Tasting Report: Whiskies of the World Expo San Francisco 2013

Tasting Report: Whiskies of the World Expo San Francisco 2013

Either Whiskies of the World is getting bigger or I’m getting slower. Looking at the list below you’d think I scoured this increasingly high-quality event from top to bottom. In reality I barely scratched the surface, completely missing tastings from Kavalan, Amrut, Tyrconnell, and more. Note to self next year: Focus!

Brief thoughts on everything I sampled at the event follow.

Tasting Report: Whiskies of the World San Francisco 2013

American Whiskey

Hirsch Small Batch Reserve Bourbon / A / great vanilla, butterscotch character
Old Medley 12 Years Old Bourbon / B / big wood, some spice
Willett Pot Still Reserve Bourbon / B+ / lots of grain influence, dry wood
High West Rendezvous Rye / B+ / interesting dill notes
Lost Spirits Leviathan II / B+ / similar to the original, a monster peat bog
Lost Spirits Ouroboros Cask #1 / A- / crazy, smoke collides with fruit in a big way (full review coming soon)
Corsair Artisan Quinoa Whiskey / B / big grains, fiery nose


Arran Sauternes Finish / A- / big almond influence, malty
Bruichladdich The Sixteen / A- / chewy, nougat, slight woodiness
Chieftain’s Miltonduff 1989 22 Years Old / B+ / huge fire, citrus notes
Chieftain’s Craigellachie 1991 21 Years Old / B+ / relatively easy/simple
Glenglassaugh North American Exclusive 27 Years Old / A / a big whiskey, tons of power, depth
Glenmorangie Ealanta / A- / unpeated 19 year old whiskey that’s spent its life in virgin, unused casks; lots of Bourbon and vanilla character, chocolate
Douglas Laing Dailvaine 28 Years Old / B+ / lots of smoke of front, some tobacco, wood
Douglas Laing Inchgower 30 Years Old / A- / huge cotton candy, caramel notes
Gordon and MacPhail Ledaig St. Joseph Finish 1993 / B+ / smoldering, chewy, dry finish
Gordon and MacPhail Speymalt Macallan 21 Years Old / A- / big, chewy Mac
Gordon and MacPhail Old Pulteney 21 Years Old / A / great balance, some fruit, vanilla, cookies
Muirhead’s Silver Seal Speyside 1992 Limited Edition 20 Years Old / B+ / big grain character
Samaroli Bunnahabhain 1978 / C+ / sweaty, not drinking well
Samaroli Caol Ila Selezione Samaroli Top Class 1980 / B+ / big, peaty, chewy
Samaroli Glen Garioch 1990 / B / minty, a bit odd
Samaroli Evolution Selezione 2011 / A- / not feeling the usual awesomeness tonight
Samaroli Glen Scotia 1992 / B / leathery, coal fires
Samaroli Isle of Jura 1997 / B+ / fiesty, gritty
Samaroli Tomintoul Selezione Samaroli Top Class 1967 / A- / malty, surprisingly light; gingerbread finish
Old Pulteney 17 Years Old / A- / 17 years all in sherry casks, intense citrus and nuts
Old Pulteney 21 Years Old / A / great body, rich nougat character
Old Pulteney 30 Years Old / A / lovely and rich, a standout
Talisker 30 Years Old / B+ / smoke and sweet, well-melded
Tomatin 30 Years Old / B+ / silky, then a brooding finish

Other Whiskeys

Bushmills 21 Years Old / B+ / lots of grain influence
Nikka 15 Years Old / A- / light, delightful smoke and sweetness

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. TW on April 16, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Lots of grain influence? Bushmills 21 is single malt.

    • Christopher Null on April 16, 2013 at 5:42 pm

      Yes, malted barley is a grain. Didn’t mean to imply it was a “grain whiskey.”

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