What I Did Right at WhiskyFest Chicago

WhiskyFest Chicago 2015 Glass

Well I have survived. Thank to Pops and everyone else who were praying for me to make it back relatively unscathed and with a few stories to tell. After failing miserably at my first whiskey festival I learned a few things that I applied this year, and I think I can say that the weekend was a success. Here are some of the top things that helped me make the most of my experience at WhiskyFest Chicago.

1. I downloaded the app: One of the promotional emails I received prior to the event suggested I download the WhiskyFest app prior to attending and it turned out to be a great resource. When you open the app you see the event’s social feed. When I opened it the evening before the event it was full of people taking selfies on the train and asking for recommendations and advice. Even today, five days after WhiskyFest, it is still full of pictures and excitement. It was a really nice way to instantly bond with a group of strangers. Once I got into the grand tasting the map of the floor, and especially the list of whiskey, made it invaluable. I was actually able to keep track and rate of each one that I tried. I even managed a few notes before I decided that typing was really not worth the effort. Continue Reading →

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Four Roses Bourbon Tasting Dinner


Four Roses Bourbon Dinner & Tasting Info Image

Who wants to have dinner and drinks with Four Roses’ Master Distiller Jim Rutledge?

Bourbon & Banter is pleased to announce that Jim Rutledge will be joining us on May 6th to host a Four Roses bourbon dinner and tasting at Copia Restaurant & Wine Bar in St. Louis, MO.

Four Roses has won American Whisky Distiller of the Year honors from Whisky Magazine 4 of the last 5 years for good reason. Much of that success is due to the passion, expertise and dedication of their Master Distiller, Jim Rutledge. Here’s a short bio lifted directly from Four Roses’ website:

Jim Rutledge has been the Master Distiller at Four Roses since 1995. It’s a vocation that requires the use of every one of his considerable talents: chemistry, artistry, craftsmanship, marketing and salesmanship. It’s a good thing he’s so passionate about Four Roses that he’s willing to do whatever is necessary to create and produce a Bourbon with perfect consistency day after day. As a member of the inaugural class of the Bourbon Hall of Fame, Jim watches over the character, quality and consistency of each barrel of Four Roses Bourbon. Every stage of the distillation process is critical and you’ll find Jim’s hands, eyes and nose – as well as his heart and soul in every one of them.

“Mr. Four Roses,” as Jim has come to be known, takes both his passion and knowledge about making Bourbon with him wherever his travels take him. And as Four Roses’ biggest ambassador, Jim is truly a man in constant motion. There’s a new friend to make, a new story to tell and a little Bourbon to share each step along the way. So pull up a chair, pour yourself a sip or two of your new favorite Bourbon and visit our Mingle section to see when Jim’s travels might take him to your area.

2012 – Whisky Magazine inducted Jim Rutledge into its Global Whisky Hall of Fame. He was the 13th person to achieve this honor and recognition.
2008 – Whisky Magazine names Jim Rutledge the industry’s “2008 Ambassador of the Year for American Whiskeys.”
2007 – Malt Advocate Magazine awards Jim Rutledge the “Lifetime Achievement Award.”

We hope you can join us for what will be an unforgettable evening of great food, amazing bourbon and spirited banter with a true bourbon legend. Complete event details and online ticket sales are available via the button below.

Learn More About the Four Roses Bourbon Dinner

PS – We’ve had the privilege of spending time with Jim on several occasions and every time we come away simply amazed at his knowledge, passion and stories. He doesn’t get to St. Louis very often so we strongly encourage you to join us for is sure to be one of the bourbon highlights of your year.


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What to Try at WhiskyFest Chicago 2015

WhiskyFest Chicago 2015 header

I am very excited to be attending my first WhiskyFest Chicago this coming weekend, April 10th. Over 350 whiskeys, nine seminars, a chance to talk with the distillers and blenders who make your favorite whiskeys, and only four hours to do it all. With those kinds of opportunities and that little time I am going to need a plan. After all, I don’t want to repeat the mistakes of my first whiskey festival. Here is my list of whiskeys not to miss trying. I have only included things that will be available for the whole night, not just VIP hour.

These kinds of festivals, with an amazing selection scotch and Japanese whisky, not to mention a spattering of harder to find Canadian, rum, and even beer, are a great opportunity for a bourbon lover to expand their horizons, and this list reflects my goal to do just that. Continue Reading →

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Happy Easter – Share Your Bourbon


Happy Easter - Share Your Bourbon Image

Happy Easter from all of us here at Bourbon & Banter. Whether you’re religious or not, Easter is the perfect holiday to spread the joy with those around you.

Dust off your top shelf bourbons, unlock the Pappy vault and break out your enormous collection of logo engraved Glencairn glasses. It’s time to spread the bourbon gospel by sharing your bourbon with friends and family. Don’t hold out on the good stuff because you’re saving it for “a special occasion”. Special occasions are tricky in that you never know when they’re going to happen. As for today, well…you know it’s happening and you should take advantage of it.

As for me, I’ll be sharing some very nice I.W. Harper from 1942 as well as some Antique Collection bottles.

What about you?




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