This week, Fort Lauderdale will serve as a returning host for the annual Whisky Extravaganza, one of just three locations on the East Coast this year.
On Thursday, December 7, the event will offer whiskey novices and aficionados the chance to explore a wide range of the most prestigious single malt, premium, Scotch, and other unique whiskeys from around the world in addition to curated culinary pairings.
The event has a 24-year history, originally founded in Seattle by the IWSC Group, an event company that represents some of the world's leading spirit producers. The goal of the inaugural event: to foster a deeper appreciation of whiskey and its complexities by connecting consumers and brands through curated experiences.
Today, the Whisky Extravaganza has expanded to host tasting events and master classes in major cities across the U.S., offering enthusiasts from beginners to connoisseurs the opportunity to learn about and sample some of the world's best spirits.
"The Whisky Extravaganza has deep roots in Fort Lauderdale," said IWSC Group CEO Dominique Love. "It was founded 24 years ago by Alan Shayne, then president of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America, which was headquartered in the Fort Lauderdale/Miami area. Today, the event takes place in ten cities, many of which were initially chosen based on SMWSA members. As we look to 2018, we have our sights on expanding into other markets but will continue to host the Fort Lauderdale event, enjoying our long-term friendships and drawing new whiskey enthusiasts."
Each event offers a tasting session open to general admission ticket holders, as well as the opportunity to participate in several master classes — more private and intimate tastings curated by industry experts and featuring culinary pairings.
New this year, the 2017 Whisky Extravaganza master class series will focus on women in the whiskey community. In Fort Lauderdale, the event will highlight two female-led master-class presenters.
Event-goers can learn more about the process of aging and maturation with an immersive portfolio tasting of the John Milroy Selection led by Gabrielle Shayne and Lauren Mayer, also known as the Whisky Sisters. Or try an array of offerings from Glen Moray Scotch with U.S. brand ambassador Andi Wrede, who will offer insight into how flavor profiles change depending on the cask.
Also new this year is the introduction of a Whisky Wisdom cocktail experience, open to all guests, which will highlight specific brands via unique cocktail stations curated by Gary Crunkleton of the Crunkleton in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. They will be based on four flavor-profile themes: fruity and floral, young and old, light and full-bodied, and sweet, dry, smokey.
For food, ticket holders can expect a variety of create-your-own stations offering everything from sliders to sandwiches. There will also be a meat-carving table, as well as action stations for salad and pasta that include gluten-free and meat-free options.
Tickets to the event are $150 per person and include a special souvenir tasting glass (to properly nose and sample from a selection of premium whiskeys). Those looking to expand their whiskey knowledge can also check online for seat availability for any of the six Fort Lauderdale master classes.
The Whisky Extravaganza. 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday, December 7, at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa, 3030 Holiday Dr., Fort Lauderdale; 954-525-4000; marriott.com. Tickets cost $150 via xorbia.com.
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