Ever wondered whether an award-winning whiskey was really all that great? A new competition planned for January in Louisville will give fans a chance to taste for themselves.
The inaugural North American Bourbon and Whiskey Competition, set for Jan. 17 and 18 at the Louisville Marriott East (known as the "Bourbon Marriott") will have a first-of-its kind tasting during the event, said Tom Fischer, co-creator of the event.
His partner, Christopher J. Davies, is co-founder of Wine Country International magazine, which also produces the Denver International Spirits Competition.
The Louisville competition will be "double blind" and based on a 100-point scale to rate whiskeys and other spirits in up to 64 categories.
It's open to American whiskey, including rye and Tennessee, bourbon, moonshine, Canadian whisky, Irish whiskey, Scotch, Japanese whiskey, barrel-aged beer, and whiskey or bourbon foods. A packaging category also is planned.
"We've covered the growth of bourbon and American whiskey for more than 10 years on BourbonBlog.com through social media content, online videos and reviews," Fischer said in announcing the event.
"The thought was how can we tell the good whiskeys from the better whiskeys," he said. "Give the distillers feedback from expert judges and say to consumers here's something you should be tasting."
Fischer said local whiskey experts would be on hand, along with Scotland-based Blair Bowman, journalist and founder of World Whisky Day.
"I think we'll see a great gathering of friends from all around the country, to pour whiskey," Fischer said. "Whiskey is what unites."
In addition to the professionally judged competition, there will be a Whiskeys People's Choice Award "where 100 lucky enthusiasts will have an opportunity to taste the submitted whiskeys and vote in the Bold Flavors of Bourbon and Whiskey Tasting and Dinner," on the first night, according to the news release.
"We want to do something that can have an impact on the actual enthusiast — we'll have all the whiskeys submitted poured for them," Fischer said. "They'll know what they are trying, and this will give them a chance to try some things they haven't before."
Guests get to vote for their favorite bourbon, whiskey and moonshine.
There also will be a cocktail competition, with six local bartenders creating drinks, accompanied by a buffet supper. Tickets to the tasting and dinner are $95.
Winners from the overall competition will be announced afterward. The winning whiskeys also will be showcased in the North American Bourbon and Whiskey Competition Roadshow, which will be held in the spring in New York and Los Angeles.
Fischer said he hoped competition would give consumers some ideas, and the results of the new whiskey competition could give them some guidance on where to start.
"I like having someone bring me a tray full of whiskeys and asking, 'Which do you like best?' It's something I encourage people to do," Fischer said. "Maybe you'll find it's not the most expensive after all."