I usually only drink 3 types of beverages: Water, Coffee, and WHISKEY. I drink water all day, coffee usually once (maybe twice) a day, and I LOVE to sip a little whiskey on weekends. That said, the 2nd Annual New Orleans Bourbon Festival couldn't be more up my alley. The Footprints team was able to attend some of the festivities, which took place from March 8-10, 2018.
About the Festival
The Bourbon Fest provides the "opportunity to enjoy exceptional Bourbon and cuisine surrounded by the charm and culture of New Orleans." They have seminars about the history, technique, and joy of drinking bourbon. Some of their proceeds go to support Kids Can NOLA, so you can feel good about the fact that your enjoyment contributes to a worthy cause.
We were able to attend a few seminars at the Le Meridien Hotel on Friday and Saturday including "The Common Sense of Scents" and "Balance and Counterbalance: The Secrets to Bourbon and Food Pairing Basics". I have to say that these talks were pretty cool and insightful. In the talk about scents, there was discussion about how powerful your sense of smell is and how it can enhance your enjoyment of a nice bourbon. We learned about sensory labs in distilleries, how aging causes different aromas, and how each person's biology and reference points are different, which gives everyone a unique experience. Most of all, the speakers were sure to remind us not to let seriousness get in the way of enjoying a good drink. Oh, and we did all this while SAMPLING a couple of tasty bourbons!
In another seminar about balancing bourbon and food, we were given 3 samples of bourbon with distinct tastes, from the lighter Basil Hayden, to a smokier Baker's. Each bourbon was paired with a food offering and attendees were invited to explore the taste and textures of the pairings. It was really cool to get into detail about how food and drink can complement each other. All in all, these seminars were a fantastic way to learn all about bourbon and hang with some fellow whiskey lovers.
The Grand Tasting
The main event each night was the 'Grand Testing' and hooey-boy, it sure was GRAND! For this event, the Contemporary Arts Center was filled with vendors of bourbon and purveyors of whiskey related swag of all sorts. There were plenty of local restaurants with samples of their cuisine and a live band playing some classic jazz standards. Attendees were given small sipping glasses and allowed to sample any and all products available. There were over 100 different bourbon's featured at this year's festival, so there was a LOT to choose from. With so many options, its hard not to find something you like. Of course there were dumping buckets so you could avoid having too much fun. We were able to sample bourbons of all types and query the vendors about their process for making hooch. We personally enjoyed the Larceny bourbon, Barrell Bourbon's 'Batch 014', the honey rye from Silverback Distillery, a refreshing whiskey sour cocktail form High West, and Hudson's Four Grain Bourbon.
It was a great event and we had a fantastic time. It's the perfect 'Treat Ya' Self' event, as long as you drink responsibly (which thankfully we did). I can't wait for next year, as I'm sure it will be bigger and better than ever.