Friday, October 8, 2010

Review: Compass Box tasting

As you may have seen from my post immediately prior to this one, there was a tasting of Compass Box whiskies last night at Federal Wine and Spirits in Boston. I attended the 5:00 tasting and want to share some thoughts about how it went.

Kevin with Compass Box founder John Glaser and Peat Monster ReserveGetting cozy with Compass Box founder John Glaser and a bottle of the Peat Monster Reserve.

In short, not my favorite tasting. That's not to say the product wasn't excellent - it's just that the crowd was too large for the space, and the space is something I have never been satisfied with (and I'm sure Federal isn't either). The basement of Federal, where this was held, is really a wine cellar, so folks are stuck into rows between wine racks, and John had to elbow his way onto a small box to stand above everyone. The rest of us were packed in shoulder-to-shoulder and had to relay glasses back and forth so everyone could get a sample. Not to mention a lot of people were disrespectful when John was trying to explain the whiskies (like the guy directly in front of him who would just talk to his friends at full volume while John was talking).

I felt a bit bad for John, and I think the situation of the room and the crowd caused me not to enjoy the whisky as much as I could have. A previous tasting, with Richard Paterson from Whyte & Mackay, was not nearly as packed and I enjoyed that one more. So this type of event is turning into less of a whisky tasting and more of a mood meter...

Of course, space in downtown Boston is at a premium and I really appreciate the efforts of Joe and Federal to bring John and many other big names in and sample us (for free!) on their whiskies. If anyone has any ideas about how to find a better space nearby for a very cheap price for these kinds of events, please let me know and I'll pass it on to them.

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