Scotch lovers, start your engines: this Tuesday marks the first day of Whisky Week, a five-day series of events and tastings that culminates in the annual WhiskyFest, which features over 250 libations from around the globe. Whether you're a neophyte looking to learn more about an unfamiliar spirit or an expert excited to try all those ultra-pricey new expressions you've been reading about, this week has plenty to offer.
On the education side, Bourbon and Branch is hosting a Tuesday class ($75) on Irish whiskey, with bartender Tony Devencenzi guiding tasters from old-school pot-still brands to modern triple-distilled single-malts. The following afternoon, each of the two K&L Wines branches will host a free tasting: SF's shop on 4th St. will welcome Heaven Hill Distilleries, while the Redwood City outpost will discuss The Classic Malts. Finally, on Thursday, the Boothby Center will host a blending seminar ($65) from renowned expert John Glaser. Glaser, an industry rogue who blends the Compass Box line of whiskies, will discuss his technique for creating a blended whisky, allowing attendees to get hands-on and mix up their own combination.
For those who prefer drinking to discussion, there's also a wild game and Scotch dinner at the City Club on Wednesday, and a Four Roses bartending competition at Bourbon & Branch's Wilson & Wilson arm on Thursday. And of course, there's the granddaddy of them all: WhiskyFest itself, which will be held at the Marriott Marquis on Friday. Regular tickets are a steep $135 (VIP ones have already sold out), but the chance to taste some of the rarest and most expensive whiskies in the world is worth it-- and with bourbon, Japanese single-malts, and Canadian tipples also on the docket, you'll have no end of options. Be sure to line your stomach at the included buffet, and leave your wheels at home.
If you're not recovering from too much of a good thing at Friday's festival, there's also a Compass Box tasting with Glaser in Marin on Saturday afternoon, which will benefit the Dance Palace Community Center. For more info on WhiskyFest and all of the Whisky Week events, including where to purchase tickets, go here.