The whiskey conference: This is now a thing. There are whiskey appreciators, whiskey connoisseurs and now, whiskey nerds. If you are all, neither, or one, then this is a “conference” for you, says Nicole Buckler.
As you read this story, the Nth Universal Whiskey Experience 2020 is being held in Las Vegas. This is the 10th year of the event’s existence, and it is becoming quite the famous gathering for those who have a penchant for the finer things. But this isn’t just any whiskey—it’s old, rare and some brand-new whiskey that you wouldn’t get anywhere except at the conference.
The annual event is the brainchild of Mahesh Patel, who calls himself a “whiskey enthusiast.” Mahesh’s great passion in life is whiskey. A connoisseur and enthusiast, he frequently attends exclusive whisky events and gatherings globally. He has been a collector of fine and rare whiskeys for more than 20 years. He recently bought a bottle of The Dalmore Trinitas, one of the world’s most expensive whiskies ($230,500-a-bottle kind of expensive). That’s around $50k a glass.
Every year, Patel invites all of the famous whiskey makers to his conference and has asks them to bring their best and most rare whiskeys. Paying punters can taste excruciatingly expensive bottles by the dram (shot glass). This event is not for the faint of heart. If you are the type to take your clothes off and start poledancing on the nearest streetlight after three drinks (not naming anyone…okay me) then this isn’t your gig. But if you can pace yourself and enjoy that swirling feeling of burning old wood on your palate, then you’ll be just fine.
You can buy different levels of tickets to the conference. For example, the High Roller Ticket costs $4,150. This is only for the most passionate of whiskey aficionados. But, if you just like to dabble, a connoisseur day ticket costs $840. Every ticket gives you the opportunity to be exposed to drams you have never had, nor may ever see again. That rare bottle you’ve been dying to try? It will be there. Mmmm…I can taste it now (and will feel the room spinning later.)
For those who purchase the more expensive tickets, you can go to classes. It is like school but only much, much better. Whiskey nerds are very excited about the schooling. They blog obsessively about unique drams or tastings they are being exposed to by the educators.
These are the teachers you prayed for in school. They are master distillers and blenders, sharing a lifetime of experience and knowledge with guests…along with “super pours” (whiskeys valued at around €300 a dram). And you don’t just hang around some Las Vegas conference hall. Last year, whiskey conference attendees were taken to the Grand Canyon to sample a 50-year-old Glenfiddich. People stood around the giant natural phenomenon, while they drank “liquid gold.” Most of us call it liquid lunch, and sometimes, Burleigh Heads is just as good as the Grand Canyon. Cheers! But if you want to do it with like-minded whiskey nerds, then this is your gig.
The organisers also feed you, which is probably an act of self-preservation. It’s gourmet, designed to match the whiskeys that are being enjoyed. It really is an all-round pleasure fest, and the Instagram opportunities are endless.
This month’s event will showcase the world’s five most expensive bottles of scotch: Dalmore Trinitas, Johnnie Walker Diamond Jubilee, Royal Salute Tribute to Honor, Macallan Lalique and the Glendfiddich Janet Sheed. The total value is over $2.62 million. If you love whiskey, then get on your private plane and get over to Las Vegas. Or you could fly economy and pretend you flew in your private jet. The whiskey will still be just as good. Happy tastings, Gold Coasters! ■
The Most Expensive Whiskey In The World
The Macallan 1926 60-year-old
This whiskey recently sold for a whopping $2.3million, breaking previous records of the most expensive whisky in the world. Christie’s of London moved this item at the Finest & Rarest Wines & Spirits auction. This bottle was part of a twenty-four bottle limited edition series. The ultrarare beverage was distilled in the year 1926. It sat aging in ex-sherry casks in Scotland for 60 years, until 1986, when it was bottled. The bottle was hand-painted by renowned Irish artist Michael Dillon. There is only one hand-painted Dillon bottle in the world, which explains its price.
The Macallan Valerio Adami 1926
This whiskey fetched a whopping $1.7 million when it came under the hammer at Bonham’s whiskey sale in Edinburg, Scotland in October 2018. The bottle was designed and crafted by artist Valerio Adami. It was a limited-edition series – only twenty-four bottles were ever released by the brand. Of those, only 12 had Valerio Adami’s name against them. The whiskey was distilled in the year 1926 and is one of the rarest drinks on the planet. It was bottled after sixty years in the year 1986. It holds the reputation as being a unique blend of vintage and rarity.
Macallan “M” whisky
This whiskey recently sold for $964,200. The sum was paid by a buyer in Hong Kong in January. The hand-blown decanter created as much value as the whiskey did. It took 17 craftsmen over 50 hours to complete the final bottle. It is one of only four “Constantine” bottles in existence. The whiskey was aged in casks for 25 to 75 years.
Yamazaki Single Malt Whiskey Aged 50 Years NV
This is a rare Japanese whisky. It fetched $465,000 at Sotheby’s Finest and Rarest sale in Hong Kong recently. The Yamazaki distillery was founded in 1923 by Shinjiro Torii. It was Japan’s first commercial whisky distillery. This whiskey was matured in casks made from mizunara (Japanese Oak). Only three editions of 50-year-old Yamazaki were produced. It is one of the scarcest Japanese whiskies – the first edition consisted of just 50 vessels and was bottled in 2005.
The Dalmore Trinitas
This is one of the world’s most expensive whiskeys at $250,000 a bottle. It is part of a limited-edition series; in fact, the company had released only three bottles. Of those three, only one was available for sale. The whiskey was created from batches that have been preserved from 1868, 1926, 1878 and 1939.
Johnnie Walker Diamond Jubilee Whiskey
This is a snip at $240,500 per bottle. Assuming that there are 28 drams in a bottle, that’s around $8,590 grand a dram. It is held in a diamond-shaped crystal decanter made by Baccarat, with a silver collar set with a half-carat diamond. Only 60 bottles were ever made, making this limited-edition whiskey very valuable. The whiskey itself is a blend of grain and malt whiskies, all distilled in 1952. It was left to age in a cask of English oak from the Queen’s Sandringham Estate.
Want to attend in 2021? Then click here.
If you like the finer things in life, then check this out. It is the perfect place to drink your outrageously rare whiskey.
Editor for Silver Magazine Gold Coast