Sadly I was unable to attend the Kensington Whisky Festival this year (no excuses next time). Hey…the pockets only run so deep, folks. In my absence ATW was fortunate enough to have friend and resident caustic wit, Maltmonster, in attendance. MM was kind enough to offer his services (bill in the mail?) in writing up a quick rundown of some of the highlights and lowlights of the event.
I’ve been trying to recruit his services for the ATW cause for a couple months now, so am right tickled pink to have him jump aboard, even if only on occasion.
Without further ado…
I like to recycle, support wild life groups, hell I even like the damn whales (medium rare to medium in a wine reduction) but it’s really hard when you’re lining up outside Kensington Wine Market at – 20 C for their Festival to groove on the ideal that I should support the fight against global warming. No wonder people in Canada are tipping over smart cars in protest and burning Al Gore’s movie ‘An Inconvenient Lie’ to stay warm. If the early Scots distilled whisky to fend off the cold and improve their lot in life, then we as Canadians should be able to claim our whisky as a tax deductible item under the category of ‘essential for survive’.
7:00 PM Thursday, November 18, 2010 saw the start of the Kensington annual Fall Festival. This Festival is not the biggest in Calgary but proves to have one of the most interesting lineups. There are the standard bottles in the usual ranges, but Kensington always seems to add interesting bottles you would probably never otherwise try.
As I stated before, Festivals that I attend are more of social get-together with like minded drudges, so tasting notes rarely happen. I will however offer up some opinions and observations for the great unwashed. Given that I have tasted most of the whiskies out there I shall only comment on the ones that are new to me and or a few favorites.
– Least favorite – Singleton of Glendullan – second tasting for me on this one and still not impressed. Although the price point I believe is around $40-$50 which makes it inexpensive and could attract some rum drinkers.
– Biggest surprise – Well instant Karma (what goes around comes around) got me for the bad deeds that I had propagated over the last year on the organizer of the festival. Each tasting station had pictures of the Maltmonster pasted on the presentation boxes of the best bottles calling me a repeat tasting offender and warning people to refuse me service. Luckily I’m generally well liked and was never refused.
– Favorite malt – This was a tie between two new malts for me, 1968 Connoisseurs Choice Glen Keith with creamy butterscotch and ripe fruit and the 1969 Signatory Springbank with its incredible exotic fruits.
-Best hidden malt – Tom O’Connor of Purple Valley Imports gave me a go (Jonathan Bray would never have) at a hidden gem the Amrut Intermediate Sherry. This was a sophisticated malt with no sharp or harsh sherry notes.
– Favorite Ambassador / Agent – Eric Raymond, Diageo (EL Diablo). I can only say nice things about somebody after they let me sample more than my fair share of Port Ellen 8th and 9th release.
– Redemption malt – After the dull performance of the Flaming Heart, I gave the Hedonism Maximus by Compass Box a go and was rewarded with a rich bourbon vanilla . This is an older blended grain whisky and was easily my third favorite malt of the night.
– Loneliest tasting station – This had to be Macallan / Highland Park – I think the server scared people off with his prison beard.
All in all this was well worth coming out for in the cold Artic night. This event and the Willow Park Festival should be added to all malt drinkers must do list (not to be confused with the rum drinkers honey do list).
Congratulations to Andrew Ferguson and the team at KWM. Looking forward to next year’s event.