Phantom Gourmet Whisk(e)y and Chocolate Festival

The city of Boston was privileged to be the location of a wonderful whiskey and chocolate festival hosted on Oct. 7, ’17, by The Phantom Gourmet, and Julio’s Liquors of Westborough, Massachusetts.


First, a word about this historic building:

The Classical Revival style Victorian building was commissioned by Charles F. Willoughby’s Boston Cyclorama Company to house the Cyclorama of the Battle of Gettysburg, a 400-by-50 foot cyclorama painting of the Battle of Gettysburg…. The central space is a 127′-diameter steel-trussed dome… Visitors entered through the crenelated archway, proceeded along a dark winding passage, and then ascended a winding staircase to an elevated viewing platform. Skylights lit the scene by day, and it was illuminated by a system of 25 arc lamps by night. [It was later] converted it to a venue for popular entertainment, then an industrial space, and in 1923 it became the Boston Flower Exchange. The city designated the Boston Center for the Arts as the developer for the Cyclorama and the surrounding buildings in 1970, and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
– adapted from Wikipedia by DistilledSunshine

BCA/Cyclorama, Calderwood Pavilion - Exteriors
Photo by Craig Bailey/Perspective photo

Here’s the crowd entering. Scroll down past the photos for my notes.

Boston Center for the Arts

Made in Boston!

Boston Harbor and Putnam Rye

Been wanting to try Compass Box whiskys for some time.

Compass Box

Finally got to try some Japanese whiskys.


Good old American Jim Beam products.

Knob Creek

Heard a lot of good things about Smooth Ambler.

Smooth Ambler Old Scout and Contradiction

Love to see whiskey being made in New England!

Wiggly Bridge Distillery from Maine

Oh, and the baked goods on display, so many great treats!

Mini cupcakes



Aberlour A’bunadh, Cask strength, I needed to add water. Floral and flavorful. Was at 60.7% ABV.

Aberlour 18 – Once again this opened up with a dash of water.

Balvenie 12 year DoubleWood – Let’s go with this review from the ScotchNoob blog.

Boston Harbor Distillery Maple Cream – Delicious, this is a New England version of an Irish creme! Would be great in coffee, or over ice cream. Not meant to be sipped straight. Made with rum, cream, and some Vermont maple syrup.

Boston Harbor Distillery Coffee Liquor – Subtle and very dark!

Compass Box Great King Street – Sweet and smooth, easy to drink, no peat.

Compass Box Glasgow Blend – Entry level, taste of sherry, with peat.

Compass Box Hedonism – Only “grain whiskey”, no barley, no peat. Perhaps the Compass Box whiskey most like bourbon.

Compass Box Oak Cross – a malt blend. from the villages of Alness, Brora, and Carron.

Dalmore 12 – A sherry bomb. Too sweet for my tastes.

Dalmore 18 – A little more sweet, and more complex than the Dalmore 12. A superior product.

Isle of Jura Superstition. a single malt “lightly peated with hints of smoke and spice” – But the peat seemed strong to me.

John Barr Reserve Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland – Cheaper than Johnny Walker, but tastes like J.W. Black label.

Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch – Well, this was a surprise. Heard a lot of good things about it, and was pleasantly surprised that they turned out to be true. A very nice blend, just a hint of darkness, no peat. A blend of Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie (each a single malt whisky.) Made in Dufftown, Moray, Scottland, making this a Speyside blend. Produced by the eminent William Grant & Sons Ltd.:

Oban 14 Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky – Most people love this! But as for me, meh, apparently I’m not much of a Scotch fan. Single malts don’t do it for me.


Knob Creek Rye, from Jim Beam – a nice, spicy rye. Good for mixing in cocktails.

Old Potrero Single Malt Straight Rye Whiskey – Hot, spicy and young. Definitely not something to sip straight. From Anchor Distilling.


Booker’s Bourbon – from Jim Beam. Based on it’s reputation I expected it to taste much better than it’s sibling expression, Baker’s Bourbon, but to my surprise it was just a bit hotter, and not significantly different in flavor. Frankly, I’d just but whichever is cheaper in your area.

Bulleit 10 Year bourbon – Very rich, tasted good. Aged far more than the standard Bulleit bourbon. I wonder who distills this NDP whiskey?

Knob Creek Single Barrel – A top of the line Jim Beam product. I’ve decided that I am not a fan of Jim Beam bourbons, but for those people who are, this would be the one to try.

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength – Just like Maker’s Mark, but with the flavor and alcohol dialed up to 11.

Wiggly Bride Bourbon – Made in 30 gallon new oak barrels right here in New England, up in York, Maine. Not a straight bourbon, it has only been aged for 19 months, but still well made and flavorful. High rye. They are currently working on a straight bourbon. Wiggley Bridge has become a major site of tourism in the area, with 4,000 people visiting last summer.  In a rarity, despite the offers that they have received to sell out, they are keeping this distillery in the family, and passing it down to the distiller’s grandchildren.

Wiggly Bridge White Whiskey – Raw distillate – usually called whitedog, or “new make” – that has been stored in oak casks for at least 90 seconds, so it can legally be called “whiskey” (which is an unfortunate necessity, as the American TTB doesn’t have an official category for spirits called “white dog”.) This has the same mash bill as Wiggly Bridge Bourbon, yet they went the additional mile on fine tuning this spirit: They made different cuts in the distillation process. Less heads, and deeper on the tail. Great idea to tailor the cuts for the final product. Great for self-aging in a barrel or with aged wood staves.

Japanese Whiskys

Kavalan Whisky – Tastes just like a Scotch, and very sweet.

Kavalan ex-bourbon cask – Here I can taste the influence of the bourbon casks (very nice) – Some slight caramel notes.

Kavalan Sherry Oak – Now this is a sherry bomb.

Nikka Coffey Grain – Has nothing to do with coffee, rather it is made with a Coffey still. Again, slight caramel notes and a sweet sherry taste.

Suntory Whisky Toki – “Toki is a blended whisky from Suntory’s three distilleries: Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita. ” Very light and easy to drink. Here is a review on Toki from the ScotchNoob blog. This is just indistinguishable to my taste buds from something made in Scotland.

Irish Whiskey

Jameson Black Barrel

Whiskeys (not otherwise specified)

Bully Boy Whiskey – Made with a mash grain of 45% corn, 10% malted barley, so it is not quite bourbon. Tasted quite young – this needs to be aged for another year. I should note that I tasted another sample a couple of months later, and it seemed better. So I look forward to visiting their Boston distillery this spring, and seeing how their work progresses.

Bully Boy Old Fashioned –  A mix of their American Straight Whiskey, Angostura bitters, and sugar.

Crown Royal Black – Drinkable and sweet.

Smooth Ambler Contradiction – ” blend of straight bourbons containing 27% of a 2 year old wheated bourbon made in-house at the Smooth Ambler distillery, along with 73% of a 9 year old rye based bourbon sourced from MGP in Indiana. For Contradiction, the bourbons are blended and then re-casked in their original barrels for an additional three months.” – from Breaking Bourbon

Smooth Ambler Old Scout – Whiskey, warm, rye spice, not a bourbon.

More details here at the list of whiskeys for this event.

pointing finger

Our other articles related to Jewish whiskey and spirits are here. And you can check out our reviews of  bourbonScotch,  Irish whiskey,  Canadian whiskey,  ryes or flavored whiskys.



  1. Actually the KaVaLan single malts are from Taiwan not Japan. I had always wanted to try these, but never bothered to purchase. I found the King Car to be smooth and refined; especially for a single malt only 4 years old.

    Liked by 1 person

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