Hello there. Itâ€™s true. Iâ€™m sleepy by 9PM and loud music is just .. loud. I believe I have evolved into my final form, a true blue Tito. I have evolved from San Mig Light buckets in my 20â€™s to walking around trade hall with a Glencairn glass in my late 30â€™s. The notion of a conference lanyard that can hold a whiskey tasting glass appeals to me, because I care not much for appearances, and it is precisely how my fellow titos (and titas) feel stumbling about the biggest whiskey even of the year. For the price of a good bottle of scotch, I get to sample more than 80 whiskeys (and a bit of rum and gin) from around the world. If this doesnâ€™t appeal to you, dear reader, then youâ€™re probably in your 20â€™s. Youâ€™ll get there.
Because I get it. In the same way that I used to hate the smell and taste of coffee in my teens â€” and suddenly having it appeal to me in my late 20â€™s, the same goes with whiskey. We had a staff member from our online department join us. Sheâ€™s 20. And she told me she drinks anything (good I said). â€œThis is where you learn to enhance your palate,â€ I also said. The challenge of the night is to try to remove the taste of alcohol and go for the nuances of each whiskey. They all taste different. Itâ€™s like going to a huge festival where everyone serves longganisa but they all come from different regions. Whatâ€™s inside is different. How itâ€™s made is different. Itâ€™s like trying to identify the nuances between Vigan and Lucban longganisa. Same but different.
Iâ€™m not going to go deep into the finer points of Whiskey Live â€” like how the Auchentoshan booth had Philip Bischoff from The Manhattan Bar (Asiaâ€™s Best Bar!) make amazing highball cocktails with hazelnut liquor and vermouth. Or how I got to experience Hamish Houlstonâ€™s deconstruction of the Chivas Regal 12, allowing us the privilege of blending and bottling our own single malt components to approximate their flagship release (and taking it home!). I definitely cannot go into the finer details of Matthew Westfall and Full Circle Distillers â€” his grandfather is responsible for Royal Tru-Orange, with Matthew taking botanicals to a new level with the distilleryâ€™s flagship â€” ARC gin (short for Archipelago), a rare sipping gin that is light on the nose and easy on the palate. I canâ€™t, because words wonâ€™t suffice when spirits are involved.
I will tell you the worst part though: leaving. But yeah yeah how cliche right? Absence makes the heart grow fonder right? Let us stop with the cliches, guys! Actually, itâ€™s more like abstinence makes the heart more healthy. Tito me wishes for a palate in my late 30â€™s with the bodily fortitude of my 20â€™s so my literal heart doesnâ€™t get a heartburn from all that alcohol (I am a responsible adult, hear me!).And yes, being a responsible adult, I left close to midnight (just when it seemed like the party was really happening) because I have been sipping whiskey since 6PM. Crowds make me cranky.
Whiskey Live Manila â€” 11/10 would go again next year.
This article originally appeared on print inside the Manila Bulletin’s lifestyle section.