Whether or not you spell it with an E, Whisky Live is a dream come true for any lover of the brown spirit of life. A tasting show that travels the globe over the course of the year, the three-and-a-half-hour event parks itself at Chelsea Piers tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. With over 300 whiskies — including small-batch bourbons, single-malt scotches, and Japanese rarities — the only drawback is having to deal with work on Thursday.
Tickets aren’t cheap; general admission fetches $119, and a $30 upcharge entitles you to VIP entrance at 5:30 p.m. But for that premium, attendees gain access to unlimited samples from brands far and wide, as well as three hours of buffeting, and live entertainment. While the specifics on the entertainment remain unclear (there will be bagpipes), the dinner spread promises to include carved brisket braised in Four Roses bourbon. With enough booze and beef, a puppet show would qualify as a perfectly reasonable live act.
For the higher-minded crowd, however, there will be three master classes offered throughout the event, each an hour in length. The first of the evening provides a glimpse into the evolution of scotch over the past five centuries. Later on, Balblair’s brand ambassador explains the philosophy behind vintage releases, before the concluding seminar delves into the effects of wood on whisky.
Assembling so many renowned spirits under one roof presents a welcome challenge: explore exclusive expressions that you have yet to experience, or head straight to the faithful go-tos? The answer is “yes.” You certainly won’t want to pass up new releases from local favorites like Hudson Whiskey, or Kings County — I’m hoping that the former bring their Double Charred and the latter their Peated Bourbon. But save room for faraway sensations such as Yamazaki and Nikka from Japan. Just don’t be afraid to use the spit bucket from time to time; Whisky Live reserves the right to remove anyone who doesn’t sample responsibly.
Here’s a complete list of participating brands.