Re: Whisky Live Toronto 2008
What did Musky score during and after Whisky Live Toronto?
The Macallan masterclass gave out the 6 pack tasting kit to share with two buddies;
A Blackadder Lochnagar 13 yo raw cask
A 4 pack of the Glenmo samples
Arran 10 yo (been waiting 12 years for this 'un)
Glenfarcli Cask 105
40 Creek Double Barrel Reserve bottle # 01566
Now what did Musky DO in T.O.?
I scoped out the venue earlier in the day, good thing too, it was a fair walk from the attached hotel to the venue (all inside) and down at least 4 sets of escalators. All I could think was "How do 'they' expect a bunch of drunks to get back up to the surface from down here?" We were back for 4 pm and after a slight delay, in we went.
We started with getting our WL glasses engraved with our names, somewhere along the line I put mine down and picked up somebody else'! Our first stop was 40 Creek to speak with John Hall (no relation) and have a free dram of his newest offering the Double Barrel Reserve. I bought one after, so it was very very good and a great dram to start off with. Next was The Balvenie for a sample of the 18 yo, nice to "meet " an old liquid acquaintance. Followed up with Macallan, Glenfarclas and gave Dewars' a miss despite the attendant sweet young things in far too short mini kilts!
We also visited Laphroaig and Simon(a couple of times) the second was to try some new make Lappy which was squirreled away in back and a sample of the Ardmore which is only sold at the distillery (which was hidden in a "wellie" in the Laphroaig display). By this point Wendy had hooked up and we all benefitted from our good fortune.
We also visited Mark Laverdiere at Highland Park, an absolutely delightful fellow who I'd dram with in a heartbeat. Morrison Bowmore and The Glenlivet next, where we had a delightful chat with one of the fellows there manning the booth. Isle of Arran distillers had a fine selection as did Glenrothes however, Premium Bottlers' booth had on display a series of yet unreleased offerings from little seen distilleries over here, that they wouldn'a offer a dram of despite my best pleadings. Glenmorangie was another stop where we discussed the pros and cons on the renaming of products.
ViaAllegro had a blind tasting that my buddy partook of but I was being a bit selective by this point as I was saving myself for a crack at the HP 40 yo.
After wandering the stands, we went to the Macallan master class for a presentation on woods and their effect by a very young but knowledgeable fellow, Craig Johnstone. We got to sample the 10 FO, the 12, 15, 18, 25 ( I think - it was a bit fuzzy sometimes) and then when we finished were given a sampling pack pictured above, along with nosing and tasting notes.
We went back to the main hall and found the food lineup far too long so went cruising for more drams and discussions. We were a minute or two late for the HP MC and had to finangle our way in. Once we were in and seated, we noticed that two of our glasses were missing. The fellows beside us had tried to scoop them. I got them back quite easily and it turns out it was a good thing I did - they were the fabled 40 yo HP!
The presenter, Marc, was very knowledgeable and quite a humourist, being able to deal with any "clever" remarks in a polite but delightfully devastating way. After the class, two fellows from Toronto, we'd met at several of the booths came in and were talking to Bruce, who gave them a taste of his 40 yo HP. The one fellow said he had to have one, and then bought one at the LCBO kiosk!
How much you ask? $1,999.00 Canadian. They then all went back to the HP booth for another sample of the still open 40 yo from the Masterclass!
Oh, I met up with Damian and introduced myself and the connection Christian and I had to the live tastings. I also said how pleased I was to be able to sit down and sample the same dram with someone half a world away in real time, courtesy of the WM Forums.
As things were winding down, I went off to have supper at Franz' - a 1950s style diner on Bloor.
Next morning we got a tour of Summerhill (an old refurbished CNR station) and then were treated to some samples of $200 and $300 bottles of SM. Wow! I certainly picked the right guy to travel with!
We went up the street for brunch at a pub where we hooked up with Wendy and Frodo. Later we adjourned to the upstairs bar for more drinks and fellowship. Did I mention that I wasn't sober for several days?
Did I have a good time? Oh yeah. What did I expect and did it live up to my expectations? I've attended train conventions here, in the UK and the USA so had an expectation of what I'd be seeing and it was as I'd expected. Booths with people dispensing drams and sales pitches in a pleasant and knowledgeable manner.
It was very good and I also have to admit that coming in at 4 pm was a real smart thing to do. We could wander through the venue, glass in hand, stopping wherever we wanted to chat and dram as we saw fit. When we got back from the Macallan MC, it was after 7 pm and the place was packed! It was pretty tough sledding to get through to the booths, but with the pair of us at 6'3", we had little difficulty getting around. Wendy was able to eddy along in our wake.
Would I go back, yes! but first I'd like to experience the Victoria festival in January some year just to see what a weekend venue is like. It was a good time but would have been a bit daunting for a first timer alone. You really do have to go with a buddy who enjoys the nectar as much as you do.