Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Arran Malt Westie Limited Edition 1998, I'll leave it for the dogs...

SHE SAID:  I had originally hoped for a bottle of the Peacock, however it was sold out.  I "settled" for the Westie instead.  I was a bit nervous my disappointment might affect my first dram.   We own several Arran's and I love them all.  I love that these are non-chill filtered and that they have no caramel.  They are a great new Island distillery (1995) making a name for themselves.  I love this region of Scotland and the flavors the majority of them have.  I tend to drink them in the fall, a bit in the winter and in the spring. 

Would I get another bottle of the Westie, probably not.  Unfortunately, I was not overly impressed with the dram. Maybe my opinion will change, otherwise it might take some time to drink this bottle.  I could simply save it for when my whisky drinking friends come over (that's an invite for any of you who live close by!)

Color:  Late season straw (golden).  Legs very close and stringy.  A bit viscous as it stuck to the glass, in general.

Nose:  Vanilla but very creamy.  Reminded me of Tortuga rum cake I had in the Bahamas.  Sweet, creamy and a bit of spice. 

Palate:  Not oily, but sort of like buttery oak.  I got a hint of metallic (?).  Something very citrus, but zingy like orange zest.

Finish:  A bit dry, leaves a prickly mouth feel that lingers a bit.  Hint of peppery at the back.  Very waming in nature.

Empty glass:  Still a hint of vanilla and a bit of spice.

I REALLY wanted that Peacock! 

Somewhere on the whisky trail brooding (hehehe!)


Collingwood, not just a place in Ontario but a half decent mixing whisky too!

Well, well, well...   Just when I thought there still might not be a Canadian whisky on the market that might give Forty Creek a run for its money, I find this at a Whisky tasting event in Halifax NS.  COLLINGWOOD. 

So impressed was I (and I'm not talking after I had had my 15th dram), that we bought a bottle for our collection, a bottle for the Society and soon thereafter had a friend pick up another bottle for the ladies tasting I was hosting (as it's not available in my province yet, NB).  It's another example of a great Canadian whisky for the price.  From the ladies tasting, even though it did rank last against the 5 single malts we also had, many wanted to purchase a bottle and have it as a summer "sipping" whisky.  My job here is done!   LOL!

I had a brief conversation with Davin de Kergommeaux (Canadian Whisky guru!) via email about Collingwood and I loved his description of the fact that the water began as glacial melts over 10,000 years ago.  How quietly and beautifully "Canadian", just like this great little whisky.   Not available throughout Canada just yet but I think it will be the more people get to know it.  I'm positive we will see this one win many awards. 
Collingwood Canadian Whisky on Nottawasaga Bay 

Color:  Deep golden yellow.  Not an overly viscous whisky and the legs are fairly stringy and very close together.

Nose:  Very aromatic!  The smell hit me hard:  Loaded French toast (Vanilla, maple syrup and buttery).  Very sweet, almost borderline sticky toffee candy.  Hints of cherry (sweet dark red fruit). 

Palate:  Not dry at all!  It made my mouth water.  Maple tree sap (I'm from the east coast!), light hint of caramel but not overly sweet.  Had a hint of slight bitter at the back, like almonds about to go "off".  Just a pinch of harsh (I'm assuming from Rye). 

Finish:  Warm, sweet, medium to long finish that warms the belly and makes you smile. 

Empty glass:  Still beautiful, aromatic with hints of maple and dark red cherries.

Overall, I'd rate this as one of the best Canadian Whiskies available under $50.00 and I can't wait to sit on the back deck this summer, my whisky tumbler in hand with a bit of Collingwood on ice. 

Somewhere, skipping along my fantastic Canadian whisky trail!


Saturday, April 21, 2012

FIRST EVER - Ladies ONLY tasting in Eastern Canada

Wow!  About two months ago I got this crazy idea.  I thought I could get enough women together in my home town to come to a ladies only whisky tasting.  I started talking about it with Graham.  I started thinking about what whiskies I would serve, what type of presentation I would give and then I sent out an email to a few friends to see what they thought.  I ploughed forward and starting planning, working on a presentation, researching whiskies.  We worked hard, used very little advertising and before we knew it, we were sold out. (I turned away 10 women). Only two small snags along the way:  One which was a bit funny and left us shaking our heads.  We called CBC, an information program and gave them two tickets to give away.  I was called back and given the name and telephone number of the lucky female winner, but when I called her she had no idea she won, her husband had called in for her and...  she hated whisky!?   

I chose Collingwood, Auchentoshan Three Wood, Balvenie Doublewood, Balblair 2000, Bowmore Darkest 15 and Amrut Single Malt - Single Cask.   ALL because they represented characteristics, in my opinion, that women would enjoy.  The surprise was the Bowmore Darkest 15 and I was pleased as I introduced 33 lovely women to Islays (some of which had been warned not to try that region, cause it was "gross".)

The ladies had a blast, the presentation went well.  Many, MANY fantastic questions about everything.  At the end of the night we ranked them:  Auchentoshan, Bowmore and Balvenie tied for 2nd, Balblair, Amrut and Collingwood.  We adjourned the tasting and offered everyone another great Canadian:  Forty Creek Barrel Select, we also did a Mixology 101 bar:  Shots of Rusty Nails, Whisky Diesels and Whisky Sours were made by Graham (in his kilt) with Chivas 12.   

The feedback was great, and now that we know the audience is out "there", we are definitely going to have another, maybe in the fall.   At midnight, I climbed into bed tired but exhilarated that it was truly a huge success!

THANK you to my wonderful partner Graham, for all the hard work, the help and the advice (even if I disagreed with some of it!  :)   

Stay tuned for more from the east coast.  Let the whisky awakening BEGIN!

Somewhere on my whisky trail,


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Proverbial glass ceiling, still? Really?!

Ok, I’m going to rant, but just this once I promise. As a result of yet another local liquor store employee acting like a kumquat, the purpose of this particular blog is to inform some (not all, just SOME!) of the males in the whisky world: You should not assume all women know little to nothing about whisky!  

I am positive the majority of men out there who love whisky have rarely been talked down to, dismissed or ignored like some women tend to be.  

There is nothing more insulting to me then listening to an employee of the local liquor store commission, or a product representative (YES a rep!) mispronounce the names of the bottles they are trying to impress me with (my favourite to this day:  Ocean-tock-uns). Cutting me off, overriding my enquiries and recommending bottles they think I would surely enjoy, instead of the ones I asked about?? You can't even pronounce Ledaig and you think it will be too "peated" for a woman, hunh?! 

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Oh and thank you to Mr. Dumbass bartender who put ice in the glass even after I said, on the side.  His reason: It was going to be much too strong for a little lady such as myself. Insulted, was he, that I returned it and asked for it neat a 2nd time...

Unfortunately, some of us are no stranger to these types of behaviors. It’s like trying to speak to a used car salesman: “Well looky here sweetie, it’s got a nice makeup mirror and plenty of space to put all your shopping bags darlin’!”  Sweetie?  Make up? Darlin’?  Seriously!?  My reply:  “Ok, Mr. Salesman, why don’t you tell me when was the last time it had a 30 point inspection? How are the axles and U joints on this thing. This particular model usually has issues with the transmission breaking down, what can you tell me about it?” That usually leaves them a bit red faced and staring at me blankly.  

Dear, dear gentlemen of the whisky loving world, a bit of advice: If you are at a whisky event and a gorgeous woman starts talking to you, take a moment and gage how much she knows before you go into “bravado and peacock mode”. Why not grant the benefit of doubt at least and realize that just because she has boobs (please don't speak to them as they don't have ears), high heels and a lovely dress on that she is NOT at this event for you pounce on her or because she was hired to look pretty and pour the drams?

Does every man do this? No thank goodness it is only a really small handful! However knowing full well the whisky world is still very much an old boys club in some circles, it still remains a complete mystery to me and a point of contention at times that women are so easily undermined simply because of our gender. 

So if you happen to see me politely smiling back at a man speaking to my boobs during one of these functions, know that I am fantasizing about a different place to put that nosing glass he is holding, but then again that would be wasting a perfectly good whisky, wouldn't it!

Gentlemen, keep this in mind if ever you get to meet me: I am an equal, I love whisky and I would ask for the same respect you warrant when you walk into a room. I am not a kumquat and neither are the majority of women who imbibe the lovely liquid we are all passionate about!

On the whisky trail, somewhere with boobs, in my high heels and pretty dress…