Reporting From WhiskeyFest 2009 — Part II

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MaltAdvocate.bmp IIThe Clyde Fitch Report was enormously excited and privileged to be press accredited for Malt Advocate magazine’s 13th annual Whiskey Fest New York, which took place on Nov. 9 at the Marriott Marquis Times Square. (Thank you again to Joan McGinley, Events and Publishing Manager of Malt Advocate, for this opportunity!)

I had attended last year’s Whiskey Fest and written a piece about it for the New York Press; attendance this year, if the crowds were any indication, were up this year – good news in recessionary times.

Story continues below.



The CFR is not a whiskey blog, per se. But I’ve acquired enthusiasm for whiskey in recent years, and so I was pleased to attend Whiskey Fest by my close friend and colleague Rik Sansone, who not only shot and edited four video interviews with distillers from around the country, but has been teaching me about whiskey’s finer points and doing, may I say, a pretty damn good job. (Thank you, Rik!)

We will present one of the four videos each Tuesday, starting today and through Dec. 22. The second interview is with John Glaser, founder of the Compass Box Whiskey Company.

Glaser is renowned for the high quality of Compass Box’s products — and their rather limited production. They bear such superlative names as Peat Monster (an accurate description!), Hedonism and Spice Tree; the latter possesses a powerful, lingering finish that bespeaks a brutal winter night on the town.

What separates Compass Box from the rest of the pack is Glaser approach to, and technique for, the blending of scotch whiskey. In the video below, he makes a point about “starting” with a great whiskey he wishes to “add to,” not coming up with a great whiskey that would itself serve as an end point. You’d have to taste his product to understand more fully what this means, but when he describes the prestidigitation behind the company’s small batches, and reading on his website about the top-tier oak casks he uses, it all comes together as a piece.

Of the five whiskies we sampled, all but the Hedonism are part of Compass Box’s signature range; only Hedonism, a whiskey a few steps above the wicked, is part of Compass Box’s limited release range, a more exclusive set of offerings.

And now, here’s John Glaser, on behalf of his terrific Compass Box whiskies: