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Howling Highlight: Edmonton Whisky Festival

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 24, 2010

Jeff (My friend and co-owner of Lacombe Spirits in St. Albert)

Jeff of Lacombe Spirits was just one of the many people enjoying themselves at Edmonton Whiskyfest!

Okay, I will admit it, I am about four days late with this posting.  My plan was to let everyone know my impressions of the Edmonton Whiskey Festival on Thursday of last week which would have been the very next day.  The trouble was, I had a full plate of events since then and finally got settled down today to write it up.  The Event was held at the Edmonton Petroleum Club, with tables of whisky from various parts of the world, lining the outer perimeter just inviting me to indulge.  Tickets were almost completely sold out which meant that almost 300 of us peoples were inside as well.   If this sounds too crowded, then you are misinterpreting.  Basically the event was full of whiskey, and full of people, and full of fun.  Let the sampling begin!

I started  the night at the Wisers Table.  Wisers  has a new bottle for their  18 year Old whisky and I wanted to make sure the taste was that same great flavour I love in Wiser’s old 18 year old bottle.  I sampled and compared, but to be honest with so much whiskey aroma,  men’s cologne, and women’s perfume in the air I couldn’t honestly tell you if the nuances were different.  I guess I will have to do a comparison on my blog at a future date.

After that encounter with Wisers, the evening begins to kind of melt into a whisky tasting frenzy which I enjoyed thoroughly.   Here are a few of the great people I met:

Stuart Nickerson of Glenglassaugh Distillery

Stuart Nickerson, Managing Director of Glenglassaugh Distillery, in Scotland.  The Glenglassaugh Distillery is a 133 year old whisky distillery located just outside the Speyside region of Northeast Scotland.  The distillery was closed in 1986, one of many small distilleries which were mothballed during the days of corporate consolidation.  However the distillery was reopened in November of 2008.  The spirits which Stuart was pouring were not actually whiskies, they were distilled malt spirits which had not been aged long enough to be called whisky.  It was fascinating to sample these spirits and taste the character already in the glass.  My first impression is that Glenglassaugh will have a fine whisky to sell in November of 2011.

Andrew Gray of Bruichladdich Distillery

Another chance meeting I thoroughly enjoyed was my encounter with Andrew Gray the Sales Director for  Bruichladdich Distillery.   Bruichladdich Distillery is a Scotch Islay whisky distillery on the Rhinns which reopened in May of 2004. I sampled the whisky at the Bruichladdich table and loved their 18 year old bourbon finish.  I also tasted the X4 plus 3, which is one of their new distilled whiskies, produced under the new ownership.   But to be honest the best thing about my chance encounter with Mr. Gray was his first comment as I walked up to the table.  “Its the Rum Howler!”  Apparently Mr. Gray  has read my blog.  You see Andrew is one of the driving forces behind Renegade Rums.  I have reviewed several of the Renegades and he and I had a great time discussing rum rather than whisky.

But 100 whiskies to sample, and only one night to do it takes a toll.  I was only able to try about thirty,  before the time was up.  But this event was a blast.  I know the fellows at Vines in Riverbend were part of the driving force behind the event.  Congrats guys you did great.


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