I've searched the forum lately as I will be traveling to Calgary for business in the next few days, and I noticed that some of the well-known users are located there. I'm trying to come up with a list of stores I should visit, and here's what I was able to find mentioned in other threads.
I'd appreciate the pro's opinions on these places (and others I've missed) so I can focus my "tour" as well as possible. I wouldn't mind a suggestion for a pub as well, since Friday evening I might have a few hours to kill before my wife joins me for the weekend.
Willow Park Wines & Spirits
Which outlet should I visit? Surely there must be one that's more interesting.
Real Canadian Superstores
I gather those are located in Loblaws, and I'm going to swing by to see what the prices are on some of my favourites.
Kensington Wine Market
Located at 1257 Kensington Rd. Is this worth the stop?
Crowfoot Liquor Store
Located at 7422 Crowfoot Road NW. Again, is this one worth the drive?
Many thanks in advance,
For range my first recommendation would be Willow Park. The main store is south of the city (about 15 minutes south by car): 10801 Bonaventure Drive SE. Dave Michiels is their Whisky Buyer and he can be reached at (403) 296-1640. (Tell him Dave from the West Coast Whisky Society sent you... if you want to get thrown out in style... )
They don't have the advantage of a website - but probably the greatest selection (approx. 200 single malts).
For the absolute cheapest prices on the standard fare - then the Real Canadian Liquor Store has some bargains - but limited selection. PM me if you have certain whiskies you are looking for and I can confirm if it is one of their regularly stocked items.
Both Crowfoot and Kensington are good shops. Kensington is in the NW - and a bit of a hike. Kensington is a short hop from the downtown core. They have some good staff and a decent selection. I have often gone to Kensington when I couldn't make the trek to Willow Park.
As for a pub - my favourite is Buchanan's Chop House & Whisky Bar:
738 3rd Ave. SW (near Eau Claire market and the downtown area)
Phone Number (403) 261-4646
Fax Number (403) 294-1080
Description: Buchanan’s looks like an old fashioned San Francisco neighbourhood Chop House. A delightful modern definition of an American classic, this restaurant is famous for Alberta Beef, yet they always serve an excellent daily fresh fish. A shrine to single malt whisky, Buchanan’s features 146 selections plus a predominantly North American wine list with dozens of “by the glass” choices. Contemporary food in a comfortable, old fashioned setting….lunch and dinner with a bar that is always open late.
'Hope this helps...
As for good "bang for the buck" I don't have anything special that I'm looking for, rather will stock up on a couple more common bottles if the price is so attractive at the Real Canadial Liquor Store.
The safety officer (lady) at the airport on the other hand must still have a sore shoulder after running my hand luggage through the scanner. I brought back several bottles, all from Willow Park.
Bruichladdich Links Royal Troon 14
And then some affordable bottles I had been wanting to try out and happened to be very well priced.
Also brought back a bourbon (Knob Creek 9) to try out since I've never had one. There was a couple premium Vodkas as well in my bag.
I enjoyed quite a few drams at Buchanan's as well, Ardbeg 10, Aberlour a'bunadh, and then I went through the Macallan twenties, thirties, forties and fifties. Brian (bartender) was most helpful, event leant me his copy of MJ's book to flip through.
Tonight I'll open the Links.
Wish I had both the experience and knowledge to better describe this. I had a dram of the Links followed with another 'Laddie, the Fifteen.
Links has a more amber color, but the nose is more discrete. The 15 felt slightly hotter, with more caramel tones, more bold flavor (which I don't know how to describe unfortunately). I felt they were equally peaty, but the Links was overall more subdued.
Best I can describe it is at equal price I would serve the Links to someone who's never had a single Malt, and the 15 to someone who knows what to expect some more. I have a hard time describing the subltle differences even though I can detect them, which tells me I really need to go and learn how to make tasting notes.
Lawrence, I'd love to hear your comments when you open the Links, I'm sure you'll help me more than I can help you.
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