Previewing The 25th Annual Scottish Festival In Long Beach, CA
I love media events where they serve you alcohol.
Wine with a luncheon or dinner is fine, of course, but at the press preview for the upcoming Scotsfest, a full-on Scottish festival Feb. 17-18 at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA, we got whiskey.
And not just any whiskey, aged Scotch whiskey. Talk about setting the mood for an event!
We had five high-end whiskeys: The Black Grouse, The Macallan 10- and 12-year old, and Highland Park 12-and 15-year old. Personally, I preferred the Macallan 10-year-old; it had more of the traditional Scotch whiskey flavor and was just more agreeable to my pallet. With the others, I could taste part of the barrel in which it was aged, and that seemed to take a bit away from the actual whiskey flavor. At least to me.
Although without question the smoothest was the Highland Park 15-year-old.
Now to be clear, they were not pouring shots. We had tastes which combined comprised the equivalent of little more than a single shot. And that’s what anyone who attends Scotsfest will get, too, because they have whiskey tastings three times a day (at 1, 3 and 5 p.m. And there’s also beer tastings at 2 and 4 p.m.).
We were also entertained by bagpipes and a Scottish dancer, as well as a gent that I would like to be next to me the next time I walk down a dark alley at night.
He runs the Scottish Highland games that are part of the festival, and he was describing things like lifting 50-pound balls over his head and throwing them in competition. Even those in the Master’s division – that’s 40-plus – have to handle 45-pound balls. That’s not exactly like a friendly round of golf on the links.
There were also samples of Scottish food, and while we had nibbles of Scottish pie, scones and potatoes, there was one item which provided cause for hesitation. It was haggis, and when the chef tells you to try it first and ask him later what’s in it, well, it’s good to have five samples of Scotch whiskey lined up in front of you.
The haggis tasted like Shepherd’s Pie, by the way.
Still, I was glad to have the whiskey.
For more on Scotsfest, check out the preview on PubClub.com.
And the Queen Mary’s Scotsfest site is at QueenMary.com/Scotsfest