World of Whiskies at Binny’s

Stogies and Mash had an opportunity to attend the World of Whiskies at Binny’s in March. A premier event for lovers of all things whiskey, whisky, and bourbon, World of Whiskies is hosted every year the night before WhiskyFest in Chicago.

With all of those liquor companies in town for WhiskyFest, the community gathers each year at Binny’s to celebrate the night before. Sometimes, vendors come in and don’t even go to WhiskyFest, opting just to attend World of Whiskies, instead.

The very best in bourbon, whiskey, and several other spirits come together in one place and display their work. For us, it’s a chance to meet with our favorites, like New Riff, Bruichladdich, and the Macallan Estate.

Cherish and Joe enjoy some Bruichladdich at Biggs Mansion

The World of Whiskies Event

Unlike WhiskyFest, the World of Whiskies by Binny’s is only $75/person to attend and has a broader selection to taste. At $275/person for WhiskyFest, you can not only visit but have enough to buy a couple of bottles at the end of the night.

We left with our favorite new bourbon by New Riff, their bottled-in-bond offering is a fitting successor to their OKI brand. There are now two sitting on my whiskey shelf at home, surprising since I don’t like high-rye content.

You also always end up meeting people and building relationships, too, at these events. Chris and I met up with our friends from Bruichladdich and Macallan and sampled some of their wares. We also met a few of their friends at the event.

We spoke briefly with friend-of-the-show, Cookie Dai, to get his take on World of Whiskies. “There’s so much to choose from, I can’t even begin. Tomorrow I’m going to pay for tasting so much, but it’s worth it!”

In the end, you get the kind of access to product, to experts, and to taste and enjoy things you’d typically never try at World of Whiskies. The crowd is welcoming, the mood light, and the bottles pour generously for a tasting.

Next year, be sure to check it out and give us a shoutout so we can meet. Tickets are $75 and worth every penny!

World of Whiskies always brings out the interesting pours

An Interview With Dr. Jon Kowalski

Doctor Jon is a good friend of ours, and a guest on several upcoming episodes, so I sat down with him for an interview to get his perspective on a number of cigar and bourbon related topics. We’ll begin to have more of these upcoming interviews in the future, especially with people like you who want to further their journey into the bourbon and cigar world.

The Interview

Joe Johnson: So Jon, I want to thank you for sitting down with me to go over your cigar and bourbon journey. First up, you’ve come with me to Biggs Mansion here maybe ten or twelve times so far. What would you consider your favorite cigar experience so far?

Jon Kowalski: Thanks so much for having me! And it has to be the Atabey Misticos we smoked shortly after the birth of my second daughter. I remember we were playing up in the old poker room at Biggs and you bought us both one of those cigars. Man, was it a good smoke.

Atabey Misticos (6 x 56)

JJ: I remember that night, it was a good time! So an Atabey is a pretty premium stick and I know it’s hard for some to get one. Is there something more commonplace you enjoyed that stood out?

JK: It’s really a toss-up; there have been a few LFD cigars, though maybe not the giant Digger, but some of the smaller ones. I think we also did an Ashton Cabinet Churchill once that was pretty tasty and easier to find. Got those at Binny’s on the way to a game night, didn’t we?

La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Digger

JJ: Yes! And too true, the Digger is special and for special occasions…mainly when you don’t need to stand for a while, hah. So with those cigars that really stood out, what comes to mind with what we’ve drunk? Is there something special you’d do again if you could?

JK: Well, there have been a couple rare items that really made my day, but honestly we both seem to really enjoy the normal Buffalo Trace that comes cheap and easy at most stores. It’s great for sipping and stood up to the smoke. Otherwise, maybe some of that Hibiki…if we can find any.

JJ: Again, a good point. The Suntory mess is making it harder and harder to source those bottles. Hell, even this weekend we couldn’t find any Buffalo Trace at the Oak Brook Binny’s on the way to a party, it can be difficult for any brand to thrive. So, any other parting thoughts or ideas for anyone reading out there?

JK: Just that you need to keep an open mind and an open mouth. It can be hard to learn what you like, but don’t let one bad bottle or one bad pour ruin things for you. Or one bad cigar, either! There have been a few that didn’t fly for me, it’s all about tasting and learning. Just like with food or wine or anything in life, you need to experience it in order to learn from it all.


JJ: Excellent points, all. Well, thank you for joining me, Jon, and looking forward to having you on an upcoming show!

JK: Thanks again, Joe, and always a pleasure!

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