2014 Spirit of Toronto Photos

Johanna has upload the official photos of the 2014 Spirit of Toronto Whisky Gala up onto Flickr  , you can see the full set at the Spirit of Toronto Flickr Page , here’s a little taster……

(Click on the photo to see full size version)






All Images copywrite of Spirit of Toronto

Many thanks to Johanna and Charles for allowing us to use the images and for some more very happy memories !

3 Canadian Whiskies…. Eh!

On our recent trip to Canada i actually got to try some of the Canadian Whiskies , those tried included offerings from Canadian Club, Forty Creek , Pike Creek , Collingwood and Gibsons . I actually brought back a couple……


Here are thoughts on them plus a Mini of another Forty Creek release .  

Forty Creek Barrel Select

Forty Creek Barrel Select is a blend of high quality grains consisting of rye, barley and corn , they are barrel aged separately from 6 to 10 years , they are then brought together in special sherry barrels for an additional 6 months.

Quite a complex Nose , bags of Vanilla , Honey , oak spices with toasted oak very like the Ardbegs that had been in toasted oak casks . Fantastic nose ! A very relaxed palate , very smooth across the tongue , again lots of vanilla , bags of Butterscotch Toffee , that floods from the palate into a very long finish that also includes toasted oak .

Wonderful ! I just hope some day that this is available in the UK as it would become a standard on my shelf !

Gibson’s Finest Rare 18yo

This is one of William Grant and Sons brands , i first tried this at their stand at this years Spirit of Toronto and was blown away by it’s quality ! Apparently only 12,000 bottles a year are produced and all are sold in Canada .

Another one big in Vanilla and oak on the nose with quite a whiff of toffee as well , a touch of spices follow on . Silky smooth across the palate , big in Butterscotch toffee , vanilla and lovely oak spices , there’s also a hint of pepper which flows through to a long and very lingering finish . The finish is actually quite hot , the heat interplays with the toffee sweetness and vanilla really well .

An astonishing Dram , probably my favourite og the canadian whiskies i’ve tried so far…..   

Forty Creek Double Barrel Reserve

Rye, Barley and Corn whiskies that were aged first in their own casks then blended and further matured in fresh Bourbon Barrels .

On the nose it’s loaded with Vanilla , strong almond (marzipan) , very sweet and spicy , kind of reminds me of Treacle tart as well . Very silky smooth across the palate , again quite sweet , loads of vanilla and smattering of oak spices , it also has a touch of butterscotch  . An absolutely wonderful mouthfeel with a long , sweet vanilla finish that lingers for ages and makes you want more .

A fantastic dram , absolutely stunning !

I’d heard people saying these Canadian whiskies aren’t up to others , the only one that has disappointed was the Canadian Club Sherry cask i tried , i’ve been more than happy with the one’s i’ve had . Seeing we can’t get these (apart from CC and Crown Royal) in the UK i can’t wait to get back to Canada to try some more and bring back a bit more stock !

A Festive Duo !

Not sure whether the titles right but according to the online dictionary Festive – adjective – relating to a festival .So these do relate to a festival ! So once again the Feis Ile (Islay Festival) has been and gone and all mayhem has broken out on Facebook , Twitter and assorted Forums about the availability – or lack of – of certain Feis Ile (Festival) Bottlings via the Internet . The one thing i have learned over the past few years is that no matter what the companies do they are going to get moans/whinges/abuse thrown at them from all directions . Sometimes i wonder why they bother , this year the main one’s seem to have been….. Ardbeg – Lack of bottles and Website Farts (it easier to say that than technical things….) and Laphroaig – the cost , and 1 bottle per person limit (unlike last years numerous BPP and loads of people not getting one…..) . I had no problem getting either , went on the Laphroaig site ordered one through the shop (as did my wife ) , went on RMW ordered one Ardbeg Nae bother . Some people have went way OTT with their postings about these releases ,  Just remember (putting on best Brian Conley voice) “It’s only a Bottle !!!!”

While i’m here i’m going to say something about the couriers everyone seems to be using , i never had any bother with Parcelforce , the parcel was delivered or took to the local P.O. This week i’ve had several parcels delivered from drinks related firms (not just these two) who now seem to avoid Parcelforce like the plague , I would like the choice please when ordering of using either Parcelforce (at extra cost if necessary) or the Courier of your desired choice as i’d rather go to the local Post Office to pick it up than (A) return home to find a Package containing bottles in full view of everyone getting soaked by the rain or (B) the parcel left with someone i don’t know down the street and then finding the package has been opened !!!   <End of Rant>

So to the Tasting Notes……


Ardbeg Auriverdes

I’ll not bother with the marketing bumf i’m sure everyone knows about it now , it’s burnished gold in colour , initial nosing doesn’t suggest it’s nearly 50% ABV (49.9%) , it seems quite lightweight , a strange nose , light peat , a touch of chocolate coffee and a slight menthol note . There is also a strong note of the Toasted ends , similar to the 1998 1189 and 1190 releases but not as strong . The palate is more akin to a standard Ardbeg , starting with creamy coffee , there is more of a stronger vanilla / bourbon note (again like the 1189/1190 but not as strong) , it is lovely and smooth across the tongue with a nice smokiness to it  . The finish is long , smoky and vanilla with a touch of peat .

While not your usual Ardbeg it is refreshing change and very easy drinking .        

Laphroaig Cairdeas 2014

I think this is the first time knowingly i’ve had a whisky that’s been anywhere near an Amontillado cask (or is it just  hoggies seasoned with Amontillado ?) . Bottled at 51.4%ABV it is a bright gold colour almost going on to Marmalade / Irn bru ! The initial nose is quite lemony , then earthy dunnage warehouses , . there’s quite a vanilla hit  , eventually the Seashoreness / Farm yard of Laphroaig drifts in . A very pleasant nose . Very dry across the palate but bags of Laphroaig goodness everywhere ( unlike the <Cough> Select <Cough> ) , Not knowing what this type of sherry tastes like i can’t say how much of an effect it has had on it but there seems to be a Barley Sugar type taste in this one that i’ve never encountered in any other Big L . The Finish is definitely Laphroaig , Big , long , peaty , medicinal and Farm yardie .  

A Cracking Laphroaig , doesn’t disappoint , where would i place it within the other recent releases from Laphroaig ? Well above the Select but below the Batch 006 10yo CS   .