Grind Time: Grand Scotch Tour returns

Mar. 26, 2014 | 1 Comment


Getting acquainted with Scotch whisky can be an expensive process. If you’re lucky, you have a friend or two in a higher income tax bracket with plenty of disposable income and a taste for fine liquor.

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A fundraiser for the Hawaiian Scottish Festival

» Where: The Willows, 901 Hausten St.
» When: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday
» Cost: $85 ($75 presale tickets available)
» Info: (808) 952-9200 or

The rest of us have to debate whether or not to invest in a full bottle purchased at retail, or search out one of the handful of bars in Honolulu that offer a decent Scotch selection. Bottles can often cost $100 or more — and true whisky geeks will buy multiple bottles, so they can drink one and save the other(s) — and $20 or more for a shot in a bar is nothing out of the ordinary when you’re ordering the good stuff.

That’s why events like Friday’s Grand Scotch Tour V are a fantastic opportunity for both novice and experienced fans of the brown drink. For those just starting out on their Scotch journey, the sheer volume of whisky being poured at the Willows will be more than enough for most people. Seeing so many bottles lined up can get a little intimidating for the uninitiated, but another great aspect of tastings like these is the presence of trained professionals — better known as sales and marketing staff from Honolulu’s leading liquor distributors.

Look for employees from Young’s Market Co. of Hawaii, Southern Wine and Spirits and Pacific Wine and Spirits, who will be on hand to help facilitate sampling of their respective brands. They’ll be able to explain things like the difference between Glenlivet’s 12-year-old and 18-year-old whisky (it’s not just the age, but the type of wood used in aging, too), or what makes a Distillers Edition version of a particular Scotch different from a regular bottle of the same age (again, look to the wood).

For those who have been around the block a few times, the Grand Scotch Tour provides great value. Not only can you get reacquainted with some of the bottles not part of your current home bar lineup, but focusing on some of the older expressions will definitely justify the cost of admission. Stick with samples of Aberfeldy 21, Glenfiddich 18, Glenlivet 18, Laphroaig 25 or Talisker Distillers Edition for the most bang for your buck; Johnnie Walker fans will also want to try the Gold Reserve, which is a relatively new arrival to Hawaii.

Here’s the full list of Scotch (and some Irish whiskey) scheduled to be poured, according to an email from the HSA:

» Aberfeldy 12
» Aberfeldy 21
» Aberlour 12
» Aberlour A’bundah
» Chivas 12
» Chivas 18
» Connemara Irish Whiskey
» Dalwhinnie Distillers Edition
» Edradour 10
» Glenfiddich 12
» Glenfiddich 15
» Glenfiddich 18
» Glenkinchie Distillers Edition
» Glenlivet 12
» Glenlivet 15
» Glenlivet 18
» Glenmorangie 10
» Highland Park 12
» Highland Park 15
» Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve
» Kilbeggin Irish Whiskey
» Laphroaig 10
» Laphroaig Quarter Cask
» Laphroaig 18
» Laphroaig 25
» Macallan 12
» Macallan 18
» Macallan 10 Fine Oak
» Dewar’s 12
» Dewar’s 18
» Dewar’s Signature
» Famouse Grouse
» Talisker Storm
» Talisker Distillers Edition
» 2 Ginger Irish Whiskey
» Tyrconnell Irish Whiskey
» White Horse Blended Scotch

The Grand Scotch Tour is a fundraiser for the Hawaiian Scottish Association’s Hawaiian Scottish Festival and Highland Games, to be held April 5 and April 6 at McCoy Pavilion at Ala Moana Beach Park. Friday’s tasting takes place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. with “heavy pupus” to go with all the whisky.

Tickets are $75 in advance and $85 at the door; call (808) 952-9200 for reservations.
“Grind Time” is always looking for the latest places to get your grub on. Email Jason Genegabus with restaurant, bar or any other food/drink-related item at and follow him on Twitter and Google+.

  • Erin Smith

    Sounds delicious, Jason!