Jul 312013

The Dram Initiative Meeting #003 – July 9, 2013Logo (2)

Duncan Taylor & A.D. Rattray Tasting w/ Jonathan Bray


The excitement continues to mount as word spreads about this club.  We’ve hit the ground running and the recepetion has been overwhelmingly positive.  There are, of course, occasional tweaks being made, but these are no more than minor course corrections.  The Dram Initiative is now three meetings deep (well…four, if you count the Founder’s Meeting), and is starting to build a bit of buzz.  I know this because a couple times now when it has been mentioned to random folks, their reply has been along the lines of ‘oh yeah, I’ve heard about you guys’.  Neat stuff.

So why the buzz?  Simply put:  great whiskies…great speakers….great events.

We’re now to the point where the committee has lined up more than a dozen future agendas, all absolutely peppered with spectacular malts and some great presenters.  Considering we meet approximately every six weeks or so, we look to be lined up for about a year and half at this point.  Maybe longer.  To steal a line from Timbuk3: “the future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades”.


July 4th may be Independence Day in the US, but for those of us in Calgary, we made July 9th “Independents Day”.  A good mate of ours, Jonathan Bray, he of Purple Valley Imports fame, came through as honoured guest (read: sacrificial lamb) for the evening, and tackled the concept of independent bottling.  Well…that was sort of what the overarching theme was, but Jonathan’s central focus (thesis?) was more on the concept of balance in whisky.

It just so happens that in his varied portfolio, Jonathan boasts two of the heavy hitters in the world of independent bottling: A.D. Rattray and Duncan Taylor.  While the former has had a rather formidable presence in Calgary over the years, the Duncan Taylor releases have been a little more few and far between. 

An event like this was the perfect opportunity to sample two different bottlers, several different distilleries (aka ‘the horizontal tasting’), cover a bunch of whisky regions, run the gambit in terms of ages and…just drink some great whiskies.  In fact, this evening’s flight was built around five malts that all boasted age statements of over 20 years.


Our events are formal in the sense that they are structured sit down affairs with the line-up secured and poured before starting, but there is no standing on ceremony beyond that.  We like to laugh, mock and shout out the occasional bit of banter.  This evening was no different in that sense, but where Jonathan excelled was in engaging the group.  This was by far the most vocal we’ve seen the gang, in terms of contributing their thoughts regarding nosing/tasting notes they were picking out and generally partaking in a bit more of a dialogue with the host.  This is what it’s all about.


One of the coolest things about what we’re doing here in the Initiative is striking a balance between formal club setting and an absolutely free, independent and unstructured approach to an overarching agenda.  Put simply…every night is put together with highest standards, but no two events will be the same.  Each presenter that comes through the club is given free rein to set their own agenda.

This independence, granted to both the club and the presenter, makes for a refreshing appproach.  We’re not limited to any sort of ‘canned’ presentation, stock set of malts or regulated structure (excepting any self-imposed).  It’s working so far.  Tonight with ADR and DT proved that.

So, let’s move on to the whiskies themselves.  Sorta give you an idea as to what we tried (or a recap for members, if you will):


We tried four whiskies each from DT and ADR.  The point was not head-to-head competition.  It was simply a survey or showcase.  We did however, at the end, poll the group to determine favorites of the night.  These little bits of information regarding preferences help us tailor the tastings to suit the club accordingly. 

The preferential voting method used by the Dram Initiative is the rank system, in which a show of unwashed hands is tallied and then interpreted by the Maltmonster. 

(All tasting notes by Curt)

Auchentoshan 15 Year Old (A.D. Rattray) 59% ABV Cask #478                    Rank:  #8

Nose:  Very light and somehow still carrying a few spirity/feinty notes even at 15 years.  These do mellow with a little breathing time.  Some florals and grains.  Vanilla.  Toast with marmalade.  Toffee and raisin.  A really neat ‘toasted’ note.

Palate:  Chocolate.  Apple.  Toothpicks.  Quite tart and toasted.  Raisin and butter tart.

Thoughts:  As jaded as this sounds…this one is still too young.  Decent whisky, but not quite ready.  Finished last out of the evening’s flight, but was still a decent start.


Mortlach 15 Year Old (Duncan Taylor) 53.8% ABV Cask #262                    Rank:  #4

Nose:  Orange with some yeasty dough.  An old school style malt, but surprisingly delicate for such a profile.  Not as ‘old school’ as most of the more meaty Mortlach out there.  Honey and sponge toffee.  Faux white chocolate.  Fruits are primarily citrus, but a touch of mixed berry in cream.

Palate:  Melon and pear notes.  A touch of florals on the palate…odd.  Slightly prickly (stale white pepper maybe?).  Eucalyptus.  Faint hint of dill.  Fades into plum skins.  Where’s the beef?

Thoughts:  Now we’re talking.  Tasty Mortlach…and even better than the taste is the nose.  Fear to think what this would have been at 25 years or so.  This is a distillery that continues to impress.


Strathmill 21 Year Old (Duncan Taylor) 54.8% ABV Cask #4239                    Rank:  #7

Nose:  Caramel.  Slightly malty.  Some grapefruit.  A touch of sharp papaya or mango.  Dark and creamy.  Leather with a touch of smoke.  Swiss cheese (y’know that sweaty/footy note?…don’t get me wrong…I like pungent cheeses of all sorts…this is not a bad thing).  Somewhat salty.  Granny Smith apple.

Palate:  Smoked apple, right off the bat.  A sharp bitter note follows.  Like a high percent cacao dark chocolate.  A sort of fishiness.  Takes a few swallows for the palate to embrace this one.  Returns to Granny Smith apple notes and barley as it fades.  Good, but not excellent.

Thoughts:  A rather odd whisky that didn’t rank too high this eve, but still had a few fans.  The nose, in particular, shines.


Blair Athol 22 Year Old (Duncan Taylor) 50.5% ABV Cask #2927                    Rank:  #6

Nose:  Barley.  Very smooth vanilla and pure honey.  A little bit of dust and old wood.  Some pears meet a dark jammy cherry note.  Clay.  Very clean.  Very pleasant.

Palate:  A touch of oak and smoke.  Ju-jubes.  Very juicy.  Like orange fruits baked into something white and fluffy.  The oak is pronounced but never overpowering.  Comes back to the grains at the end.

Thoughts:  Very balanced in its utter simplicity.  Would pair beautifully with a rich dessert or really good chocolate.


Glen Moray 24 Year Old (Duncan Taylor) 48.4% ABV Cask #1350                  Rank:  #5

Nose:  Heavy caramel notes here.  A lumbering, brooding malt, for sure.  The honey is enormous…like ‘right out of the comb’ big.  Slightly meaty.  Some cinnamon.  This is more in line with what I’d expect from Mortlach.  Vague wet rock note.

Palate:  Great delivery.  Kinda meaty again, with a little smoke.  Some briny, lemony notes.  Add a bit of peat and some more smoke here and I’d think this was an Islay malt.  Nice long linger with a great aftertaste.

Thoughts:  I could happily curl up with the hound and a book to this one.  Definitely recommended.  Great outing from this distillery.


Miltonduff 27 Year Old (A.D. Rattray) 51.9% ABV Cask #12499                    Rank:  #3

Nose:  Lovely nose.  Right in my wheelhouse.  Some latex and old cask notes.  Peach.  Tobacco pouch.  Mild pepper.  Cookie dough with a little nutmeg and cinnamon.  This is almost spectacular.  Love this one.

Palate:  Some light fruits.  Oh wow…nice development.  Sugar cookies.  Whipped vanilla icing and the best custard you can imagine.  Flawless integration of wood, spirit and…magic.  Touch of sweet pink grapefruit too.

Thoughts:  Plucked at exactly the right age.  This is probably the most balanced and composed malt of the night, even if it wasn’t the number one ranking.  The exact argument needed in FAVOR of single cask indie bottlings.


Laphroaig 18 Year Old (A.D. Rattray) 55% ABV Cask #2244 Alberta Exclusive                    Rank:  #2

Nose:  Farmy and peaty.  Some tar and rubber.  Wet straw.  Sea spray.  Bacon.  Smoke and tobacco.  Lemon.  Fabric bandaids.  More and more smoke and rubber.  Cucumber with salt and pepper.  A bit of fruity sweetness, but not sure which fruits.

Palate:  Meaty, but not bacon here.  Well, maybe a touch of cured pig.  Develops nicely.  Quite briny.  Deep threads of caramel and chocolate.  Lemon zest, but a bit more fruit hiding behind that dense wall of smoke too.  Tasty and VERY Islay.  Which, of course, makes me melt.

Thoughts:  A great Laphroaig that all were digging.  The fruits meet the peats in a great rumble.  In the end it’s the peats though.  Bold and lovely.


Coal Ila 22 Year Old A.D. Rattray 57.7% ABV Cask # 6264 Willow Park Exclusive                    Rank:  #1

Nose:  A touch of kerosene.  White fruits and aged mellow peat.  Some eucalyptus and a little pepper.  Smoke and rich chocolate.  Some nice baking spices too.  Somehow still mellow and showing very restrained peat.

Palate:  Love the way the sweet and tangy notes arrive and spread across the tongue.  Smooth and a little waxy.  Chocolatey and fruity.  Some orange-y notes.  Sweettarts candies.  Oak at just the right age.  Delicious and holding the perfect linger.  Typical Islay green apple ebb and fruit skins on the back end of this one.

Thoughts:  Best of the night.  And that is reflective of the votes from a room heavily weighted with self-professed non-peatophiles. *(most of the notes for this Caol Ila are from a previous session).


Odd how a club that boasts a disproportionate amount of declared non-peatheads still ranked the two peaty heavyweights at one and two, huh?  Hmmmm…an omen of things to come?

Another one in the books.  Lots of fun and I think many of the gang were all over the idea of getting to try eight different distilleries in an eve.  Next month’s gathering promises more of the same.  Details to follow in the coming days.

Thanks again to Jonathan.  Look forward to having him back through with another piece of his expansive empire in the near future.

Until next…Slainte!


– Words:  Curt

– Photos:  Curt

 Posted by at 8:04 am
Jul 302013

BenRiach 1983 Cask #298 (KWM Exclusive)166

44.2% abv

Score:  92/100


Oh, wow.  Here we go again.  Nice to see that some of the magic this distillery captured in the ’70s is spilling over into the ’80s.  As those older expressions become more and more scarce, seeing this transferrance of quality bodes well for future ‘well-aged’ malts to come from BenRiach.

This 1983, exclusive to Calgary’s Kensington Wine Market, is a prime example.  Closing in on 30 years old, this whisky is a fruit bomb in a bottle.  Quite frankly, I’m a little surprised to see such a bevy of tropical notes coming out of this decade.  This is a characteristic I’ve most closely associated with a past age culminating primarily in the 1970s.  Goes to show that good spirit in good wood = great whisky.

In a recent whisky club event, this one went head-to-head with eight other rather exceptional BenRiach single casks and, at the end, was one of the overwhelming favorites, beating out older whiskies and showing aruably the greatest cask influence.  Good cask selection from the fine folk at KWM.

In the photo above, this release is the fourth from the left.

Nose:  Orange is the primary fruit, followed by pineapple, but there’s a Carmen Miranda fruit hat worth of sweetness here.  Notes of Cinnzeo cinnamon buns.  Honeydew and cantaloupe.  The creamiest of high quality French vanilla ice cream drizzled with caramel.  Touch of cherry too, much like a topping for the afore-mentioned sundae.  A mate mentioned maple syrup in his tasting notes, and I can see it.  A beautifully mature and balanced nose.

Palate:  Fruit salad in syrup.  The melons again.  A touch of cinnamon here too with a bit of oak (kinda like those cinnamon toothpicks).  Dulce de leche.  Coconut and pineapple with a little pepper.  Delicate, but still assertive.  DO NOT ADD WATER.

Closing thoughts…

Let me be crude for a moment:  This is a fucking great price for this whisky.  Go see Andrew down at Kensington Wine Market for one of these before they’re gone.  I know that at this point there are only a couple dozen left out of a total 233 bottles.  $200 for this bottle is an absolute steal.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 9:14 am
Jul 252013

Kavalan Solist Fino

Cask #S060814012

57.9% abv

Score:  82/100


This is almost heartbreaking.  Kinda like a red wine stain on an expensive carpet, this is a case of so much beauty marred by a flaw that can’t be scrubbed out.  I keep peeking around corners here, trying to find an angle from which I can appreciate this one more than I do, but sipped in a line-up of five other malts from the Far East this one simply fell flat.

Under the microscope here is a Kavalan Solist release, this time from a Fino sherry cask.  Fino brings a unique influence to the maturing/finishing of malt whisky, being the driest of sherries.  I’m thinking it’s probably the primary contributor to that nutty/caramel-heavy front note here.  This particular expression is one that shows some incredible nuance and quality in terms of the pure spirit itself, but a nasty sulphuric note (again almost certainly leeched from the sherry cask) brings this one down from the stratosphere to barely clearing the treetops. 

King Car’s Kavalan distillery is Taiwan’s contribution to the whisky world.  The distillery, one I hold in fairly high regard, has been in operation for only a handful of years now, but, much like Kilchoman, 2005’s other distillery success story, is already hitting homeruns.  A semi-tropical climate, key to a naturally accelerated maturation, is a prime contributor to the distillery’s success rate, as is a rather pliable and exotic spirit profile. 

Back to the glass at hand though… while I really love some of the individual flavours and aromas herein (especially the tobacco and dark rye bread scents I’m getting), I’m struggling against the off note.  I can’t go so far as to say the whisky is spoiled, but it’s simply not working for me.  If you can get your head around sulphur (and many can), it’s all yours.

Nose:  Heavy caramel.  Almost equally heavy on a sulphur note, throwing this one right out of kilter.  Still some highs, but they have a huge uphill battle after that brimstone low.  Nougat (and here is where the fruity notes are buried).  Rye bread, nuts and pepper.  Oily leather and seasoned tobacco pouch.  After some time in the glass it does get a bit creamier and the sulphur fades off a bit.

Palate:  Struck match.  Caramel.  Some vanilla, and full circle to those tobacco notes.  A little bit of pear.  Unique flavour spectrum and not quite what I would expect from Asian malt meeting sherry. 

After half an hour or so – when the majority of the sulphuric influence has dissipated – this would score extra points, but I won’t go there.  I shouldn’t have to wait that long to make the drink more palatable.  All told though…still a quaffable dram, and likely a very winning malt for those of the populace who find themselves immune to the influence of sulphur.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 7:58 am
Jul 242013

156Pocket Shot Whiskey

40% abv

Score:  74/100


Kentucky Straight Bourbon in a bag.  Mmmmm.  Sounds apealing, right? 

A friend of mine picked this up for me several weeks back and I’m finally getting around to writing it up.  Her actual handover of this little plastic pouch was contingent upon my giving it a fair shake for review.  Alright.  So be it.  At the risk of asking a question I don’t really want the answer to…how bad can it be, right?

Let’s find out.

First though…a little back story:  The Pocket Shots concept was developed by a gent named Jarrold Bachmann in San Jose, California in 2000.  Apparently, according to the PS website, the idea came to him after seeing the workers at his farm in South Africa buying some sort of crudely packaged 25 ml packets of liquor to celebrate payday.  Hmmm…maybe a wage hike is in order so they can buy a proper bottle, huh?

Anyway…this four year old whiskey is not produced in California, nor is it made in South Africa for that matter.  The appellation of ‘Kentucky Straight Bourbon’ can only be levied if the product is produced and aged for a minimum of two years in…shock!…Kentucky.  For all my digging I was unable to find out just which distillery is providing the juice that Mr. Bachmann et al are packing up with the Pocket Shot label.  I s’pose it doesn’t really matter though, so long as the end result is tasty.

So, let’s step back a minute; suspend our snobbery, as it were.  When you can get your head around the fact that you’re essentially dumping a little plastic pouch ‘mini’ into a glass (or right down the throat maybe?)…there’s no two ways about it…the whiskey is actually not bad at all.  While a little too restrained and mellow (read: weak and watery) on the palate, the nose is actually good.  Consider this only my personal bias though, as I know much of the general populace who are none too particular about their bourbons will actually relish the ease of drinkability here.

One final weigh-in before I get to tasting notes:

How ’bout an extra point for a product that surprises with it’s unexpected quality, but two points off for debasing the institution of whisky being a classy spirit.  To be totally honest…I can’t get behind a product that seems geared to hiding in pockets on the way to the bar/club/concert/whatever.  The whole concept reeks of getting sneakily drunk on the cheap.   

Nose:  Rather pleasant spice profile.  Nippy bit oepper.  Cherry and almond.  Mint or eucalyptus.  Clean vanilla.  Cinnamon.  Hint of dill.  Very fresh.  Very nice oak notes.  Syrup and sweet corn.

Palate:  Mint with cinnamon and synthetic cherry notes.  A slight plastic-ness.  Some corn and oak.  Sweet and mild.  Too mild.  Needs an extra 5% abv or so.  Tannic and almost immediately drying.  Fades into red apple skins.  Better nose than palate, as mentioned above.

Fun ont to write up.  Thanks, Meg.  Yer a sweetheart.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 7:55 am
Jul 172013

Kavalan Solist Bourbon

Cask #B070604058

58.2% abv

Score:  86.5/100


No hiding anything here.  Just a nice clean straight forward whisky at a decent state of maturity, and served up at a belting cask strength.  Sounds just about right, no?

Here we have another of the Solist releases by Kavalan, served up this time from an ex-bourbon barrel.  This series has served up some very distinct and vibrant malts and this particular expression is simply a variation on a theme.  While more often than not I tend to gravitate towards the more robust notes found in some of the others in the range, I still find this cleaner and lighter approach refreshing from time to time.   

I concede a certain preconconception has wedged itself in the corner of my mind that the Kavalan profile is more closely associated with boldly flying the flag of deep tangy sherries and a rainbow of interesting spices.  That’s based solely on my own mental blocks however and in no way reflective of any distillery limitations.  The only problem is…that’s where the distillery truly excels.  Stripped down to this more bare-bones presentation the whisky is slightly tame, if still of high quality.

Anyway…here we have a whisky that certainly carries a spicy zing, but being bourbon cask-matured, lacks the deep redolent jammy fruits we find in some of the other Kavalans.  Instead we get a lovely toastiness here and a vanilla-led charge.  Very typical of bourbon maturation of course.

While by no means the quintessential expression from this Taiwanese rising star, this is definitely a dram worth some contemplation.  For those so inclined…expect to pay for the privilege.  The prices are a little…errr…’elevated’ in my estimation.  Such is, though.  There’s a price to be paid to drink well.

Nose:  Clean and floral.  Vanilla and oak are driving here.  Orange and cream…vanilla and cream…banana and cream.  Toasted marshmallow.  Some polish and sunlit meadow.  Maybe even a touch of apple and cinnamon.  Ribbon candy.  I keep coming back to orange creamsicle.

Palate:  Oak, apple and vanilla.  Orange.  Thick and oily.  Citrus pith (sour and drying).  Bitter dark chocolate (surprisingly).  Quite a long finish for something so ‘straight edge’.  Clean and pure, but…boring.

Add a point for purity and such a clean, crisp spirit…deduct a point for a rather milktoast performance from a distillery that can, and should, absolutely sparkle.  Comes out even.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 1:53 pm
Jul 162013

Kavalan Solist Sherry20121102_193444

Cask #S060710026

59.4% abv

Score:  92.5/100


Well, well…what have we here?  Yet another stunning bit of whisky magic from the far east.  Japan, India and Taiwan are putting on a hell of a show on the global stage of late.  These malts are getting more and more interesting (and more and more expensive).

First things first…I’m a little bit in love with Asian whiskies at the moment.  Need to share that bias right up front.  However, much like anything else, there are most definitely good and bad examples out there.  In recent days I have tasted some Kavalans that knocked my socks off (along with some Nikkas, Karuizawas and Amruts), but I’ve also sipped a couple that were either quite sharp or way, way, waaaaaaaay over-cooked.  All I’m saying is…you’re gonna see a high mark here, but it is based on a damn good dram, not simply skewed to my palate bias. 

If I understand correctly, Kavalan was begun almost as a vanity project.  This new kid on the block was founded in 2005, releasing their first whisky three years later, in 2008.  Now, in contrast to the machinations of Scottish distillers and the like, who release these young whiskies (under 10 years, I’d say) simply to generate early revenue (often irrespective of drinkability), the subtropical climes of some of these Asian distilleries allows for an incredibly accellerated maturation.  To put it simply…three years in these conditions is probably equivalent to four or five times that length of maturation in the more…errr…temperamental Scottish regions.  At these relatively ‘toddler-esque’ ages some of these whiskies are already immaculate.

There are, of course, many factors that contribute to the end product we consume, and I won’t pretend to know enough about this Taiwanese distillery’s water source, wood policy, maltings or what-have-you to allow me to speak with any real assurance, but I can say that whatever they’re doing at Kavalan is most definitely embraced with open arms here.

This particular Solist bottling is a singular dram.  A heavily sherried and flavour-bursting fireworks show.  I’ve tasted nothing like this one elsewhere.  Complex, deep, swirling and mysterious.  Love it.

Nose:  Heavy, heavy monolithic sherry.  Black cherry and raspberry jam.  Orange and some salty playdough notes.  Very syrupy smelling.  Raw tobacco with a hefty dose of spice.  Some tropical fruits here.  Caramelized ham skin.  Rum-soaked fruit cake.  Fresh eucalyptus and salt licorice.  Wow…is this ever a deep and swirling vortex.  An absolutely brilliant nose.

Palate:  Thick and syrupy.  Sweet and deep.  Very unique.  Raspberry jam in front, but some tropical in behind.  All sorts of magnified and amplified sherry flavors.  Slightly medicinal in some ways.  Kinda like an Aberlour a’bunadh meets an exotic and mysterious spice profile meets cough syrup.  I’ll be fucked, but it works.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 8:12 am
Jul 142013

SMWS 50.43 “Tart And Tasty”005

57.8% abv

Score:  91.5/100


Another l’il ‘distiller-that-could’ story for ya.  Bladnoch was at one time a Diageo holding.  In 1993, during the same downturn that saw the loss of Rosebank, Balmenach and Pittyvaich, the distillery was boarded up and had a handful of mothballs rolled into the stillroom.  Most equipment was peeled out and for all intents and purposes this seemed the end of the line.

Surprisingly, about a year later the distillery was snatched from the hands of oblivion by an Irish gent named Raymond Armstrong.  The arrangement between Diageo to Armstrong was a conditional one however.  The terms included the proviso that the distillery was no longer to be used for the production of whisky.  Fast forward a few years and much local petitioning to 2000, when the spirit began to flow at Bladnoch once more.  Three years (and a day) later, Armstrong was able to claim an end to the gestation period and release his first whisky composed of entirely post-distillery-reopening-stock.

The market currently sees a mix (albeit sparse)of young ‘Armstrong Bladnoch’ and older ‘Diageo Bladnoch’.  The interesting thing is that, unlike in most distillery handovers, the Bladnoch transition included no stores of slumbering barrels, effectively leaving the team with a blank slate and no old stocks to support revenue generation.  What this means is that new and young Bladnoch releases are courtesy of Armstrong, anything beyond those years (13 and older, I’d say), was produced under a different lord and outside the influence of the current management.

As hinted at above, this is just a wee operation.  Capacity of about a quarter million litres, and to be honest with you…I don’t even believe they are flowing that.  (Please correct me if I am wrong, as I know there are a couple of Bladnoch fans who visit here).

Anyway…we’re rooting for Bladnoch and hoping to see a bit more hit the shops ’round these parts, as we scarce find bottles on Canadian shores.

Hopefully this changes soon.

In the meantime…a lovely independent offering from the SMWS here to discuss.  A neat older one (aged 20 years) from the days before Raymond took over…

Nose:  Paint.  A healthy ghost of pipe tobacco and smokiness.  Herbal and grassy.  Peach, orange and lemon pith.  Pie crust.  Soft white fruits.  Cream Of Wheat porridge with sugar.  Sugar cookie dough…or maybe shortbread cookie dough.

Palate:  Pie…not sure what kind, but sorta tart and fruity.  Spice.  Syrupy with some apple.  Just a smidgeon of orange ju-jube.  Oak and grass as it narrows and fades.  Gorgeous palate, even better than the nose.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 8:11 am
Jul 082013

Whisky Advent Calendar

Greetings, ATW Faithful!  Just wanted to share a word from a mate of ours down at Kensington Wine Market, Andrew Ferguson:

NOW TAKING PRE-ORDERS FOR OCTOBER 2013 ARRIVAL!!!  Could this be this fall’s hottest whisky gift idea?  Within 30 minutes of announcing it on Twitter we had a dozen orders!  Behind each of the 24 doors is a different 30ml sample of delicious whisky!  The exact contents are a surprise, but we can tell you that behind one of the doors is a sample of 50 year old Scotch whisky, the full-sized bottle of which is worth $600!  The Whisky Advent Calendar is exclusive to KWM in Canada!



Price: $299.99 + GST

24x30ml Scotch Whiskies

Description: Behind each of the 24 doors is a different 30ml sample of delicious whisky! We’ll keep the contents a surprise, but we can tell you that behind one of the doors is a sample of 50 year old Scotch whisky, the full-sized bottle of which is worth $600! Full description on the blog, see below!

To order … here!

Blog … here!

 Posted by at 6:35 pm
Jul 072013

“Independents Day”:  Duncan Taylor & A.D. Rattray w/ Jonathan Logo (2)

July 9th, 2013


Only two sleeps ’til the next Calgary whisky club meeting.

Club members have been privy to some email about this one, but for the benefit of the great unwashed, let’s share a few more details…

We had initially set up our planned July 9th event with a rather clandestine air about it.  We’d put together a unique line-up, quite off the map if you will, and wanted to ensure there were no preconceptions or opportunities at prejudice.  But…in order to facilitate an opportunity to have the global ambassador for this ‘secret’ distillery come through and speak to his own products…we elected to push that agenda back a few months.  Obviously this last minute swap means panic to come up with something new, right?  Nope.  Rest assured we’re set up for several tastings, and could have picked one of any few we have lined up.

Ultimately though, we didn’t even have to go that far.  Some new machinations came to light, and one of our mates came to the rescue one night as we sat around discussing the club over drams and cigars at my place.  Between he and the committee we came up with a plan B that is anything but B quality.

Our good friend Jonathan Bray of Purple Valley Imports (named Whisky Magazine’s Importer Of The Year – Issue 107 Feb), will be spending the evening with us talking about two of the big guns in the independent bottling world, Duncan Taylor and A.D. Rattray.  Jonathan is fortunate enough to have both in his portfolio, and if you’ve never seen the man speak you’re in for a treat.  Everything’s better with an Australian accent.  Breaking out the kilt for this one, Jonathan?

For those who’ve yet to try either of these lines, the “Independents Day” tasting is a perfect opportunity.  We’ll be sampling 8 whiskies, all from different distilleries.  A couple of these distilleries are very rarely bottled as single malt whisky, with well over 99% over the distillery’s output hitting the shelves buried in blends.  To further up the ante, 5 of the 8 to be tasted are well over 20 years old.  These are cask strength drams, my friends.  Please plan your travel accordingly.

We’ll have a couple other neat little tidbits to share with members too.  More when we meet.

If you’re out there and curious, guests are welcome to come sit in as a one-time drop in to see if it’s their cup of whisky before committing to membership.  I’d advise getting in touch ASAP however, as we’re quickly filling up for this one.  Drop a line to draminitiative@gmail.com

See you in a couple of days.


– Curt


 Posted by at 9:17 am