by Ray Pearson

The angels over Scotland must be in a dither waiting for the heavenly bounty of the country to be unleashed in Las Vegas. On March 18 and 19, 2011, whiskey companies from around the world, will offer some of their rarest, oldest, most coveted, and newest expressions at the Universal Whisky Experience at Encore at Wynn.The event is the brainchild of Mahesh Patel. Patel is a successful entrepreneur from the Atlanta area, whose passion in life is whiskey, specifically Scotch. He has leveraged his relationships with a galaxy of whiskey superstars and industry leaders to offer the world’s first luxury whisky enjoyment experience, the “Nth 2011 Show”.

The $525 ticket price provides an extraordinary assortment of sensory opportunities. In addition to whisky tasting, educational opportunities such as seminars and Master Classes will be available to interested guests. Gastronomic highlights of the event include butler-passed hors d’oeuvres, and a gourmet dinner reception.

If that wasn’t an impressive enough list of activities for whisky snobs seeking true whisky bliss, the Super Pour surely seals the deal. Each show ticket includes the guest’s choice of one pour from a selection of ultra-premium whiskies, each valued at $300+ per pour. To date, the Super Pour list includes 16 rare Scotches, some 40 and 50 years old. Professor Adam Carmer (UNLV), will hold the inaugural forum of his new Spirits Tasting Method, designed to improve guests’ ability to recognize the nuances of flavor, aroma, bouquet, and barrel influence.

Keeping those Scottish angels in mind, some of the whiskies to be experienced, either in the Master Classes or the Super Pour, derive their exotic names from celestial happenings. Richard Paterson, Master Blender for The Dalmore, for instance, will present the 40 year old Astrum,  which is Latin for constellation, and the 45 year old Aurora, named for the Northern Lights. Ian Millar, Global Ambassador for Glenfiddich, will present Snow Phoenix, a non-chill filtered malt created from casks rescued from a warehouse cave-in during the 2010 four-foot snows in Speyside. George Grant, sixth generation of the owners of Glenfarclas, will take guests on a tour entitled “Glenfarclas Forties”, presenting four different whiskies, each forty years old.

Patricia Richards, Master Mixologist at Wynn-Las Vegas, is designing cutting-edge drinks especially for this event, putting a new twist on whisky cocktails. Patricia is known for her creative and mouthwatering concoctions, along with a slew of awards from food, beverage, hospitality, and travel magazines.

Glencairn cut crystal tasting glasses will be included as part of the full ticket package, along with cigar samples, so guests will be able to remember their visit for a long time to come.

Finally, two Las Vegas–based charities will benefit from the hedonistic pleasure of event attendees as a portion of each ticket price will be contributed to The Autism Academy of Cumorah, and the Hospitality School at UNLV. The angels should be pleased.

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About Ray

Ray is a nationally recognized single malt Scotch expert. He recently retired after 16 years within the spirits industry, including four as Glenfiddich U.S. Ambassador. Ray currently presents educational whisky seminars and tastings for corporate events, destination management companies, and national whisky shows. He is a photographer and member of the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association.