First Formal Club Meeting – Tullibardine
Well, well, well. First club meeting done and dusted.
I had hoped it would go over well, but was blown away by just how smoothly everything ran. Great turnout too. Just shy of 20, I think. Considering three members couldn’t make it due to other commitments and one or two others who were planning to attend as guests had last minute…errr…issues (looking at you here, Lorenzo), I can’t help but be pleased with the attendance for a first night.
Either way…there is a guarantee the next will be even bigger, as a couple of those afore-mentioned guests were suitably impressed to the point of committing to membership, and a couple others should have their scheduling concerns alleviated by that point.
We were in the lower hall of the South Calgary Community Center (formerly Marda Loop). The committee and a couple other keen members showed up early and immediately jumped to the task of set up (tables, chairs and tablecloths; distributing glassware, bottles of water and food trays; pouring drinks; spreading tasting sheets, etc). Sincerely thankful for the help we had.
Yours truly was host/MC/rambling idjit up front of the group for this event. Our friend and local Tullibardine agent, Andy Dunn of Gold Medal Marketing fame, was otherwise committed this eve, so I stepped in to fill his shoes. Of course, we also had to lay the groundwork for the club, so I would have had to speak to some length even if Andy had been free. Many an email had circulated prior to actually converging in this room, but it’s still always best to verbalize things, and allow the opportunity for questions and clarifications.
We discussed the club set-up, direction, goals, etc. I also decided to drop a few tantalizing hints about future endeavours and planned events. All the while, we began working our way through a lovely selection of drams from the Highlands. I’ll come back to these in a moment.
One of the gents on the Dram Initiative committee who has been instrumental in recruiting members, had mentioned to me ahead of time that a couple of the gang were new to the whole whisky thing, and would be approaching this as an opportunity to learn. He asked if I could take some time to explain a bit about our beloved dram. Of course. So…after a brief run-through of the club structure, I walked the gang through a bit whisky history, definition and conjecture. It was an opportunity to share some tips…offer a few caveats…and again drop a few hints as to some of the drinks the Collective can expect to try as we take this club forward.
So…is this a whisky club or not? Let’s get to the nitty gritty. The evening’s fun was planned around a) a nice progressive range of mature Tullibardine expressions, and b) a ‘battle of the casks’. Four different expressions of Tulli exclusive to various stores around the city of Calgary (Willow Park, Kensington Wine Market, Co-op Wines And Spirits and Wine And Beond/Liquor Depot) were the combatants in this ‘just for fun and bragging rights’ bit of tomfoolery.
At the end of the first four drams (those involved in the battle), the gang was asked to rank them in order of favorites. I won’t reveal the results here, as Maltmonster will be doing exactly that in the companion piece to this little write-up, but all were suitably impressive in their own rights. From there we tackled a lovely 1973 from a bourbon Hoggy…moving on into another Kensington exclusive, PX-matured 1993…and finally closing with a stunning 1966 sherry bomb World Cup vintage release from 2006.
This last was a true winner in all eyes, as far as I could tell. Why would it not be? Likely a second or third fill sherry butt 40 years old…what’s not to love?
The rest, as they say, is history. But history that is exclusive to club members. Gotta keep a few secrets to make it interesting, right?
The feedback following the event, both immediate and the day after, was overwhelmingly positive. From kudos for the management of logistics, to the presentation itself, to execution of the overall event…members and guests were very liberal with their compliments and comments. On behalf of the committee, I say ‘thank you’. It’s nice to see the fruits of labour being enjoyed. The efforts of several people made this happen, and it is appreciated by all of us.
Next up for the Dram Initiative? BenRiach. Our friend and resident wit, J Wheelock, will be coming to walk us through a selection of ‘Riachs from the ’70s through the ’90s. Some beautiful whiskies to be sure, and maybe a surprise or two along the way. More to come. 😉
Next club meet…Tuesday, May 28th. Hope to see you there.
To those debating membership…spaces are filling up fast. I wouldn’t wait too long if’n I was you.
– Words: Curt
– Photos: Curt & Scott