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Victoria Whisky Festival

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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby plainly jane » Fri Jan 25, 2008 6:23 pm

Flight leaves in 4 hours!

Jane
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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Jan 25, 2008 11:28 pm

I'm here...time to take a spin on the hotel treadmill (I'm in the Best Western this year), catch a nap and a quick bite, and see you all very soon.

Jane, when Dave and I meet, it's just possible that we will shake hands. That's why I'm keeping mine clean (and will wash them again very thoroughly afterward).
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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby plainly jane » Sat Jan 26, 2008 12:36 am

You Boys are just soooo bad!

I am at the airport in Vancouver awaiting my flight to Victoria. I thought it best to stay at the hosting hotel. That way after the daily festivities, someone can more easily point me the direction of my room.

See you soon.

Jane
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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby plainly jane » Sat Jan 26, 2008 8:48 am

Well, the first class and evening have finished. The class was Bruchladdich for women by Andrew Grey. It was not condesending. It gave some basic tips and was quite humourous. A newbie I know found it quite useful. The Bruchladdich 18 was passable but the rest were found to be lacking a little for my palate. My favourite Bruchladdich is still their Blacker Stil.

Afterwards, Dan and Merri Ann (buddies from Calgary, Bruce (Mr. T-H) and Wendy and I debriefed in the lounge over a couple of brews. So, finally I have met Wendy and Mr. T-H. Both are quite delightful and look forward to spending more time with them tomorrow.

Tomorrow it going to be a big day for me with 3 Master Classes, VIP Tasting, and Consumer Tasting. I am getting used to not drinking all of the whisky and still feeling ok about it.

Jane
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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby lohssanami » Sat Jan 26, 2008 10:25 am

plainly jane wrote:I am getting used to not drinking all of the whisky and still feeling ok about it.

Jane


I've never been to a tasting, and I don't know if I could get used to it.

It sounds like you are having fun so far! Enjoy the big day tomorrow...errrr today.
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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby plainly jane » Sun Jan 27, 2008 8:39 pm

WOW!

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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby Knolly » Fri Feb 01, 2008 7:17 am

Well the festival is over - I was looking so forward to it and all of a sudden, it's 5 days after its end :(

Of course, during was great! This was my second year and I have to say that overall the classes, speakers, and organization are absolutely first class! I will certainly be back next year for sure.

I signed up for the regular full meal deal (Friday night - 3 master classes and Saturday night Consumer Tasting - didn't do the VIP tasting nor the Winchester Distillery Visit) and have to say that I wasn't disappointed.

Friday night I attended the Murray McDavid tasting. Saturday involved three master classes and while I didn't exactly get every class that I wanted, I have to say that they were all excellent.

Douglas Laing was the first class that I had and I really wanted to take this one. In my opinion they are consistently the best independent bottler (well, at least I LIKE what they do) and this class was no disappointment (though I really like some G&M bottlings too). Of the six samples that we had in the class, I am probably going to purchase two of them (Laphroaig 18 and Port Ellen 25 year). The speaker was absolutely excellent: very casual, lots of fun and a great sense of humour. Perhaps the "coolest" whisky of the weekend was in this class - not one that i personally would buy, but still fantastic. It was a 40 year old single grain whisky (wheat) that was absolutely delicious.

My second class was Johnnie Walker. This I thought was going to be a bit of a dud because, well I know all the whiskies, drank stupid amounts of Red and Black when in University, didn't want to hear all the marketing hoop-la about the "citrus nose of the Red that leads into a toffee / chocolate smoky long lasting finish, blah, blah, blah" and all that other stuff. We all know what Red is for: mixing with coke and ginger ale and for getting college students drunk :P Well, perhaps that's a bit harsh, but that was the attitude that I went in with - for better or for worse.
However, the speaker was a retired (I think) master distiller for Diageo. While his personality was a little "different" (perhaps overly formal, challenging and curt) he was obviously extremely knowledgeable about the industry. After about 20 minutes, I really started enjoying the class and his background into the industry. He also spoke in a way that allowed you to "read between the lines". I.e. he had to do the Diageo spiel, but at the same time wasn't going to insult our intelligence and try and tell us that the Red was an ultra-high quality product.
The whiskies were exactly how I remember them from past tastings: the "star" in the JW lineup is definitely the Gold. Not that I would ever spend money on it (would rather by a Laga 16 or two bottles of Lappy QC or Balvenie DW), but for me it's a quite enjoyable blended malt and at 40% of the cost of the Blue, the best "value" I guess (and I actually like it more than the Blue). The black is solid as well - a good one to have in the cupboard for those friends that come over and ask if they can put your "PC5 on the rocks".

The third class that I took was the Scotch Malt Whisky Society class. I took this last year and really enjoyed both the malts and the speaker who is very dynamic and a lot of fun. All the malts are cask strength of course and after last year, i learned my lesson and only fully drank the ones that I really liked. This allowed me to keep my palate working properly (unlike last year where it was trashed!) and really enjoy the rest of the evening. Unfortunately the province of BC's ass backwards liquor laws are so brutal that joining the SMWS would be a huge pain in the ass and while I'd seriously consider joining it, the BCLS would take all of that joy away :( Still, I really enjoyed the class and will probably sign up for this one next year as well, because these guys are out there to find different and unique whiskies which makes them interesting.

After dinner with some friends from the West Coast Whisky Society (there were about a dozen or so of us over from Vancouver - perhaps WestVanDave will get some of his pictures up), we joined the Consumer tasting. The lineup to get our glass and stamp was out of the door of the hotel! Once into the Consumer tasting I took a new approach this year: network with the 15 - 20 other people that I knew and find out about all the super cool bottles that were under the tables or the more interesting ones that I didn't know about (as much as I love Ardbeg, I don't need to waste time tasting the TEN). A couple of these popped up early: friends who has been to the Dewar Rattray class had talked about two in particular that they liked; the Dewar Rattray highlight for me was a bottle of Inchgower that was excellent.

Other solid finds were the Yamazaki 18 (which I just love), some great BenRiachs including the Authenticus (the 21 year old peated is always a solid whisky and while generally available, very tasty) and a port finished 1975 that had an unbelievable nose on it. The taste ranked a solid mid-80s in my mind, but the nose was simply awesome - in the mid to high 90s. It was almost like nosing a bottle of Cointreau.

I had a chance to taste the Aberfeldy 12 which is as far as I know, unavailable in North America and for a "simply 12 year old" whisky, it was just excellent. It would be a perfect one to wean your blend loving friends onto single malts with.

After the consumer tasting I found myself upstairs with a dozen or so people in one of the hotel suites. Jim Murray was there so I tactlessly asked him to sign my copy of the 2008 Whisky Bible which he happily did. I "paid him off" with a dram from the bottle of Laphroaig 30 that I had brought to the festival with me to share with friends. Hopefully next year, some others will bring fun and interesting bottles - I really love to share great whisky, but my bottle of lappy 30 was unopened Friday and by Sunday there were about 3 ounces left in it :shock: Oh well! Whisky to me is about the experience and the friends that I know as well as ones that I've newly met are part of that experience, so it was the perfect venue to crack the L30 :D Next year I'll find something equally as fun to bring with me out there - better to drink it with friends than have is sitting collecting dust in the closet! Maybe I'll bring a bottle of Gin for Lawrence :)

Overall, a great festival, well organized by Lawrence, Carolyn, and co. and absolutely enjoyable.

I'll be back next year again :)

Cheers!
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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby Lawrence » Sun Feb 03, 2008 6:17 pm

Hi Knolly, you were very generous with you Laphroaig 30 and Glenlivet Nadurra. Thank you. Wendy also kindly brought me some samples but I think I'm supposed to keep quiet about and two bottles of a malt for my local club. They'll be served blind so I'll not say anything but thank you Wendy.

From our point of view the Festival went very well with only a few minor hiccups here and there. The Friday night events were sold out and Ted & Andrew did a great job representing their whiskies; Murray McDavid and Bruichladdich respectively. We were also very please with the media and public response to the Bruichladdich Ladies Tasting which was sold out and Andrew kept the ladies amused as he led them through the line up of whiskies.

Happily the masterclasses went well with the turn over of the classes going flawlessly, we actually had 17 masterclasses including a tour of new distillery locally. I was very pleased with the line up of whiskies being represented including our first Irish whiskey masterclass.

The Consumer Tasting was a success, a bit of a issue with the bathrooms but that will be a non issue in 2009 since they were being renovated during this years event. Happily a lot of the whiskies that were being poured in the masterclasses were poured in the CT so it gave the CT a bit of a bump in variety of whiskies. Also the list of whiskies are always changing so no two masterclasses are ever the same on a year to year basis. I tried a few new whiskies but was really to tired to take notes so I just floated around trying drams and talking to people. Oddly this year people kept on coming and saying hello and a lot of the time I really had no idea who they were. The very first Festival I knew everybody. It was great to see the forum members in attendance, maybe next year we can organize something just for forum members?

The Tullibardine dinner was really amazing featuring 5 whiskies, the 1992 single cask festival bottling, the Vintage 1993, the 1988, the 1975 and the 1966 World Cup. The food and service was first class and the Chef's did a first rate job.
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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby Knolly » Sun Feb 03, 2008 6:46 pm

They served the 1966 World Cup at the dinner?????!!!!!

Damn! That would have been worth the cost of dinner right there! I'm trying to find an "affordable" second bottle of this so I won't feel guilty about opening one :P However, it's going for $700 a bottle and after paying significantly less for the first bottle, I just can't pull the trigger on it now. However, I guess it's still cheap for a 40 yr old whisky compared to most which are well into the $1500-2000 range.
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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby Lawrence » Sun Feb 03, 2008 6:49 pm

Knolly wrote:They served the 1966 World Cup at the dinner?????!!!!!

Damn! That would have been worth the cost of dinner right there! I'm trying to find an "affordable" second bottle of this so I won't feel guilty about opening one :P However, it's going for $700 a bottle and after paying significantly less for the first bottle, I just can't pull the trigger on it now. However, I guess it's still cheap for a 40 yr old whisky compared to most which are well into the $1500-2000 range.


They poured it in the masterclass also....

:D
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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby plainly jane » Mon Feb 04, 2008 4:19 am

Yes, they did pour the Tullibardine 1966 at the Master Class, the VIP and Consumer Tasting, as well as at the dinner. It was very good.

I asked James Cowan if it were the 1966 World Cup and he said "no". It was another cask from 1966. To me it tasted fairly similarly to the World Cup. Apparently in existence, but not at the festival or at the Kensington Wine Market in Calgary, is the Tullibardine 1965. I have the 1964 and the 1966 World Cup. It would be nice to have the set.

I'll give more of my reaction to my wonderful weekend later. I am very busy back at work. Patients seem to be more needful just as I am leaving on holiday and on my return. Actually, just thinking of this makes me want to go for a dram...for mental health reasons, of course.

I am off to have some Glenrothes 1979 Anniversary, bottled in 2006, cask 13459, bottle 22/492, 56.6% abv. There were 4 individual cask bottlings for the anniversary of their new stills in 1979. The other cask I tasted was 13458. Both are very good. I prefer the 13459. It is so dark, one cannot see through the bottle. Both on the nose and palate, I find it to be like stewed dark fruit or Christmas pudding, with dark chocolate and a long, smooth finish.

Excuse me...yummy, that tasted good! I am thinking of you all. At some point, may all of you experience the degree of fun and comradeship that I did at the VWF.

Jane
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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby Lawrence » Mon Feb 04, 2008 5:04 am

plainly jane wrote:Yes, they did pour the Tullibardine 1966 at the Master Class, the VIP and Consumer Tasting, as well as at the dinner. It was very good.

I asked James Cowan if it were the 1966 World Cup and he said "no". It was another cask from 1966. Jane


Apologies, my mistake, thanks Jane.

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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby Wendy » Mon Feb 04, 2008 6:46 am

Hello, Hello!
I have really enjoyed reading Jane's, Knolly's and Lawrence's account of the festival. Of the few festivals that I attend, The Victoria Whisky Festival is my all time favourite. Lawrence and the other organizers do a fantastic job. The festival reflects a committment to professionalism and a dedication to give the consumers a top-notch whisky experience. indeed, as the others have noted, it was a jam packed time. I didn't arrive home until this past Thursday, so haven't quite finished writing my report. Somehow my kids ("Mum, the cupboards are bare"), work and recovering from general fatigue have taken priority!! It was a pleasure to meet Jane and Knolly. (Sorry Jane that we didn't stop to chat when we met on the street! At least we were able to spend a bit of time Friday night chatting.) I met Knolly when he poured a dram of Laphroaig 30 into my glass...talk about making a good first impression! Knolly, I agree with Lawrence, it was very generous of you and very appreciated by me that you shared your bottle of Laphroaig 30. It was the first time that I had tried it and I savoured and loved every drop. Man, that is great whisky!

Not intending to sound mysterious, but I wore a couple of hats at this festival which added a different perspective to my experience which I will write about in my report. On second thought, I may have to hold off on that part until Lawrence's club have their tasting! :)

Thank you, Lawrence. Another job well done!

Cheers,
Wendy
Last edited by Wendy on Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby Wendy » Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:03 am

found the edit button...
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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby Knolly » Mon Feb 04, 2008 10:55 pm

Hey Wendy!

Great to meet you as well! Next year I'll try and bring another interesting bottle for fun. Why the hell not? It sure beats drinking it in the closet by myself.... errrr... ummmm I think!

:)

Cheers!
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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby Lawrence » Sat Feb 16, 2008 6:35 pm

We have now 'turned over' the website into the post event format and the website has a newer more modern look. The dates for the 2009 Festival are posted and the media clips, whisky list and the photos from all events are now posted one the Media & Photos page under the 2008 section.

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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby plainly jane » Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:29 pm

Time to start thinking about tickets for the VWF 2009. I had such a good time last year. It was great to meet forum members. Hopefully, there will be more in 2009. It is fun to put a face to forum names and comments.

PJ
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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby Lawrence » Sat Oct 18, 2008 6:10 pm

We now launched the 2009 Victoria Whisky Festival on http://www.victoriawhiskyfestival.com with 23 masterclasses, two Friday night Grand Tastings and of course the Consumer Tasting on Saturday evening.

We even have a contest this year!

Please visit the website to see what's new for 2009.

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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby Knolly » Thu Nov 20, 2008 7:52 am

Who's going this coming year? I already have my tickets :)

Hope to see you there!
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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby WestVanDave » Mon Jan 05, 2009 7:53 am

I'll be there - with bells on... (so you can hear me running from Mr. T if he's in a fightin' mood)... :wink:
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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby MGillespie » Thu Jan 08, 2009 6:29 am

OK, gang...I'm finally making the trip to Victoria! Can't wait to finally meet some of you...even T! ;)

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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby WestVanDave » Thu Jan 08, 2009 7:24 am

MGillespie wrote:OK, gang...I'm finally making the trip to Victoria! Can't wait to finally meet some of you...even T! ;)

Mark


...be careful what you wish for Mark...

If you haven't arranged for an interview with Sir Lawrence yet - that's a must. :iwbrnt: (I've been waiting for the opportunity to use that smily.)

'just dress warmly - the long range forecast is still hinting at snow (unlike the normal shorts and sandals weather Victoria is famous for in January)...
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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby MGillespie » Thu Jan 08, 2009 3:33 pm

Thanks, Dave...Lawrence and I have already talked...

And as for the cold...of course I'm going to dress warmly...it is Canada in winter, after all! ;)

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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby WestVanDave » Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:39 am

Hey Mark - great to meet you - in the blur of it all... I trust you enjoyed the festival and "winter in Canada" (twasn't that cold now - was it???). 8)

I look forward to hearing the WhiskyCast interviews and your thoughts on Sir Lawrence's wee gathering. :thumbsup:

Hat's off to Lawrence, Carollyne, Ian, Jonathan and the rest of the gang that made it all look effortless this year (again) - when we know it is anything but... and to the weather-gods who held the snow back until this morning. (FYI - it was crisp, clear and literally sun-tanning weather all weekend - again this year. :angel: )

Thank you to all of the visiting Whisky Dignitaries and Ambassadors from near and far.
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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby MGillespie » Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:29 pm

Great to meet you as well, Dave...this was one of the best festivals I've ever attended! I share your compliments to Lawrence and the gang...the whiskies and master classes were excellent, the food was amazing, and Victoria is a beautiful place...I'll be back!

Mark
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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby les taylor » Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:27 pm

MGillespie wrote:Great to meet you as well, Dave...this was one of the best festivals I've ever attended! I share your compliments to Lawrence and the gang...the whiskies and master classes were excellent, the food was amazing, and Victoria is a beautiful place...I'll be back!

Mark



Mark I loved listening to whiskycast episodes 183 and 184. Good interview with Lawrence. And the Laddie stuff was really interesting.

Thanks a lot. :thumbsup:
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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby MGillespie » Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:59 am

Thanks, Les!
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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby bianca007 » Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:22 am

oh no...
i missed it! i had to found this forum earlier... :x
do you know is the victoria whisky festival also next year??
think i have to wait...
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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby Lawrence » Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:01 pm

Check out http://www.victoriawhiskyfestoval.com for dates for 2010.......

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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby MGillespie » Fri Feb 20, 2009 5:59 pm

Ummm...try http://www.victoriawhiskyfestival.com for those dates...

Sorry, Lawrence...

Mark
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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby Lawrence » Fri Feb 20, 2009 6:32 pm

MGillespie wrote:Ummm...try http://www.victoriawhiskyfestival.com for those dates...

Sorry, Lawrence...

Mark


Yikes! Thanks Mark, how I long for a edit button.....
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Re: Victoria Whisky Festival

Postby MGillespie » Fri Feb 20, 2009 7:04 pm

Yes...Matt took that out of the latest version of the forum software... :(

Mark
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