Awards & Events

So good we held it twice

Whisky Live New York is establishing itself as a major date in the Big Apple diary. Roddy Martinereports
By Roddy Martine
With Tartan Week 2006 in full swing throughout the United States of America, the celebrated Tavern on the Green in Manhattan's Central Park became the glitzy venue for the second Whisky Live New York.Following on the presentation of the Icons of Scotland Awards, sponsored by sister publication Scotland Magazine, Whisky Live New York threw open its doors at 8pm and attracted visitor numbers in excess of 850.It was a lively, bustling scene set against the multi-coloured maze of mirrored corridors and art deco interiors which have made Tavern on the Green famous the world over.Thirty eight whisk(e)y companies participated providing tastings from destinations ranging from Scotland and Ireland to Kentucky and Japan.More than 100 brands were on offer to sample, and a series of masterclasses were conducted by Ian Miller, distillery manager of Glenfiddich, Ronnie Cox, the brand ambassador of The Glenrothes, and Simon Brooking, master ambassador of Laphroaig and Dalmore.The layout of Tavern on the Green is such that Bulleit Bourbon and George Dickel were able to host an outdoors whiskey tent featuring The Great American Adventure, which included cigar rolling demonstrations.Also outside, curiously surreal as darkness fell among the brightly lit trees, were live cooperage displays by Glenfiddich.Indoors again, a $12 VIP lounge was provided by Dewars and featured both drams and games of poker. The Classic Malts Selection Experience with blind tastings and question and answer sessions took place behind an alluring velvet curtain. Other exhibitors with indirect Scotch associations included Glasgow: Scotland with Style, VisitScotland, and Glencairn Crystal Studio.Stand holders were certainly kept busy as the stream of curious enthusiasts crowded around for information and tastings, proving that the blend of Scotland, whisky and bourbon is a sure fire winner. This was very much a New York event, but spotted in the crowd, over from Scotland, were car-exhaust tycoon Sir Tom Farmer; the parents of Hollywood super star Ewan McGregor, and Colin McCredie who plays DC Macpherson in the BBC television series Taggart.Yet another highlight took place midevening when Dave Pickerill from Maker's Mark, Tom Bulleit from Bulleit Bourbon, Diageo, John Dannerbeck from the Anchor Brewing Company, and Chris Morris from Brown-Forman joined Paragraph Publishing chief executive Damian Riley-Smith on stage for an animated discussion on the virtues of bourbon. Also on hand was best selling drinks author Michael Jackson to sign copies of his latest book Whiskey: The Definitive World Guide.A magnificent buffet, with authentic Scots haggis, was on hand throughout the evening and presided over by top chef Joe Queen, who seared scallops live in a burst of flame as part of the menu.Throughout the event, diners were encouraged to relax to the vibrant sounds of the Peatbog Faeries, Mac Talla M'or, a Celtic World Roots band, playing rock, calypso, blues and jazz, and Finlay MacDonald, bringing together traditional and contemporary tunes on pipes and fiddle.