Water of Life – The Whisky Show
Anyone who is paying a bit of attention to this series would have come across the name David Ligoff, a man that has been and is wearing a myriad of hats: Founder of World of Whisky, the only specialist whisky store in Australia, and apart from various curation and endeavours as conferencier, he is the owner of Alchemist Events.
In essence, Alchemist Event is aiming at constantly pushing the boundaries of what spirits-centric events can be imagined as without entering novelty territory.
Case in point: The Whisky Show, which has firmly established itself as THE whisk(e)y extravaganza on terra australis.
Having refined the art of sophisticated event management and honouring the experience that the purposeful drinking of whisky entails, Ligoff and his team’s 2019 bespoke incarnation of The Whisky Show proved to be yet another well-thought through event that not only managed to secure a dream line-up in terms of established and highly reputable distilleries, but one that paid equal attention to getting newcomers to the ever expanding table that is the Australian whisky landscape.
When it came to recalibrating my palate, I was in the thrall of the pentagon that was comprised of Ardbeg’s offerings, Laphroaig (finally got to taste the excellent Lore along with my go-to dram Quarter Cask), English Whisky Co’s Peated Expression (fantastic culmination of their excellent line-up of quality expressions), Big Peat and Paul John – an Indian distillery that has been criminally neglected by your humble narrator so far and which has positioned itself as a prime candidate for a dedicated feature of this series.
The extraordinary 2019 Whisky Show showcased not only close to two-hundred expressions from over fifty distilleries covering the whole spectrum of flavours from light and floral to smoky heavily peated ones, but also masterclasses, whisky cocktails and a pop-up shop offering an extensive range of whiskies at special show prices.
Gentleman’s Cabinet and charismatic whisky legend Peter Stevens held court to illuminate attendant with a careful blend of education and experience when it came to all things cigar, which rounded out the well-calibrated array of booths that framed the event.
A specific App was created specifically for the event, which helped to navigate through the evening, assisted with the creation of lists and tasting notes.
Discoveries of the evening included - apart from Paul John distillery – the offerings of The New Zealand Whisky Collection, which included a Whisky Show exclusive bottling, GlenAllachie’s ex-Bourbon 10 Cask Strength and the dram I was able to sample from a distillery from the land of the rising sun, i.e. Yamazakura.
Needless to say that the treats of “Whisky Wonka” was the cream and cherry on top – both figuratively and literally - Laphroaig infused ice-cream flavours and brownies anyone? The treats were created by David Ligoff and his family and from what I sampled, I’d go as far as claiming that it’d be a crime if the creations were not to become commercially available.
Having teamed up with Uber, the Alchemists enabled attendants to claim Whisky Show vouchers so they’d safely carve their way to and from the event.