Last night Jeremy and I attended a party thrown by one of our clients, Distiller, down here at SXSW. Celebrating their newly released mobile apps (iOS and Android) as well as their ever-growing database of whiskeys, they held, appropriately, a whiskey tasting, hosted by a member of their tasting panel.
The crowd was full of a mix of techies in town for interactive, wine and spirits industry insiders, and friends of Votiv (Distiller's parent company). Unlike most SXSW events where folks do little but talk to the people they already know, people here were more than willing to meet new people. At least part of that can be attributed to the whiskey on offer.
The tasting consisted of five of Distiller's highest rated whiskeys, coming from as close as Waco, TX (a variety of Balcone's) and as far as Japan (a Yamakazi). They also served Highland Park 18, which was as universally praised among the audience as it has been by tasting panels worldwide. Of particular note for the evening was the inclusion in the tasting of High West Rocky Mountain Rye 21 Year, a particularly hard spirit to find (finding American whiskey of that age is no small feat). Even Distiller co-founder Mikael Mossberg expressed surprise they could source it.
Distiller's tasting featured the same approachability as the app itself. Rather than overwhelm with pretension and haughtiness, it instead was an unfussy affair introducing those in attendance to some of the finest whiskey the world has to offer. Whiskey doesn't have to be intimidating, and all of us at Substantial are happy to be working with the Distiller team to prove that.