Two nights ago now I was at the same show, The Spirit of Toronto. Tried too many to list them all, I'm sure I'll forget to list a few, but some were:
Tried a bunch of Buffalo Trace and other bourbons which are nice and sweet but not my cuppa tea. Nice to sit in on their class and hear how it is made. The single barrel Elmer T was my favorite of the bunch, with the wheat bourbon in second.
Enjoyed Hedonism (vatted grain) and Eleuthera (vatted Caol Ila, Clynelish and Glenlossie, very nice with smoky Caol Ila and Clynelish richness) from Compass Box. Met John Glaser, a very nice guy. Too bad they didn't bring any Monster.
Tried Jameson 18, quite impressive! It reminds me a bit of Redbreast Pure Pot Still but isn't quite the same, not quite the same hot red candy taste. Real improvement over the standard.
The Easy Drinking Whisky Co. stuff just seemed like inexpensive blends to me, sorry guys. Tried a few, nothing took my fancy.
Ardbeg just brought TEN, why? Tried Glenmorangie Burgundy finish; nothing to write home about.
Had Forty Creek Three Grain again. I still prefer the Barrell Select as the Three Grain seems a bit too sweet to me.
Arran chill and non-chill filtered were interesting but just young islands to me so far, not great yet. Hopefully in a few more years they'll be impressive.
Gordon & MacPhail brought some '98 6yo Benromach, made since the reopening. Tastes young, has some interesting notes but not something I'd buy yet. Will try it again in a few years. They also had a '90 Ledaig which was quite nice, smoky, peaty, no unwelcome undertone. 8yo Old Pulteney was a nice north highland.
Dalmore had only the 12yo, not even the Cigar Malt. Tried it again after years of not having it. My tastes have undoubtedly changed as I didn't really like it.
HP 25yo OB is really, really good. Miles above the 18yo IMO.
18yo Glenlivet was nice, a real improvement over the standard 12yo but still not spectacular.
Macallan Fine Oak is interesting though not spectacular for me. The current 18yo is still not great, haven't had a great one since before '84 Vintage.
Duncan Taylor was the highlight of the night for me. A 10yo '93 bourbon casked Mortlach was really nice, letting the malt come through the usual house style sherry aging. Auld Reekie, a 12yo Caol Ila is very smoky but has a funny undertone that caused it to be a little off putting (this sort of thing often burns off with more time to taste or have the bottle open for a week or two so it could improve). 30yo Longmorn was really nice, a huge improvement over the 15yo OB IMO. 35yo '68 Glenlivet was wonderful, a world of improvement over the 18yo OB (though I'm told the 30yo OB is even better). Highlight of the night for me was a 33yo '69 Macduff, simply heaven in a glass! Wonderful wide, low notes in the nose of malt, some citrous, more fruit in the body some suggested as peaches, just a wonderful thing to have (seconds were welcome and still lovely). Kirsty did a nice job with the class.
I forgot to try Talisker 18yo, the new one and didn't check out Jura either where I'd hoped to try a heavily peated one. Last booth on the end and part of the Johnny Walker exhibit and things must have been a bit fuzzy by then...
One of the first on my list of those to try too.
Thanks so much to Johanna for organizing the event and for the Roy Thompson Hall staff for making it go smoothly. If anyone from Fedex has found the missing cases from Duncan Taylor, please let me know when the Christmas party is taking place
Here's looking forward to SOT '05!
Well met, Frodo. To others who were there, sorry I didn't introduce myself as I was too busy tasting.