Date: Saturday May 12, 2007
Time: 6:30 to 10:30 pm
Location: Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto, Ontario
Details pending. I spoke with someone today who has confirmed a booth. So, folks, it looks like Johanna's back in the saddle.
Elagabalus wrote:I have never been to one of these can someone tell me what it is and what you get for the 105.00 fee?
Check this thread for reviews of the previous event from the usual suspects.
I just wanted to announce that more information has been posted about the upcoming Spirit of Toronto festival. Please check it out: http://www.spiritoftoronto.ca/
In conjuction to the festival, I want to also draw your attention to "Canada's first rare Whisky Auction." The auction is a fundraising event in honour of Michael Jackson who annouced a few months ago that he has been dealing with Parkinsons Disease over the past ten years. The proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Parkinson Society of Canada.
Quote from the site:
The auction will be conducted by sealed bids which will be accepted during the show from 6:30-9:45pm on the West Lobby platform of the Hall; full details to be published on this page as of April 1st.
If you have a bottle of whisky that you would like to donate, please make contact by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please visit the site for more details.
I wanted to remind members of the Companion of the Quaich and whisky enthusiasts that have registered to receive SoT updates that March 31st will be your last day to take advantage of the 10% discount that has been offered when purchasing your ticket. Respectively, there is a code that you would have been given that you need to enter in the "Promotion" section on the Roy Tompson Hall website when purchasing your ticket.
See you there!
I thought you and others would like to peruse the menu at http://www.spiritoftoronto.ca/ that is going to be served at the Bourbon dinner at the beerbistro restaurant on Friday May 11th. Two years ago, I attended the pre festival dinner that showcased John Glaser's Compass Box whiskies with food pairing. It was a memorable evening and a great way of launching the Whisky Festival weekend. So, I fully expect that the the collaboration between Stephen Beaumont and Chef Brian Morin will ring in another terrific and mouthwatering evening of celebrating food and bourbon pairing.
For those that don't know, Stephen Beaumont is a beer expert. His webstie is: http://www.worldofbeer.com/
Welcome Peter. As a friend of Peter's, who I am happy to see made his first posting in this thread tonight, I am sure our paths will cross Saturday night.
Tomorrow, I kick-off the festival with the Bourbon dinner. I am looking forward to the evening. It will be a very busy weekend.
Arrived and already the line up was huge for the masterclasses so we didn't bother with the tickets but got into the classes we wanted anyways (barely).
From memory (as always):
Attended two masterclasses:
John Glaser, food matching (sitting at the front of the class):
Double Single (15yo 'C' single grain [Cambus, Carsebridge I thought] with 12yo single Clynelish made exclusively for the Craigellachie Hotel) with parmesan cheese
Spice Tree (Clynelish, Glen Elgin, Teaninich and Dailuaine with SWA no-no french oak end staves in the barrel) with Quebec sheep cheese (not quite as strong as he'd intended the cheese to bad[ed: to bad? to be, perhaps not quite as clear as a bell]; the parmesan had been stronger)
The Peat Monster (mostly Caol Ila) with smoked salmon
Magic cask (Madeira Linkwood, 14yo Clynelish with some raw Madeira only allowed under Canadian whisky laws so only sold in Ontario) with a ginger 'cupcake'
Tatsuya Minagawa from the Highlander Inn talking about Japanese whiskies with a scotch thrown in to see if we could find it (I was fooled, I thought the Hanyuu was the Talisker as it was so spicey):
18yo Yamasaki (sherry cask high ratio, some bourbon and Japanese casks as well, some nice fruity notes [I thought melon, he thought Strawberry])
15yo Yoichi (wanting to try this for ages, not bad but I prefer the 12yo; others found sulphur but I did not)
1988 CS Hanyuu (favorite of the Japanese whiskies by far, a recently revived distillery, very spicey, chilli, pepper).
Talisker 10yo (I swear this wasn't Talisker 10yo, wasn't very spicey to me whether I tried it before or after the Hanyuu). Didn't finish it.
Just wandering around, small samples, only a few actually finished (the Yamasakis):
Yamasaki 12yo and 18yo again. Very different, both very smooth. The 18yo is more sherry casks in the blend while the 12yo is more bourbon. Both have a small amount of Japanese oak casks as well which I think must give them their unique tastes. Spoke with Satoru Shimizu (I was studying the kanji of his name on his business card when he explained that his family name means 'clear water', a very good name for whisky business!), a sales and marketing manager from Suntory.
At the CityBites food matching table: Bushmills 10yo with a blue goat cheese; this was the cheese John Glaser was thinking of. I was wondering what on earth I could use to cleanse my palate from this cheese (varsol perhaps?). I think I'm missing another one I tried before the three matches by Tracey Edelist of "A Taste For Chocolate" and I'm afraid I'm forgetting the single estate chocolates but they were very yummy with Forty Creek Barrel Select, Woodford Reserve and The Peat Monster.
The Jura 21yo and Superstition were all gone so I missed them (some will say luckily) but tried The Dalmore 12yo again which has been off our shelves for a while but which should be coming back soon.
Spoke with a Corby/Pernod rep who says the lack of Laphroaig in Ontario (or all of Canada) rumour is false and that new shipments to Ontario at least will be in the fall.
At the Yoichi table I've got their 10yos and 12yos at home but tried some Kakushi (Kakubuchi?) Gura (shochu, not sure of the meaning or spelling of any of these Japanese words) which is essentially a barley based sake. I like it better than sake (which I dislike) but it still isn't my thang. Spoke with Shotaro Ozawa, their importer.
Tried The Glenrothes 1985. Didn't like it, found it quite rough. Haven't enjoyed any of the recent (as in since 1983) distillations of The Glenrothes (ed. which is too bad as stuff from the '60s and '70s is just wonderful).
Tried a few of the Canadian Premium Bottlers offerings: Royal Lochnagar, Linkwood, Glenlossie, Strathisla. The Linkwood and Royal Lochnagar were good, the others were alright.
Worst whisky of the night: The Glenlivet French Oak. Just undrinkable IMO. Sorry Highland distillers...
Great event overall again. I really hope it is held again for 2008.
Later on, after party at The Duke of Argyll pub with Wendy, organizers Johanna and Charles, Regis 'Whisky Mad', Diageo Master of Whisky Martin, Jeff 'NOT Richard Branson': two drams of Lagavulin 16yo OB 'til they turned the lights out. Surprisingly good drams after such a night of drinking, better than they usually seem at home.
Nightcap: another PC-5. Somehow it burned more than it did in the afternoon where it had been smooth! Guess my throat was raw by that point.
Woke up this morning clear as a bell though a bit tired, surprised but pleased at that.
It looks like I tried a lot from that list but if you compare to the posting from Spirit of Toronto 2005 and 2004 (there was none in 2006, the fall one was postponed to this spring 2007) I think you'll see I had a lot more at the other shows. I loved sampling the Japanese whiskies so I would have gone regardless of what else was there but outside of the special stuff they had at the masterclasses, there wasn't that much on the tables. I had to skip the final class so I could mingle but I kind of wish I'd snuck into to the Highland Park class at least for the final dram, the thirty year old, as I've never tried it and it is too expensive for me to buy (is it much of a patch over the 25yo?).
Friday, I kicked off the festival with the Bourbon dinner at restaurant, "beerbistro". Chef, Brian Morin and beer officinado, Stephen Beaumont put their signature on a Bourbon dinner with courses complimenting the likes of Jim Beam Black Label (admittedly a yummy fav.), Maker's Mark, Jack Daniels Single Barrel, Woodford Reserve (an easy sessional fav.), Knob Creek and Blanton's Reserve. My social highlight was sitting across fthe table from Regis Lemaitre of WhiskyMad. The food pairing was really appreciated and seemed to set the stage for the rest of the weekend.
I will report more, but I am fading...
I enjoyed the two masterclasses that Harry and I attended Saturday night. Each masterclass host, John Glaser and Tatsuya Minagawa, offered the chance to sample whiskies that I had never tried before. In John's masterclass of the four whiskies, Spice Tree, the Double Single, Peat Monster and Magic Cask, I had not tried the Double Single.
Tatsuya Minagawa's flight of Japanese whiskies were an all time highlight: Yamazaki 18 yo, Yoichi 15 yo, and the Hanyu 1988 (the bottle with the red card on it). Like Harry, the Hanyu 1988 won my vote.
After our masterclasses was the time to mosey from booth to booth. As I mentioned already, I spent time pairing food and whisky at the CityBites booth (Harry wrote those details in his report). I also sampled The Glenrothes 1985 and two of the new upcoming bottlings from Canadian Premium Bottlers, the Linkwood and the Royal Lochnagar.
The weekend was very social and fun. It was a lovely chance to meet up with a couple of dear friends who were participating in the festival, as well as, making a few new friends who I have been admiring from afar. It was also great to be accompanied again to a whisky event with Harry. We share the same sense of humour so not much is lost between us.
On this night, I didn't take any notes and at one point turned to Harry and asked him to try and remember what I will forget. So where I lack detail, I think he succeeded to include just that in his report.
A special thank you to Johanna!
This was my second visit, and I enjoyed it immensely.
We started off with a good meal at the Irish Embassy Pub and Grill. Once we hit the Spirit of Toronto, it was off to John Glaser’s Materclass. As usual John provides an exciting, thoughtful class. I never miss the opportunity to attend.
Another highlight for me was spending some time with John Hall of Forty Creek. What a pleasure to taste Johns Special Anniversary Release of Forty Creek. Hands down, my most enjoyable Canadian Whisky. (and yes, that includes the XR) If you can get your hands on one of the 6,000 bottles that are being made available, do so.
I found the food was even better than 05, and you have to love the ‘free pours’ at this event.
It’s a small world hpulley. A few of us ended the night at the Duke Of Argyle, but not having met you, we could have been seated next to one another and not even know it.
Did any of you take check out the silent auction? Lucky for us, we took a few home…
I am glad you enjoyed the festival. I am also envious that you sampled John Hall's Special Anniversary Release of Forty Creek. What did you think of it? Whenever I leave an event like this, I am always reminded of the dram or two I didn't get to try.
I believe they did very well at the Auction. Johanna Ngoh will likely be making an announcement in the near future. What bottles did your group leave with?
By the way, Harry was one of the"guys" sitting in front of the class at the Compass Box Masterclass...not to be confused with the one wearing the dress.
You must have had the’good seats’ facing the class. Whatever did the two of you do to deserve John’s back...lol
We ( 4 of us) were sitting in the last 2 seats of each row to the (your) right.
Next year we will have to say hello
We left the auction with Aberfeldy 21, and today, I was informed we also won the ‘no longer publicly available’ Monster (this was John’s inspiration for Peat Monster)
As for the Forty Creek Special Reserve, I don’t want to downplay Canadian Whisky, but typically, they just don’t have the complexities of the Scotch… Well this one truly does.
You can order your special numbered (of your choice 1-6000) bottle here
I didn’t try the Japanese whiskies, but can I go out on a limb and say they were a real hit of this show. A friend of ours attended the Masterclass and seems to be on the same page as you.
Unfortunately I didn't notice the auction until much later -- it was not something I'd planned on doing, thinking they would all be 50yo Glenfiddichs (for some reason I didn't check the auction page beforehand for the list, duh). When I saw the AVY gone for the minimum bid of $150 I thought I should have tried to get that one.
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