Tasting Report: Whiskies of the World Expo San Francisco 2010

Tasting Report: Whiskies of the World Expo San Francisco 2010

Was it the crowds (insane), the heat (manageable), or the rumor that some lady had thrown up near the buffet an hour into the event (just gross, yet credible)?

Whatever the case this year I found myself not in the whiskey groove at the ordinarily smashing Whiskies of the World San Francisco event. It was probably the crowds that did it, literally shoulder to shoulder as people muscled their way through a far-too-small ballroom en route to well over 100 artisan spirits. Plenty of good stuff was being poured — I know, because I’ve tried a lot of it in the past — but the scene was so crazy that really enjoying the experience was tough.

Still, some favorites were certainly discoverable. My tops of the night: Ardmore’s 30 Year Old single malt, a powerful companion to its Traditional Cask, which I’ve written about here a few times before. Other favorites I’ve had before, including Glenmorangie Lasanta, and Tomintoul’s 27 and 31 Year Old Scotches.

Complete ratings (and limited notes) follow:

Whiskies of the World San Francisco 2010

Bourbon and Others
Buffalo Trace Bourbon / B+
Dickel Barrel Select Bourbon / B+
Corsair Artisan Triple Smoke Whiskey / B- / immature
Dry Fly 100% Wheat Whiskey / B+
Lark Single Cask Single Malt Whisky / A-
St. George Single Malt Whiskey / B / thin
Bushmills 1608 Crystal Malt / B+ / not showing well tonight, normally a fave
High West Mountain Rye / B-

Aberfeldy 12 Year Old / A-
Ardmore 30 Year Old / A
Balblair 1991 / B / hot
Bruichladdich Organic / A-
Glenmorangie Lasanta Sherry Cask 12 Year Old / A-
Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban Port Cask 12 Year Old / B+
Isle of Jura 16 Year Old / B+
Isle of Skye 8 Years Old / B+
Johnnie Walker Blue Label / B+ / still a letdown
Johnnie Walker Swing / B / a peaty style from JW, weird
Laphroaig Cask Strength / B+ / the 10 year old at 111 proof
Mackillops Choice Glenlivet 1977 / B / got to meet Lorne Mackillop in person, at last
Mackillops Choice Highland Park 1980 / B+
Old Pulteney 17 Year Old / B
Old Pulteney 21 Year Old / B
Tomintoul 16 Year Old / B+
Tomintoul 27 Year Old / A- / nicely smooth, liked better than the 31 this time
Tomintoul 31 Year Old / A-

Corsair Red Absinthe / B+ / intriguing, colored with hibiscus
Germain-Robin Craft-Method Brandy XO / B+

Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. Ash on March 30, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    Ah, I heard about Lark from Australia appearing at WotW! Glad to see they’re doing alright. :) It’s not always easy to track down bottles of Australian single malt even here in Australia, although Lark is certainly on on my list.

  2. John Hansell on March 30, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    See you again at WhiskyFest San Francisco in October? Be sure to track me down and say Hi.

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