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Spirit of Toronto 2007

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Spirit of Toronto 2007

Postby Wendy » Fri Feb 09, 2007 7:16 pm

Spirit of Toronto 2007

Date: Saturday May 12, 2007
Time: 6:30 to 10:30 pm
Location: Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto, Ontario

http://www.spiritoftoronto.ca/

Details pending. I spoke with someone today who has confirmed a booth. So, folks, it looks like Johanna's back in the saddle.

Cheers,
Wendy
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Postby Lawrence » Sat Feb 10, 2007 7:38 pm

That's great news, I hope it all goes smoothly for her.
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Postby Elagabalus » Tue Feb 13, 2007 5:06 pm

OMG I live in Ontario what is this all about I have to get more INFO!!!
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Postby Elagabalus » Tue Feb 13, 2007 5:14 pm

I have never been to one of these can someone tell me what it is and what you get for the 105.00 fee?

Thank You
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:41 pm

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?

Thank You


Check this thread for reviews of the previous event from the usual suspects.
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Postby hpulley » Wed Feb 14, 2007 1:02 am

That's great news! As for what you get for your $105, 3 masterclasses, food and unlimited (within reason of course, spitoons are provided) samples of whisky unlike some other show with vouchers... oh and a nice jazz band that I always feel bad about ignoring since I'm interesting in whisky more than jazz that night.

Harry
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Postby Elagabalus » Wed Feb 14, 2007 1:10 am

What is a Master Class? When will more info be made available?
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Feb 14, 2007 4:02 am

Depending on your point of view (not to mention that of the party giving the class), it's either an opportunity to learn something a bit more in depth about whisky, or it's a glorified infomercial that you have to pay for. I haven't attended many, in part because I'm ambivalent, but when I'm looking at them, I try to figure out which ones are really going to be educational, and not just push product. In any case, you are normally given a presentation by an industry type, and get four or five or six illustrative samples. To be fair, the few I have attended have been worthwhile, even the ones that were pretty plainly pushing product. Usually attendance is limited to 25-40.
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Postby Wendy » Tue Mar 13, 2007 5:42 am

Hello Everyone:
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 spiritoftoronto@magma.ca


Please visit the site for more details.

Cheers,
Wendy
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10% discount reminder

Postby Wendy » Fri Mar 30, 2007 2:01 pm

Hello!
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!

Cheers,
Wendy
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Postby MGillespie » Mon Apr 23, 2007 5:41 am

I have an interview with Johanna Ngoh on this year's festival in the new episode of WhiskyCast just posted online tonight if you're interested...

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Postby Wendy » Fri Apr 27, 2007 2:03 pm

Hi Mark,
I listened to the last two episodes last night. The interview with Johanna is especially meaningful for anyone attending the upcoming festival. By all accounts, the festival is shaping up to be a great evening. I can't wait!

Regards,
Wendy
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Postby MGillespie » Sun Apr 29, 2007 3:36 am

I wish I could be there...

Mark
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Postby Wendy » Mon Apr 30, 2007 12:26 pm

You will be missed, Mark. We certainly had fun hanging out at the TO Whisky Live last autumn.

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/

Cheers,
Wendy
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Postby MGillespie » Mon Apr 30, 2007 12:30 pm

Thanks, Wendy!
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Postby Peter Alcamo » Thu May 10, 2007 5:36 pm

Cheers All,
This is my first posting.
I will be looking forward to this event Saturday Night and enjoying the masterclass "Smoke on the Water" pairing of Scotch and Cigars :D .
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Postby Frodo » Thu May 10, 2007 11:15 pm

Have a great time Peter! Wish I was there with you guys...
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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri May 11, 2007 12:06 am

Me too. I am downstream, Where The River Narrows, instead.
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Postby Wendy » Fri May 11, 2007 3:30 am

I wish that all who want to attend, could!! Sometime through the evening, Harry and I will certainly raise our glasses to you as we busy ourselves by attending a couple of masterclasses and sipping choice drams.

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.

Cheers,
Wendy
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Postby MGillespie » Fri May 11, 2007 12:43 pm

Have a great time this weekend, all!

Mark
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Postby hpulley » Sat May 12, 2007 2:06 pm

Will do! 9.5 hours to showtime ;)

Harry
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Drat!

Postby Muskrat Portage » Sat May 12, 2007 5:13 pm

Lucky devils, personally can't make it there in under 24 hours driving. With the house purchase closing Tuesday I really couldn't have made it this year so have fun Wendy, Harry, Frodo et al. Looking forward to vicariously enjoying your notes...
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Postby hpulley » Sun May 13, 2007 5:57 pm

Afternoon dram (meant to be a night cap but ended up being bookends) at Wendy's: PC-5, seemingly lovely and smooth medium level peated Islay without the R23 to compare to.

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.

Harry
Last edited by hpulley on Sun May 13, 2007 6:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby MGillespie » Sun May 13, 2007 6:06 pm

Sounds like a helluva night! Glad you guys had so much fun...

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Postby Peter Alcamo » Sun May 13, 2007 9:44 pm

Great post Harry. I too had a great time, but not as busy as you. I was surprised how good some of the Japanese whiskies were especially the Yoichi 10 and 12 yr olds. The cask strength Macallan also surprised me - no burn at all even at about 57% strength. The only thing I regret about the night was the cigar and whisky class which basically took me away from the show from 9pm to about 10:40pm with the last pourings at a reported 10:15pm - so I didn't get try as many whiskies as I would have liked - that's why I was not as busy as Harry. Next year I will enjoy my cigar at the end of the night.
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Postby hpulley » Mon May 14, 2007 1:29 pm

I'm sorry I (once again) didn't really have time to meet many other people from the forum. Wendy and I attended the two masterclasses together and until the second one ended (running late as it started late) after nine o'clock we'd had no chance to sample anything else! It was line up, class, line up, class. Four hours passed by very quickly in the show. The final hour and a half went by too quickly as well, just talking to reps and sampling some whisky.

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?).

Harry
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Postby les taylor » Mon May 14, 2007 1:49 pm

Harry thanks for your work in compiling your account of the show. It was an interesting read and I'm glad you enjoyed the show.



:)
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon May 14, 2007 2:09 pm

Harry, I found the HP 30 a bit dry and woody. I only had one dram of it, but based on that, I far prefer the 25.
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Postby hpulley » Mon May 14, 2007 6:40 pm

Thanks for the Note, Mr. T.

Harry
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Postby Wendy » Wed May 16, 2007 5:41 am

For me, the Spirit of Toronto has been an extravaganza whisky event. I was at work today, and in a brief correspondence to our notorious Badmonkey, said something like, "Work is not as fun as a whisky festival" which summed up my sober return to routine life of Monday to Friday.

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...
Cheers,
Wendy
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Postby Wendy » Thu May 17, 2007 2:30 am

Of the few festivals that I have attended, I would say that amongst a number of memorable experiences that this weekend had to offer, whisky and food pairing played a predominant role that involved: The Friday night Bourbon Dinner, the John Glaser - Compass Box, The Art of Food & Whisky masterclass and the booth in the common area held by CityBites that matched a variety of whiskies with chocolate and cheese. I didn't intend it to become my common theme, but it just worked out that way. It was a chance to be experimental and it felt playful. At the Bourbon dinner, (warning...not for the purists...) I had the chance to retry the Jack Daniel's Single Barrel whisky mixed in a Manhattan. The first time I tried it, I drank it neat. I remembered it as a big and bold, "take no prisoners," whisky. But, in the Manhattan, the heat was tempered and it tasted almost delicate.

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!

Cheers,
Wendy
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Postby mogilny8 » Thu May 17, 2007 3:50 am

Well my first post may as well be for the Spirit of Toronto.
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.
p.s.
Did any of you take check out the silent auction? Lucky for us, we took a few home…

Cheers !
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Postby Wendy » Thu May 17, 2007 4:04 am

Welcome mogilny8,
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.

Cheers,
Wendy
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Postby mogilny8 » Thu May 17, 2007 4:28 am

Wendy;
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
http://www.fortycreekwhisky.com/whatsnew/default.asp

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.

Cheers !
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Postby hpulley » Thu May 17, 2007 6:25 am

I was sad to miss John Hall's talk but I hope I can try those whiskies sometime (not at the booth, sadly, but perhaps at the distillery some time) while I didn't think I'd have much chance to try the Japanese whiskies without flying there (which I need to do but don't know when that can be arranged...). In a perfect world I would have attended both but scheduling did not allow it.

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.

Harry
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