When was the last time you drank 50-year-old Scotch while gazing at one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World? If it was just last year then you must have been one of the lucky few whiskey aficionados to be whisked away to the Grand Canyon for a tasting of some very old Glenfiddich. But if you missed it, make note: The fourth annual Universal Whisky Experience pours into Las Vegas April 2-5, and continues its tradition of outdoing itself. As always, the now four-day affair culminates in The Nth (as in “whiskeys to the Nth degree”), the ultimate celebration of Scotch, Irish, American and even Japanese whiskeys hosted once again at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Wynn Las Vegas by commercial real estate developer and extreme whiskey collector Mahesh Patel. True, you could also jet over to Scotland this spring in search of the world’s best Scotch. But why freeze your sporran off when you can let the world’s best Scotch come to you? Here’s the breakdown.
High Roller Experience
If the depths of your wallet are matched only by your desire for prestige whiskey, this VIP package ($2,495 per person) is for you. Check in Thursday and relax until the evening; you’ll want your wits about you for the Whisky Speed Dating Dinner, hosted by five spirit celebrities who will walk — or rather, run — you through their portfolios. The next day, dive into the deep end at the exclusive High Roller Lounge for early access to the Super Pours (those rare, unique and once-in-a-lifetime drams of your dreams) before everyone else. This allows you to focus your efforts on flagship whiskeys or new projects when doors open for The Nth, the grand tasting in Four-Star Encore at Wynn Las Vegas’ Beethoven Ballroom attended by distillers, master blenders, ambassadors and other whiskey luminaries, followed by a gourmet dinner prepared by Wynn Las Vegas’ executive chef James Benson. Then, on Saturday, attend up to four Master Classes, where you can truly geek out with other serious collectors at seated tastings with topics ranging from the art of blending to tasting the older variations of the Highland Park Warrior series. Meet “The Nose,” master blender Richard Paterson, or try the latest release from Glenmorangie with brand ambassador David Blackmore.
If time is short, the Friday-only package is just $525 per person, and includes access to the grand tasting with two Super Pours, gourmet dinner prepared by Benson, a Glencairn cut-crystal tasting glass, cigar and a bonus event, a tasting of the first releases from the Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Company and panel discussion about aging whiskey. We have to admit that the $300-per-dram Super Pours alone make this event worthwhile for the whiskey lover.
Bring a Guest
If you’ve ever heard the term “Whiskey Widow,” you know full well why The Nth offers a Companion Ticket. Now you can bring a non-whiskey lover for company and to bounce tasting notes off for just $275. The package includes access to the tasting plus dinner, but with champagne and wine instead of whiskey. Relationship saved.
Sip the Links
Add a round of golf to either package for $275 per person, and you’ll likely find yourself teeing off with a distiller or two at Canyon Gate Country Club. Enjoy round-trip transportation, green fees, clubs, cart, balls, a hot breakfast before you tee off, three premium drinks, whiskey tasting during and after play, cigars, a post-play barbecue, and, yes, more whiskey.
Glenfiddich Does It Again
Not quite the Grand Canyon this year, but a grand feast, nonetheless. Arrive a day early for a private cocktail reception and Whiskey Pairing Dinner, ($165 per person; call 702-414-3737 to RSVP) at 6:30 p.m. on April 2 at Four-Star Delmonico Steakhouse, a veritable whiskey temple in Four-Star The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino with malt master Brian Kinsman, Glenfiddich brand ambassador Mitch Bechard and Delmonico’s mixologist Max Solano. Chef de cuisine Ronnie Rainwater will prepare a four-course menu paired with Glenfiddich 12-, 15-, 18- and 21-year-old Scotch. Guests will also receive a complimentary cigar from Alec Bradley.
Photo Courtesy of Ultimate Whisky Experience