the whisky lounge - a journal tracking a whisky maturation project involving a newly-acquired oak cask and a significant amount of patience

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Spirit of Toronto, Take Two

As promised, here's Rob's take on the Spirit of Toronto show we attended over the weekend. Rob took a Masterclass, which I did not. I think it quite altered his perceptions of the evening. Anyway, here's what he had to say:

"In reflection, I think the event was too much, too fast. Being able to sample that many products overloads the taste buds. I had trouble telling the difference. I think a ticket system would have been better. Six drinks of larger size, would have made me more selective, which would allow a better review of the whiskies."

[I disagree with Rob on this point. The reason, I think, for the discrepancy is that Rob sat in Masterclasses for about half or more of the evening, while I just wandered the stalls. I didn't have trouble taking my time and having snacks and water to cleanse the palate after a sample, and I enjoyed being able to sample many, many things. I think next time, I might take a notebook to jot down my impressions so as to better remember them - Ian]

"The master classes were nice as you focused on one particular topic. They did the basic principle of how to properly nose and taste. Add one small drop of water and taste again. If you're really interested in the topic, then going is worth while. The whiskeys in the peat class tasted amazingly different: adding just a drop of water really opens up the flavour. This class I would recommend. Five bucks well spent. The smoking class, not so much. I would pass on that one. There just was not enough time to focus on the topic."

"Tasting Notes (From what I remember)
Isle Jura Superstition - Good, but nothing to write home about.
40 Creek - Taste the same as the stuff in the store. I really wanted to talk to them so tasting stop well worth it.
Premium Bottlers - I think I'll look them up today.
Yoichi - I thought there was a hint of sake, didn't like the taste because of that. [I haven't a clue what sake tastes like, but I found the Yoichi grainier and less integrated or complex than the Yamazaki - Ian]
Yamazaki 12 & 18 - Both really nice. Light taste and body. Tasted Scottish.
Oban - Quite like it.
Cragganmore - Nice and light. I would add it to your list of old faithfuls. Although a little pricey, you can't go wrong.
Laphroaig - He was pouring generous samples. The quarter cask is still my favourite.
Dalmore - quite nice, but again nothing to write home about.

That was all the damage I could do before heading to my classes. I would recommend going to one class to break up the sampling. I would also recommend it be at 8:00 or so. Hence you've sampled, sit a listen and can sample again."

So there you have it. Rob had an excellent time, but felt a bit rushed. I guess attending a couple of classes really does alter one's perception of the evening. I stayed relaxed throughout without a sense of being hurried.

One thing I forgot to mention is that I met up with my friend James the evening before and shared a bit of my remaining Whisky Works whisky with him. He made the critical error of not believing me when I said it was really strong, so took perhaps too big a sip the first time. Nonetheless, after the coughing and sputtering subsided, a slower, more conservative sample proved quite to his liking. After all the time and effort I'd put into it, he'd damn well better have enjoyed it! :-)

Cheers,

Ian

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