CREDIT: Catherine Sikora: (austinscotchlovers.com)

Lately I have been loving the richness of my life when it comes to Scotch. This is thanks in large  part to Whiskies of the World coming to Austin September 17, 2015. Douglas Smith, the event director of WOW, has blessed me with some opportunities and subsequently, blessed me with more Scotch as well! So today I am going to share with you all the goodness that has come my way thanks to Whiskies of the World and Douglas, and really express my gratitude!

Douglas invited me to help support the Judges who worked hard all day to appraise the whiskies that were submitted for the judging panel for Whiskies of the World 2015. This happened August 31 at Ironwood Hall. I got to help pour, serve and take away whiskies, clean up broken glass, and transcribe judges notes into the computer so they could be shared with the distilleries who entered the contest. After it was over, Douglas blessed me with 2 bottles of Scotch, a Laphraoig 15 and a Tomatin 18. Both amazing! Thanks so much Douglas!

The great friend of the Austin Scotch Lovers, Dan Crowell, came to Austin to work at Whiskies of the World. I invited him to dinner with some of my friends and he accepted! We had a marvelous evening of food and Scotch the night before WOW, Wednesday September 16th. Thanks Dan – you are truly a gift to the World of Whisky!
I mentioned to Douglas that there were not enough tweets to promote WOW and he asked if I wanted to help him tweet for the festival! Would I? Of course! So I had the privilege of crafting and sending out tweets for Whiskies of the World Austin and Douglas was so happy with my work I get to keep going, tweeting for Houston and Atlanta! I am so proud! For my efforts, I got a free ticket to the Bon Vivant Hour. The Bon Vivant Hour was a special extra hour Douglas dreamed up for Austin. It included 13 high end whiskies paired with delicious morsels of food prepared by the chefs at the Four seasons Austin. Here are some of the photos I took and the whiskies and food I tried:
Ladyburn 41 and Smoked Trout Rolls: 
Girvan Single Grain 30 and Fois Gras Doughnuts:
Johnnie Walker Blue with Quail Eggs: 
Royal Crown XR LaSalle with Creme Brulee:
Glenmorangie Signet with Handmade Chocolates:   
Glenfiddich 26 with Cheeses:
Tomatin 1988 with Shrimp Tomato Bisque: 
Mortlach Rare Old with Shitake mushrooms on Pecan crackers:
I decided that something that would be great for my Austin Scotch Lovers members who attended Whiskies of the World would be to see if I could get some extra swag donated form the brand ambassadors I have met over the last year. So many came through so incredibly! Dan Crowell from Glenmorangie had a huge box of Glenmorangie glasses shipped to my house! Heather Ann Jensen from Beam Suntory met me and gave me boxes of Glen Garioch glasses and Laphraoig Pens! Blake Lindlow from Edrington group also met up with me and have me a huge box filled with The Macallan Glasses and Cutty Sark Shot glasses and pens, plus booklets! Michelle Fedor from Bruichlaaddich gave us each a Bruichladdich Glencairn Glass! Mayra Isais from Diageo gave me a whole bag full of goodies to distribute when I met up with her at the festival. She had Johnnie Walkers Pens, Talisker bracelets, Buchanan cuff links and more little treasures like that! So I gathered all the goodies and made a decorated bag for each member and sorted everything out! Thanks so much to all the wonderful Brand Ambassadors who came through for us! My husband was a great help to me in the process! Thanks Steve! The bags were a big hit with everyone who came to Whiskies of the World! The only problem is I don’t know if I can top this for next year!
So when it was finally time for the big night, I loaded up my bags and left Georgetown with my best friend, Lisa. My terrific husband, Steve, drove us. We left at 4:30 and arrived at the Four Seasons at 5:30! I had just enough time to unload the bags, meet Mayra, distribute the last treasures, stash the bags under a table, greet Douglas, check in, go to the bathroom, and be ready for Bon Vivant Hour at 6pm. I handed out some bags to members who were there and then spent the rest of the night giving them out as people found me! The night was a whirlwind! I could not believe how fast it was over. I tried many new whiskies, including Kavalan Soloist, Old Pulteney 17 and 21, and Kininvie 23. One of the treats of the evening was the Ardbeg Haar. Dan loaded it up with Ardbeg 10 and it was vaporizing all night, scenting the area around the Glenmorangie and Ardbeg tables. The best part was when Dan handed me a glass straw and I sucked in the vapor! OMG! What a sensory experience like no other! The Scotch hit all of my mouth everywhere all at once and evaporated before I could even register it was there! So fun! I tried far less whisky then the year before, but saw so many old and new friends and laughed and compared notes and just really had a great time. Lisa and I had the most fun bringing samples of whisky to Dan to try. He would breathe in the aromas first through one nostril and then the other, like he had told us about at the dinner the night before, and then talk about what he smelled and tasted, amazing us with his incredible appreciation for whisky in all its forms. We met David Perkins from High West Whiskey and maybe we got to try something that is not ready to be sold yet, or maybe it was only a wish that we did. My only real complaint was that the food was not plentiful and we were definitely ready for a meal when we left. I hate to admit this, because I feel very naughty about this, but I skipped the masterclass I signed up for because I just couldn’t leave the festival to go sit in a class away from all the fun! Sorry David! I am sure it was terrific!

Steve stayed at an Ihop nearby grading papers and came to pick us up about 10:15 or so. We didn’t want to leave and I think next year an after party is in order!

Douglas said there were about 500 people at the festival! There was whisky, food, cigars, classes and more whisky to be had! We are already planning next year’s event. I recommend you start blocking the time off now, and don’t be out of town or attending a wedding or anything like that! Keep your priorities in order and come to Whiskies of the World Austin in 2016!