Feb 242010
 

Keep your Wednesdays open for a while fellas.  Your calendars are about to fill up.  All details are direct from the Willow Park Events Program.

Wednesday, March 10th – The Rum Doctor with Michael Delevante  $20.00

“The magnificent Appleton Estate Jamaica rums are of a unique style, produced only in Jamaica and only at Appleton.  For over 250 years, generations of our rum experts have been handcrafting rums of exceptional quality, and at Appleton Estate the production of our rum is an art.  Like the brandies of Cognac or the single malts of Scotland, the process is controlled at every step;  from the selection of the varieties of sugar cane grown at the estate, the special nature culture of yeast used in fermentation, the unique distillation and blending methods, to the bottling of the rum.

Enjoy the finest rum in the world.  Cheers!”

Wednesday, March 17th – Jameson Irish Whiskey St. Paddy’s Celebration  $20.00

“John Molloy, Jameson Brand Ambassador for Canada, invites you to an evening of all things Irish.  Jameson Irish whiskey and March 17th go hand in hand, and on this evening we will explore what Jameson has to offer including Jameson 18 Year Old, Jameson Gold, and Jameson Vintage Reserve.”

Wednesday, March 24th – New Scotch Releases With Andy Dunn  $20.00

“The whisky market in Calgary is alive and vibrant in 2010!!  Join Andy Dunn from Gold Medal Marketing Inc. and taste the new offerings from Springbank, Benromach, and Tullibardine distilleries.”

Wednesday, April 28th – Rum Around The World  $20.00

“Join Michael Biggatini for an evening of rum tastes and folklore.  Discover stories behind some old favorites and learn what is new and exciting in the market place.  Find how to mix a great rum cocktail and when it is de rigueur to serve it straight up.  Michael will offer sage advice on great rum and food pairings and suggestions on what bottles are a must for your collection.”

Wednesday, May 5th – Highland Park  $20.00

“Highland Park, established in 1798, is one of two distilleries in the Orkney Islands, just North of mainland Scotland.  This technical tasting event will cover the broad strokes of the history and geography as well as the intricate details of the production process from birth to bottling.  Join J.  Wheelock, Brand Ambassador for Western Canada, for an informative session about what has been hailed as “The greatest all-rounder in the world of malt whisky”.

Feb 162010
 

So, gents…let’s get some dialogue going here.  I want to write up a summary for 2009.  Drop a few lines below letting us know your favorites…things that really stuck for you…things you didn’t like…etc.

Think:

  • Favorite Liquorature book of 2009
  • Favorite whisky of 2009
  • Favorite rum of 2009
  • Favorite gathering of 2009
  • Best conversation of 2009
  • Liquorature book you least liked
  • Beverage you least liked
  • Author you’re most likely to read more of now
  • etc

Get creative and sum it up for us.

 Posted by at 2:16 pm  Tagged with:
Feb 102010
 

Sigh.  Like so many things in life, the good stuff isn’t free.

The gents in the club know I have a soft spot for Ardbeg.  In fact, the “Uigeadail” is probably my personal favorite whisky right now (See review under “Beverages”).  I am slowly nearing the end of a great bottle of the “Airigh Nam Beist”, and the ten year old is brilliant as well.

Ardbeg have blitzed the market over the past couple of years (not to the extent that Bruichladdich has, but…) with a slew of bottlings including (but not limited to) “Blasda”, “Corryvrecken”, “Supernova”,  “Renaissance” and now…coming Feb 15th to select markets…”Rollercoaster”.  So, being a fan of Ardbeg’s (mostly) heavily-peated offerings, what exactly is the “Ardbeg Problem”?

Call me naive, but I always imagined the whisky industry to be one of refinement, sophistication and adhering to something of a moral compass.  Let’s face it, the SWA heavy-handedly enforces many of these whisky morals.  Where my naivete shows is in my hoping that somehow whisky prices would be governed by something a little more rigid than the law of supply and demand.

Does this go against my philosophical views on laissez-faire capitalism and uncontested freedom of production and distribution of one’s work?  Well, yeah.  Do I actually believe that pricing should be controlled?  Reluctantly…no.  Would I happily buy more if the costs were to drop?  Absolutely.

The thing is, there is a prestige that comes along with buying that $100 bottle of whisky.  When a dram is offered, we immediately get a sense of our personal value.  Would you share your great expensive whiskies with someone who wasn’t a good friend?  Of course not.  Unfortunately many times the high price tag becomes an advertisement for quality.  We all know however, that just because something has a great marketing campaign and snazzy adverts does not mean the product is all it’s cracked up to be.

Which brings us back to Ardbeg.  Is it that good?  Does the whisky live up to the hype?  Well…yes…it is and it does.  Is it worth the price tag?  Up to you, I suppose.  Cost becomes subjective as we assign value to something.  How badly we want something determines how much we would be willing to spend on it.  My advice…let your tastebuds decide…not the marketing.  Taste as much as you can before buying, and use independent reviews to make informed decisions.  Arbdeg, for example, can not keep up with production demands.  A tip I received…snatch up the ten year old and “Uigeadail” by the case.  Canada may soon find itself unable to procure one of Islay’s finest whiskies.

I remember reading a whisky forum a while back, where one of the bloggers, in complimenting a certain distillery, made a snide remark about how if the distillery were to see these positive reviews they would most certainly jack the price.  A valid concern?  Not sure.  Something for another day though.

I suppose in the meantime, boys, we should resign ourselves to ackowledging that we have an expensive vice.

Clint’s insightful little comment to me:  “Always remember, whisky is made by Scottish people for Scottish people, so there’s bound to be a way we can save a buck or two.”

Feb 082010
 

I found it somewhat surprising that there do not seem to be any actual ‘whisky clubs’ in Calgary.  You can find them all over.  Members generally pay an annual fee, and gather monthly (similar to what we do) to taste and review a couple of whiskies, share notes, thoughts and experiences…and publish their thoughts.

The Victoria Single Malt Club, for example has a two year wait on membership.  Members often go in together (15, 20, 25 of them) to purchase casks  for bottling.  Of course pricing would be varied, but can you imagine?  Think about 350 bottles per cask.  If 20 people went in on one, you’d be looking at 17-18 bottles of whisky per person.  Pretty nifty.  I wish we had something similar here.

Our Liquorature book club gatherings, and Willow Park tastings suffice, I suppose, however I’d think in a city with this explosive of a population…and with this much money… there would be more…snootery.

Thought a thread on here specifically referencing ‘Calgary’, ‘Books’ and ‘Whisky’ may allow for some region specific hits.

Ralfy’s recent trip through Victoria for the Festival, led to one of his video reviews (vlogs) speaking to what we poor Canadian suckers must endure (over-taxation, delays, unavailablility, high prices, etc) to sip the good stuff.  Neat video.  Nice view of Victoria as well.  Check it on his site.

Thoughts on our libations (both rum and whisky) in this city?  (Availability, knowledgable help, cost, etc)

Feb 032010
 

So…after a quick read of the article Bauer sent on (re: Watson’s self-publication of “Geonesis”), it got me to thinking…

Uh oh.

I guess this proves even engineers can have a soul, huh, Robert?  Obviously your brother has an artistic bent.  Do you?  Is there a novel (or even a short story) lurking in you as well?

And to the rest?  I know Lance used to (perhaps still does) write, as did I.  Do I now?  No.  Do any of you?

 Posted by at 11:52 am