Skip to main content

Dram That’s Good: A Review of The Universal Whisky Experience

dram thats good a review of the universal whisky experience img 3572

Las Vegas, where heaven and hell meet at practically every minute of every day. Walk a few blocks in just about any direction from the Las Vegas strip and you’ll find any and every vice you could ever want—from buffets at disgustingly low prices to escorts to Britney Spears or Donny and Marie.IMG_3599

For three days at the beginning of March, heaven outweighed hell, though, as the Universal Whisky Experience was in town at Encore at The Wynn for it’s sixth-annual event. Event, though, doesn’t truly begin to explain it.

Related Videos

If you have the money to drop on the High-Roller Experience ($2500), the event is more like a life-changing experience (and if you’ve been before, it’s like a chance to reinvigorate from a year spent not carousing around Sin City while having unprecedented access to some of the world’s rarest whiskies.

IMG_3517On night one, VIPs were brought around to try the Super Pours—whiskies so rare and so expensive that at first it might be hard to believe that you’re allowed to drink them. Not only were you able to try the likes of The John Walker, Brora 37 Year Old, Laphroaig 32 Year Old and Balblair 1983 Single Cask (which were all, in their own ways and as you can imagine, stunning examples of whisky craftsmanship), but for tasting was the holy grail of whisky—Gordon & Macphail’s Mortlach 75Year Old.

Yes, seventy-five-year-old whisky. It is, for those wondering, the world’s oldest, and as a VIP, you got to drink it. Take a moment to think about that—not only have you spent five hours drinking scotch worth more, in total, than the GDP of most third world countries, but amidst all this, you get to taste the promised land. This was whisky created before World War II. It was made, with passion and care, before most people reading this were born. There are two words, and two words only to describe an experience like this.

Holy shit.

Trying to describe this single first-fill Sherry butt-cask scotch whisky is not easy. How do you even come close to finding the right words to explain such a transcendent experience? You can talk about the fact that it’s 44% ABV or that it’s retail price is more than most sedans at $30,650 and comes in a special crystal decanter and is accompanied by a number of high-quality accouterments. You can talk about the tasting notes for the whisky—how even after seventy-five years, the scotch is still beautiful and bright, how there are floral notes in a places you might not think, or how the finish is slightly spiced and leaves you with a slight warmth.

You could talk about all of that, or you could simply remember that this whisky is, simply, old as hell, and that you may never get to do this again. You close your eyes and take it all in, let it wash over you in wonderful, scotchy waves.

That wasn’t even the end of the night, however. Following the Super Pours session, VIPs were treated to a five-star meal at Tableau in addition to whisky speed dating, wherein brand managers and distillers alike showed off more of their wares while giving anyone a chance to chat about the greatness before them.

Related: Teeling’s Single Grain Whiskey and Cocktail Recipe


The next day, leading up to the pièce de résistance, the Nth Whisky Tasting, event-goers could learn more about what they were drinking by participating in master classes, such as Midleton Irish Whiskey’s master class, where tasters were able to not only sample some of Ireland’s newest products, but were treated to a look at Ireland’s rise in popularity in the whiskey world. Not often do you have people so intimately tied to a brand coaching you through a tasting. Some of the people running these master classes have spent their lives working with these products, and it shows. The worst part, often, was waiting to actually taste the whiskies as they sat in front of you, calling to you with their delightful brogues.


Then, finally, on the second night, the main event—the Nth Whisky Tasting. What made this tasting such a success was not just the sheer amount of amazing whiskies available, but the knowledge of the people pouring it. It isn’t often that you get the opportunity to speak to a distiller about his or her product in such a laid back yet entertaining atmosphere. Looking around, you could tell one thing: people were having fun. Laughter mixed with chatter mixed with the sound of toasts for most of the event. For those that had been at the events the previous evening, it was a great chance to get another taste of the liquid gold that had already passed between their lips. For those who had just arrived, there was a bevy of products and expressions to try, even including some bourbons, tequilas, and other spirits. For those that enjoy more than just whisky, Davidoff was on hand, providing top quality cigars.


The Universal Whisky Experience, ounce for ounce, is the event you save your pennies for, because it’s the event that will give you a chance to rub elbows with the biggest names in scotch and give you bragging rights for life.

Editors' Recommendations

How to make marshmallows: This recipe is the perfect Easter treat
Marshmallows: The homemade version of this popular Easter candy is easier to make than you think
Homemade Easter Marshmellow Peeps

Marshmallow candies are as much a hallmark of the Easter holiday as chocolate, ham, and drinking Champagne until your burps come out speaking French. Of course, you can always go out and buy the beloved Easter marshmallows we all know and love, but making your own at home is actually a really fun activity for the holiday, especially if you have little ones at home.

We absolutely love this recipe from McCormick. Learn how to make marshmallows this Easter.
Easter marshmallow recipe

Read more
The Whole30 Diet: Everything you need to know
Learn about what foods you can and can't consume on the Whole30 diet
Assorted vegetables sold at a market.

There are so many different diets out there, so is the Whole30 Diet worth trying? While you don't want to follow a "quick fix" diet since they tend to cause more harm than good, as they are unsustainable, and many people gain the weight they lost right back, there are still ways of eating that promote health and wellness. The key is finding something that you would be willing to stick to long-term - that means it doesn't have any crazy or unrealistic restrictions!
With that said, there are certain circumstances under which following the Whole30 Diet for a deliberately short time can be beneficial. For example, if you’re experiencing digestive issues routinely after eating, with no known cause, trying an elimination diet and recording your symptoms and reactions as you reintroduce foods can elucidate your potential food sensitivities.

After the potential culprits are identified, you can resume a more liberal, diverse diet with just the exclusion of the trigger foods. Similarly, some guys may find a short-term, squeaky-clean diet can help them reset their brain and appetite to be keener with healthier eating habits after an extended vacation marked by indulgent eating or weeks of enjoying rich foods.
The Whole30 Diet is designed for exactly these types of scenarios. Though highly restrictive and therefore not an easy diet to implement and stick with, the results can be rather transformative for those who are able to diligently adhere to the diet program for its entire 30-day duration. Fortunately, 30 days come and go fairly quickly. If you are experiencing symptoms of food sensitivities, the Whole30 Diet just might be the dietary reset you need to start feeling better and making progress toward your health goals.
However, it can also be a controversial eating plan, and there are plenty of registered dietitians and nutritionists who take issue with some of the “rules” and exclusions set forth by the diet, so it warrants careful consideration of both sides before you jump in.
Curious to see if you’re up for the challenge and in need of rebooting your dietary habits and digestive health, or if you fall more in the camp that the Whole30 Diet is a fad diet with little merit? Keep reading to learn all the need-to-know information about the Whole30 Diet.

Read more
The best holiday hams to roast for your Easter dinner
Celebrate this Easter with one of these delicious hams
A large roasted ham on a wooden chopping board with assorted plates of food.

The fun of Easter goes beyond coloring eggs and hunting for candy. What some people look forward to most is sitting down for a delicious meal. And what's usually at the center of each table? Ham. Sweet and savory, crispy and juicy, a delectable Easter ham makes the perfect showstopper for your holiday feast. We suggest you step away from the generic store-bought hams and instead spring for a high-quality product that'll taste great no matter how you prepare your ham.

From the animal that brought you bacon, a large bone-in ham rivals other popular roasts of meat, including prime rib, crown roast of pork, and of course, turkey. And compared to those three, ham is the perfect blend of sweet and savory, and simply perfect on its own (or utilized in an epic ham and cheese sandwich). So whether you've prepared ham before, or it's your first time, our top ham picks are sure to delight you and your family for Easter.

Read more