Whisky Live Chicago 2019 Recap - The Whiskey Wash

Whisky Live Chicago 2019 Recap

By Joe McEwan / January 24, 2020

One of whisky’s premier trade events made its triumphant return to the city of Chicago this past November. Sponsored by Stockan’s Oatcakes, Whisky Live took place in the north side neighborhood of Ravenswood at the Artifact Events Center. Guests were greeted at the door with a complimentary Whisky Live Glencairn, a current issue of American Whiskey Magazine (complimentary subscriptions for VIP ticket holders), and unlimited food and drink.

Those in attendance were allowed to speak with representatives of some of the top and rising craft brands. Some of the highlights of the evening came from producers such as Michter’s. Virginia Distillery Company, Armorik, and Chicago’s own Koval.

Michters debuted their 2019 expression of Shenk’s Homestead Sour Mash Bourbon. A legacy brand now produced by Michter’s; Shenk’s Homestead origins go back 1753 where Michael and John Shenk made whiskey in Schaefferstown, PA at the sight that would go on to become the original site of Michter’s. The 2019 release of Shenk’s is a non-age stated bottling featuring bourbons between 5-7 years old and uses Chinkapin oak; a native midwestern tree species that grow around rivers and closely resembles the character of American white oak.

Virginia Distilling Company introduced Prelude at Whisky Live in Chicago (image via Virginia Distilling Company)

Koval Distillery located in the north Chicago suburb Evanston, IL shared some exciting news in that they will be expanding their footprint in 2020. Their larger distillery will finally feature storefront as well as a full-service bar. In addition to providing full sensory guest tours; their site will also provide workshops and educational seminars.

The eventful news for Chicago continues with new releases from Armorik. The Brittany based line of whiskeys featured two expressions exclusive to the Chicago market. Working with their distributor in the area BC Merchants, a company that has been making a name for themselves with their handpicked whiskeys, now offers a unique sherry and port cask expressions.

Finally, a distillery that has made some news as of late, Virginia Distillery Company. With the litigation issues with the Scotch Whisky Association behind them, they are moving full steam ahead with their newest expression “Prelude”. Releasing this holiday season, Prelude is an early debut (see what they did there?) of the newest edition to their core line “Courage & Conviction” which is set to release later in 2020. Made following the Standard of Identity as laid out by the American Single Malt Whiskey Commission; Prelude is aged separately in a combination of ex-bourbon, sherry, red wine Cuvee barrels for a minimum of three years in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

Whisky Live also featured an array of other exclusives and guided tasting seminars throughout the night including one conducted by Whiskey Wash alumni and American Whiskey Magazine content editor Maggie Kimberl who walked us through Whiskey Magazine’s newest blended whiskey. More of an infinity bottle; the blend comprises of more than 230 bottles (mostly scotch) for a unique profile of honey, sandalwood incense, and mild peat.

Future WhiskyLive dates can be found on their website at whiskylive.com.