8 Reasons Why Every Whisky Lover Should Go to Whisky Live

whisky live 2018
Whisky Live Manila took place last November 9 and 10 at the Shangri-La at the Fortthe third installment of the biggest international whisky tasting event in the world. A much-awaited event for serious maltheads, Whisky Live showcases distilleries from around the globe, and doubles as an amazing opportunity for drink enthusiasts to sample rare bottles, learn more about what they drink, make new friends and connections, and further nurture their appreciation for whisky.

Much to my delight, I was invited to check out the scene again this year and who am I to say no, right? If you are a whisky lover, you need to attend the Whisky Live next year! I am already rallying my drinking buddies so we can go together next time. Below, I have compiled 8 reasons why you should be planning to get those tickets next year too!

1 | You'll get to know new brands and variants.

Even if you’re a hardcore whisky fan, chances are you will still encounter a new brand (or variant) you haven’t seen or heard of before. Think beyond the usual bottles you see in stores—at Whisky Live, you will find distilleries from all over the world, not just America, Scotland, Ireland, or Japan. For instance, I first heard about Penderyn this year—a multi-awarded brand originating from Wales. I also got introduced to newcomer Shackleton Blended Malt Scotch Whisky.

whisky live 2018

Beam Suntory, which distributes Jim Beam, Laphroaig, Suntory, Yamazaki, Hibiki, and many more, launched the Maker’s Mark Private Select in the Philippines and brought over two other brands as well: Auchentoshan (whisky) and Roku (gin), two brands which are not necessarily new but which I first tasted in this event. Johnnie Walker, apart from its rare bottles, also let everyone taste its limited edition Game of Thrones White Walker blend!

whisky live 2018
whisky live 2018

2 | You'll get to try rare whiskies.

Every Whisky Live, brands exhibit their rare (and expensive!) blends. As a true-blue malthead, you’ll get a chance to taste them all—old blends, rare casks, special editions, everything! Some of them are not even out in the market yet!

whisky live 2018
whisky live 2018

3 | You'll get to taste the most whisky you will ever have in a single night.

With over 131 whisky styles and blends to choose from, you are sure to get your whisky fix—whether you prefer scotch, bourbon, single malt, or blended. You can find it here!

whisky live 2018
whisky live 2018
Even if you have a whisky collection at home, you don’t get to sample a wide array of blends in a single night. Apart from the more familiar brands like Johnnie Walker, Jim Beam, Chivas Regal, Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Jameson, Kavalan, Monkey Shoulder, Maker’s Mark, and Dewar’s, other labels include The Balvenie, Bruichladdich, Highland Park, Tomintoul, Lambay, Smokehead, Glengoyne, Glenmorangie, Teeling, and many more!

whisky live 2018
whisky live 2018

4 | You'll learn more about your favorite drinks in the Master Classes.

I wasn’t able to attend any of the Master Classes last 2016 (my first Whisky Live, read about it here), but this year I got into two of them. In the first one, The Bitter Truth, Stephen Berg walked us through the history of the cocktail and how bitters played an important role in its evolution. In the other one, called Flavor Distinction of Different Casks, Dr. Giancarlo Bianchi or Penderyn Distillery showed us how different casks influence the tastes of whiskies.

whisky live 2018
While both classes are great, I really enjoyed the second one because I learned how to properly “nose” whisky and bring out its scents and flavors. You know those tasting notes and finish descriptions you see in various spirit’s profiles? I somehow could relate to these more after this class, haha! Dr. Bianchi made us taste 5 types of Penderyn products—I especially liked the peated one and the one stored in the sherrywood cask.

5 | You can buy rare bottles at discounted prices.

That’s right! Selected bottles are available for sale with great discounts, thanks to The Booze Shop! Attendees can drop by a special booth and place their orders—some bottles even go at Buy 1 Take 1. Whisky Live happens every November, so it’s good to hoard a couple of drinks for your holiday merrymaking! If you missed Whisky Live, you can order from their online shop (sans the discounts, however).

whisky live 2018

6 | You'll discover other amazing spirits and liquors.

Breweries normally produce many types of spirits—not just whisky—and you would typically find participating companies showcasing these at Whisky Live. For instance, Beam Suntory brings in Roku—a very smooth and delicious craft gin made with 6 Japanese botanicals you normally don’t find in the more popular gins: Sakura flower, Sakura leaf, Yuzu peel, Sencha tea, Gyokuro tea, and Sanshō pepper. I tried it straight up and it was INCREDIBLE. I’m craving for a glass now!

whisky live 2018
Two other gin brands, The Botanist and Hendrick’s, had booths set up as well. Local brews certainly didn’t want to be out of the limelight: there was Don Papa Rum and Compadre Craft Beer.

whisky live 2018

7 | You will meet fellow whisky lovers and drink enthusiasts!

I went to Whisky Live alone and left with new friends. Aside from people I know—bartenders, bar owners, bloggers, and fellow drink lovers I meet in bars—I stumbled upon a grade school classmate and I ended up hanging out with him and his friends the whole night. Apparently, not only do we were the same passion for whisky, we also went to the same university. Cool right?

whisky live 2018
Whether you’re a whisky enthusiast, a hardcore collector, or an entrepreneur, you will certainly make new connections in this event. If you own a bar and you want to stock up on some good drinks, or you manage events, or you are into whatever it is that needs booze, this is the perfect chance to learn how to get them and who to talk to.

8 | You will have tons of fun while you drink!

This one doesn’t need an explanation, does it?

whisky live 2018

Whisky Live Basics

Attending for the first time? Here are some things you need to know before you enter the biggest whisky showcase in the Philippines:

1 | You will receive a Whisky Live kit containing the following: a Glencairn tasting glass, a bottle of Evian, 8 red chips, 1 blue chip, 1 white chip, and a survival kit (mints, eye drops, headache tablets).

2 | You need to sign a waiver before you enter. Yes, it’s to make sure you don’t blame the event in case something happens—like losing some valuables or causing a ruckus. You are entirely responsible for yourself, so make sure you drink sensibly as well and make the night pleasurable for you and for everyone else.

3 | You can get more chips—provided you pass the Breathalyzer test. Yes, they have to make sure you’re not wasted before they give you more whisky.

4 | There are 2-day passes and early bird discounts! Follow Whisky Live’s social media pages and subscribe to SingleMalt.ph to hear the news first!


How to Survive Whisky Live

1 | Pacing is everything.

First-timers will surely get excited to try everything once they enter the Shangri-La ballroom filled with whisky booths. My advice? Calm down a bit and try to finish each sample slowly. If you hop from one booth to the next like an excited bunny (like I did the first time), you will get drunk in less than 2 hours! I know that spitting out the whisky is a mortal sin (those who only want to get a taste but not consume the whisky actually do this), so it’s ok if you want to gulp down everything as long as you do it at the proper pace. Which leads me to #2.

2 | Choose wisely.

You don’t want to get drunk with Black Label, do you? I mean, there’s nothing wrong with Black Label, but it’s something you normally drink on a Friday night out! So at Whisky Live, stay away from brands you have tried before and try the rare ones and those you’ve first seen at the event. Skip the rest!

whisky live 2018

3 | Stay hydrated.

There’s an Evian bottle at your Whisky Live kit for a reason! Think about it—if you manage to stay sober, you can try more whisky varieties! The main showcase area is also equipped with water stations so there’s no reason for you not to have a few breaks in between sips.

4 | Eat greasy food before you go.

It’s tried and tested: if you eat greasy food, you will not get drunk as fast as you normally would. Take it from me—I ate a salad before my first Whisky Live and I found myself sleeping at Shangri-La Fort after the event (what a nice way to be wasted hahahaha). This time, I ate a proper greasy dinner, and I lasted from 5:30PM to 12:00AM. Hahahaha. Yes, almost 7 hours of drinking (forgive me, liver)!

Follow Whisky Live's'WebsiteFacebook, and Instagram.

whisky live 2018

Have you been to Whisky Live? How was your experience?

If you like my posts and would love regular updates on travel photos, food finds, restaurant reviews, dance articles, and drunken tales, follow Pepe Samson on Facebook!

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