on the pallet with a lot of sweetness, almost like cotton candy. I savored it in small sips, trying hard to get something more out of it, but that is what I got. I’m not sure I could pair this one with most of my preferred cigars, it would need something more delicate like Macanudo Club or Davidoff White label.


Wow, what a whirlwind and wonderful wading into the whiskey world that weekend was! The event was put on beautifully and executed well, and the timing was perfect. After sampling all I could before the last pour was called, I sat down alone with my thoughts for a while. OK, I might have hijacked a couple of deserts’ too. Whiskey Fest is open to anyone to buy a ticket, not just industry insiders, so I encourage you to find one near you if possible to visit, or if you’d rather, maybe I’ll see you in Vegas next year!



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