Recapping The Year That Was As A Roving Booze Reporter

I certainly don’t keep the busiest travel schedule or log the most miles among my friends and colleagues in the world of spirits, food, travel, and lifestyle journalism, but nevertheless 2016 proved to be a year well spent on the road. Here are half a dozen highlights, along with links to where you can read all about the adventures for yourself.

Ireland—St. Patrick’s Day with Jameson (March)

Jameson - Old Midleton entrance

If anybody knows how to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, it’s Jameson. A trip to the iconic Irish whiskey brand included a stop at their Midleton distillery, including their old facility, now a tourist attraction, as well as the new and currently operational one, which showcases the largest working pot stills in the world. Festivities in Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day included time spent at their Bow Street building, where the brand used to call home and now another visitor’s stop.

Scotland—Lagavulin 200 (April)

Lagavulin Distillery

Islay’s beloved Lagavulin turned 200 this year, and a proper pilgrimage was the only way to celebrate. A visit to the distillery also included stops at nearby peat fields, and Port Ellen Maltings, where all of that wonderful peat smoke gets put to use, as well as a trip to sister distillery Caol Ila.

Taiwan—Kavalan (June)

Kavalan Stillhouse2

Some of the very best whisky in the world is being made in Taiwan. Of course, it’s one thing to know that, and it’s another thing to see it in person. After just a decade, Kavalan already finds itself high atop the hierarchy of global single malts, and stepping in their stillhouse and warehouses, it’s easy to see how they pulled it off.

New Orleans—Tales of the Cocktail (July)

Diageo Special Release Whiskies

Summer’s sweat-soaked spirits extravaganza in New Orleans, with all of the world’s biggest and best brands, experts, bartenders, writers, and more. The seminars are educational and insightful, the parties raucous, the distractions nonstop, and the experiences never cease to amaze.

Scotland Part Deux—Bigger, Longer & Uncut (September)

Glenmorangie stills

Scotland Part Deux! This time to criss-cross the country with the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States and the Scotch Whisky Association, visiting nine distilleries representing a range of styles and regions. Yes, that is hard, tiring work. The hit list—Aberfeldy, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Glen Grant, GlenDronach, Glenmorangie, Highland Park, Lagavulin, and Strathisla.

Japan—Suntory Time (November)

Yamazaki stills

Japan was long a dream destination of mine, for everything from the whisky to the ramen. So an opportunity to visit both of Suntory’s two single malt distilleries—Yamazaki, outside of Kyoto, and Hakushu, in the Japanese Alps—was once in a lifetime. Much very old, very hard to find Japanese whisky was consumed. In the name of research, of course.

Author: Jake Emen

I’m Jake, and I’m your host on this journey. I'm the man doing the eating and the talking around here. I’m a writer based outside of Washington, D.C., and I'm also talking whiskey, local events, travel, and other assorted misadventures. Follow me on the Tweet Machine - @ManTalkFood, or send an email to jake [at] mantalkfood.com.

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