We Are Hiring

Join the KWM team!

Ahoy, Matey! The small but fierce crew at Kensington Wine Market is looking for another eccentric talented individual to join our team. Want to hop aboard our pirate ship? Here is what we are looking for:

  • Ideally, we would love it if you have some experience in customer service in liquor stores, restaurant and/or hospitality industry.
  • Love and Knowledge of Wine, Beer, Whisky and/or Spirits is a big plus.
  • Social Media use and marketing experience using Twitter/Facebook/Instagram would also be handy. It is not necessarily needed, but if you have prior experience we would love to know!
  • Full time with flexible availability for various shifts including evenings and weekends.

As you would be handling alcohol an up to date Proserve certification is a must.
Kensington Wine Market is made up of a positive group of hard-working people striving to keep our ship sailing in the same direction. Because we are a shop with a small amount of employees, we end up wearing many hats. Exhibit A: This very job posting. What is with this bizarre and fantastical text? Why would one of our whisky staff insist on using this valuable ad space to write about this liquor-purveying establishment as if it were a marauding nautical vessel from a bygone era?

But enough about them.

ARE YOU:

  • A motivated individual with an interest in food and beverages?
  • Able to (casually and/or power) lift cases of wine whilst maintaining a positive attitude?
  • Constantly telling friends about that new favourite bottle you just found that nobody knows about yet?

DO YOU:

  • Have a curious obsession with cleaning, dusting and organization?
  • Enjoy tasting delicious treats and having intense discussions on what would pair well with them?
  • Have a misguided belief that nearly anything can be related back to pirate ships?

Then we would love to hear from you!

You can email your resume to dave@kensingtonwinemarket.com but if you really want to convince us, coming into Kensington Wine Market is your best bet!

Posted in Community, New arrivals, Store | Comments Off

Scotch Malt Whisky Society September 2018 Outturn

It is September, which means it is back to school time for those with kids in the correct age bracket. Summer is showing signs of being on the way out here in Calgary, with leaves on trees starting to turn from green to yellow and orange.

It also means we go back to having seven new bottles to sample from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society: Canada chapter. Here are some things to look forward to with this month’s Outturn:

  • 4 bottles are north of 60% ABV
  • 2 of those bottles are north of 64% ABV
  • possibly to make up for this, the oldest bottle in the lineup is less than 50% ABV
  • This is only the second time we have seen a bottle in Canada of SMWS distillery #107 – the first being a Speyside Festival bottling released back in June of this year.
  • 3 bottles are less than 10 years old

Don’t let the age on the bottle guide you. The two 8 year olds in the lineup are both superb and show maturity well beyond their years in my opinion. That might be the reason they are selling so fast…

It is a solid lineup in my opinion, but then again it usually is! Don’t take my word it though – come in and taste a few to see for yourself!

All of this information, plus the information on previous releases that are still available can be found on our website here. If any SMWS bottles show as being out of stock on our website please contact us – we might still be able to get more. As always we would like to give a big thank-you to our awesome neighbour’s Peasant Cheese for supplying the small bites for the tastings.

Cheers,
Evan
evan@kensingtonwinemarket.com
Twitter and Instagram: @sagelikefool
Instagram: one part of @kwmwhisky

73.98 – LAYERS OF HARMONY
This 17 year old Speysider comes in at 54.1%, and after 16 years in ex-bourbon wood it was transferred to a 1st fill Oloroso hogshead for the remainder of its maturation.
Flavour profile: Sweet, fruity & mellow
Outturn: 186 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “A kiss of sherry evokes the Andalusian sun – the nose has crème brûlée, apricot Danish, fig rolls, mandarins in syrup, ripe melon and ice wine. The deep, rich taste has muscovado, dark honey and lebkuchen (apricot jam, dark chocolate, cinnamon, ginger and clove) –flooding the mouth with pleasure. It absolutely does not need water, but in the interests of research we sniffed hazelnuts, marmalade, toffee apples and dried marigolds. The palate now had honey oat crunch, blueberry muffin and clove rock – layers of harmony and a long-lasting echo. 16 years in ex-bourbon wood, then transferred into a 1st fill Oloroso hogshead.” $185

35.199 – SPICY, CHERRY CHOCOLATE BROWNIE
This 8 year old Speysider was matured in a 1st fill barrel and comes in at 59.5%
Flavour profile: Sweet & spicy
Outturn: 214 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “An array of sweet citric aromas greeted the Panel, described as a hot cup of ginger root tea with lemon and mint, a warm, moist and crunchy lemon drizzle dessert tray and a cinnamon pineapple upside-down cake. Plenty of spicy sweetness on the palate neat like eating spicy cherry chocolate brownies made with plenty of cinnamon and a touch of cayenne pepper as well as grilled pineapple with rum and lime-ginger syrup. Diluted, the impression was of a carpenter’s workshop with plenty of waxed wood notes whilst a lot more mellow to taste; buttermilk bran rusks dipped into a coconut milk hot chocolate.” $122

7.184 – HANDBAGS AND HOOKAHS
This 12 year old Speysider comes in at 61% after maturing in a 1st fill barrel
Flavour profile: Spicy & dry
Outturn: 187 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “The nose caught one of us sniffing a lady’s handbag (leather, cigarette packet, perfume, Polo mints) while another was in a Hookah Bar sucking fruity tobacco through a shisha pipe. The palate had the flavours of tropical fruit salad (mango, pineapple, papaya, apricot) and hints of Southern Comfort, new leather and woody spice. The reduced nose had perfumed tobacco, honeysuckle and minty notes, but was mainly sweet and fruity – corn candies, cherry-flavoured sweets and upside-down pineapple cake. The reduced palate was tart and dry (more fruit skins than fruit) with peppery arugula leaves, aniseed, tobacco and clove notes warming the finish.” $150

G4.16 – MELLIFLUOUS CONTENTMENT
This 35 year old single grain whisky from the Lowlands spent 32 years in ex-bourbon wood before being transferred to a Sauternes barrique for the remainder of its maturation, and comes in at 49.8%
Flavour profile: Juicy, oak & vanilla
Outturn: 216 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “The nose evokes the sweet end of the whisky spectrum (corn candies, dripping honey, ‘rocky road’) but time brings complexity – charred oak, lemon herbals and ox-eye daisies. The taste offers lip-smacking sweetness (banana toffee, butterscotch, pineapple), restrained spice and dry oak. On the nose, water intensifies that contented feeling – a picnic of desserts in a summer rose garden. The palate is now mellow, mellifluous and easy-drinking – rose Turkish Delight and mango, with light, bittersweet memories of oak on the finish; it may be old, but it’s in its prime. Transferred from ex-bourbon wood to a Sauternes barrique after 32 years.” $294

107.10 – A FORTRESS OF DARKNESS
This 8 year old Speysider from a refill Oloroso butt comes in at 65.4%
Flavour profile: Deep, rich & dried fruits
Outturn: 612 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “With an angry noise the portcullis was heaved open and we entered into the dark and formidable fortress. An overpowering aroma wafted from the kitchen of roasting boar and venison broth with spicy notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. We entered the main hall with its chandeliers dripping with candle wax and heavy oak furniture constructed from gigantic slices of tree. Pheasants hung from the beams and on the table sat a singed ginger cake, a dense brick of fruitcake and a flagon of treacly Pedro Ximenez sherry. We sat by the open fire and helped ourselves to nuts and bitter chocolate that was so dark it seemed to absorb what little light there was in the room.” $151

4.233 – ASIAN-STYLE BARBECUE
This 11 year old from the Highland Islands, comes in at 64.2% after maturing in a refill hogshead
Flavour profile: Lightly peated
Outturn: 300 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “This seemed to be a dram for all sorts of situations: someone opened a first aid kit on a tractor, another installed a new inner tube in a bicycle tire whilst yet another dug deep into a peat bog searching for buried bog-wood to make an artistic sculpture. Thankfully we all agreed on the palate; chewy, crispy yummy like Chinese style barbecued pork known as Char Siu, braised with a mixture of oyster sauce, soy sauce, red onions, garlic and red fermented tofu. Water added the smoky/fishy aroma of char-grilled Thai-spiced tuna which was also apparent on the taste with the addition of Jasmine flavoured rice.” $166

10.129 – A ROUND TRIP JOURNEY
This 9 year old from Islay comes in at 60.1% after maturing in a refill barrel
Flavour profile: Peated
Outturn: 199 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “We were greeted by a sweet smoky aroma that reminded us of an antique wooden cigar box or a well-used leather pipe and tobacco pouch which was followed by cumin, chili and sumac spiced sweet chunky potato wedges. The taste neat was intense, salty, sweet and smoky like grilled Espetos sardines ‘Malaga style’, skewered on a wooden stick sprinkled with rock salt standing vertically in the – now comes the Islay version – peat fuelled barbecue. Water not only toned it down but on the palate transformed it almost back to the sweet smoke of the beginning; vanilla custard with peat smoked roasted blueberries.” $150

Posted in Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Store, Tastings | Comments Off

BBQ and Wine Pairing: Wonderful Wine With Holy Smoke!

by Dave

I always love BBQ but it’s better when we get to taste it with some amazing wines! In my last tasting, I paired up some of my favourite picks for summer BBQ. We were lucky enough to have Holy Smoke cater the event as well. It turned out to be a fantastic tasting because there were fewer people than normal so we were actually able to just sit down at the table and have a big family-style meal and talk about some wicked wines.

We were also in the middle of a major heat wave so that did affect which wines I picked as well. I generally love having a bigger, full body wine with either some spice or zip on it, but because of the heat, I wanted to include some wines that were also juicy, delicious and refreshing. Just imagine being on a deck or overlooking a lake with some Q being grilled. The wonderful smell of smoke blended with a soft breeze and the sound of birds, good friends and sharing some amazing wine is probably one of the nicest things to experience.

If you’re ever in need of some awesome BBQ wines I think these are some great choices. Even if you don’t want to have a BBQ, you can still feel confident just enjoying these wines.

Il Follo Spumante Rosato
I love getting a (party) tasting started with sparkling wine. It is refreshing, crispy, delicious and just helps to make it feel like a celebration. That being said I don’t think you really need to wait for a celebration or get together to enjoy sparkling wine, honestly anytime is a great time for bubbles.

Il Follo is a small family winery from Northern Italy and we are lucky enough to have 2 of their sparkling wines as some of our exclusives. This rose is a vibrant pale salmon colour with beautiful bubbles and lots of fresh red fruit aromas, like strawberry, cherry and hint of raspberry. With a refreshing acidity on the pallet, this wine is dry and very drinkable. I also must say that I do love the bottle. I think everything about this wine is sexy. $25.99

Vajra JC Clare Nebbiolo
I have a really hard time with this wine because I don’t know how to properly express my love for it. This is a Nebbiolo,unlike any other Nebbiolo that you might have had. If you haven’t had Nebbiolo before, a little background on it. Nebbiolo is a grape that you generally find from Northern Italy. Barolo is made with Nebbiolo grape. It tends to be very high in tannins and acid and is usually helped by bottle ageing. The neat thing about Nebbiolo is that it is a think skinned grape so when you have one it can look a lot like a pale Pinot Noir, but then when you try it you realize it is anything but. This Nebbiolo, however, is done based on a recipe that the producers at Vajra found from 1606. It is vibrant, delightful, juicy, fruity, and even has a touch of effervescence. This Nebbiolo is definitely a wine worth trying at least once and then if you will feel delighted to be able to try it again.

This was one of the wines that I think goes great with BBQ but is also amazing for a hot summers day! You should definitely try it while it’s around because we aren’t too sure how long it is going to last as we only have a select amount of cases and we seem to be burning through. Did I also mention that this is a semi-exclusive wine with only a couple of places where it is available? $35.99

Ampeileia Unlitro
So I normally don’t drink that much Italian wine and I didn’t really mean to make this tasting into an Italian focused tasting but it seems that there are so many amazing wines in the store right now from Italy that I just couldn’t resist.

This gem is a production which has been helped along with Elizabetta Foradori. If you are not familiar with who she is then I definitely recommend researching her a bit because I would say that she is an Icon and symbol for amazing wines out of Italy and a massive proponent for “natural” wines. She has been focusing on making low intervention wine for a very long time and doing everything organic or biodynamic. Elizabetta’s winery is in Northern Italy in the Trentino area but this is wine is from Tuscany and actually has different owners.

This wine is a blend of Alicante, Alicante Bouchet and_____________. The beauty about this wine is not only is it amazing and delicious but it comes in a 1-litre bottle! This can be perfect for those times when you don’t exactly want a full bottle but you also don’t want to crack open another one at the end of the first one.

This delightful and beautiful wine is fresh, with a balanced acidity, lots of nice red fruit flavours, and a beauty to enjoy at almost any moment. 9 in the morning might be pushing it but I guess it depends what your pairing it with breakfast. Either way, this is one to try and this would definitely fall under natural wine category without being a funky natural wine, just totally delicious! $39.99

Chateau Francs Magnus
This is one of the beautiful wines that we have been lucky enough to get into the store recently. It is a 2015 Bordeaux blend and we are definitely excited about the 2015′s from Bordeaux. One of the finer vintages in quite a while this makes it all the nicer to be able to get some amazing wines and especially wines that pair with BBQ. $23.99

Serredenari Barolo
So this is where we get into the wonderful world of Nebbiolo again but this time it is more along the style that people have grown to love and cherish. This wine is definitely on the fuller side with some lovely tannins and a beautiful racy acidity. This Barolo is from the highest winery in Barolo giving the grapes a chance to ripen longer on the vine and really develop as much flavour as they can.
One of the unfortunate parts about Barolo is the price tag. They tend to be higher priced but with good reason. They spend more time in barrel and then also spend more time in bottle before they are even released for sale. All of this along with vineyard management have a lot of influence on the price. This wine, fortunately, is on the lower-end for what you would normally pay for a Barolo wine and it is also a champ in the glass!

There is lots of crisp cherry in this wine, along with nice grippy tannins and acidity that go fantastic with meat. Steak would be a winner with this wine but the pulled pork that we had paired beautifully as well. This other awesome thing about Barolo’s is that they really develop in the glass, from your first to your last you can have a different experience with every sip as it slowly opens and mends into wonderful deliciousness. If you’re ever looking for a wine to age as well, Barolo should be on the top of your list. With age, it will develop into leather, earthy, dusty dried fruit flavours that will surprise and delight. If you ever have the chance to pick up an older vintage or age one yourself definitely give it a go. $54.99

Finca 8 Malbec
I have a secret to share. I love Malbec. I don’t really care what anyone else thinks or what others will tell you but I think Malbecs are phenomenal and can be amazing wines. I fell in love with Malbec when I lived in South America because honestly, that was pretty much all the wine that there was to drink. My love affair was only increased when I went to Argentina and became spellbound of such beauty and wonder that was Mendoza and the delights that Malbec can provide.

If you’re ever in need of a great steak wine or BBQ wine I would also say don’t hesitate to look any further than a delicious Malbec, with their full plum and dark fruit flavours, cocoa, coffee, full body, tannins, and deliciousness. What is there to not love about Malbec?

The Finca 8 was definitely a fantastic wine at the dinner as well. It is still fuller bodied but it has such a well-integrated acidity in it that it balances beautifully. We have quite a few different Malbecs but the Finca 8 is always one of my favourites. From it’s dark and mysterious label to the dark and mysterious wine that you receive in your glass. It’s powerful and beautiful all at once. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do. $41.99

Carlisle Piner-Ouvet Zinfandel
Last but definitely not least this is one of our favourite exclusive wines in the shop. We have been lucky enough to have them as an exclusive for quite a while. In the beginning, Carlisle wasn’t even a winery but rather a guy making some killer wines in a garage. He eventually grew to have such a large following that he wasn’t even able to keep up with demand. Since then he has kept expanding and still making amazing wines and still having a hard time keeping up with demand. He tries to focus on old vine wine and throughout his vineyards, he actually has a lot of other random grape vines that are from all different sorts of grapes, but he finds a way to make them work and add them to his wines.

This Piner-Ouvet Zinfandel is actually a blend from 3 different vineyards. They usually just make the single vineyard wines from these 3 but they had a little extra and had always wanted to make a blended wine so this was their opportunity.

How do I explain what you can exactly expect from Carlisle Zinfandel? Well to begin with they are big. I mean like wholly crap, what did I just take a sip of? Even if it is just a sip it will feel like a massive mouthful! They are big, fruity, zesty, spicy, punchy and honestly a hell of a lot of fun. If you want to taste big wine, this is where you should look. Wonderfully opulent but incredibly delightful. Don’t be afraid of this wines, just make sure you are prepared and ready to take your palate on a roller coaster ride. $55.99

As always, I had a fantastic time at the tasting! Great food, great company and beautiful wines. Thank you again to Holy Smoke! If you weren’t there to share in this tasting don’t worry we are always planning for more fun times and tasting events. Can’t wait to share with you at the next one and until then, keep tasting!

Salud!
Dave

Posted in Store, Tastings, Wine | Comments Off

Gin’s In

by Comrade Hunter

The gin tastings continue with another foray into the ever-expanding world of gin. As always I have attempted to curate a list of at least semi-new gins, the theme of which was new age interpretations of the spirit. To illustrate, here is what we tasted for our Gin’s In class.

Victoria Distillers Empress Gin
Tinted with the iconic butterfly pea blossom, this indigo coloured gin is a delicate starting point for any gin tasting night. Extremely clean on the nose, elegant to the point of shyness, the Empress offers an easy going nature for any gin drinker. Expect slight floral tones, little whiffs of juniper, a touch of heady perfume; everything in this bottle is crafted from a subtle hand. One of the crowd favourites for the night. Given this gin’s easy going nature, being a favourite is no surprise. $55

Thompson Brother’s Dornoch Gin
Spirit from the highlands of Scotland, Dornoch distillers is offering a very interesting interpretation of gin. Nosing this spirit evokes notes of smoking agaves, burnt dirt and vegetative matter amidst the variety of botanicals that qualify it as gin. I believe this is the kind of gin that ought to be consumed straight, perhaps with only a splash of tonic or a cube of ice. The character of this spirit is brash and seems to work disjunctively with the standard sorts of mix. $66

Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Gin
Infused with Riesling wine from the Saar, this opulent take on gin has a load of interesting notes to offer. Alongside the riesling infusion, Ferdinand’s also uses locally harvested quince adding a pear quality to the spirit. Much like the Dornoch gin, I recommend that this gin be consumed straight, ever so slightly chilled as the finely tuned botanicals may become muddied among various mixes. $68

Ungava Gin
Made in the Canadian north, one will first notice the startling yellow colour of this spirit. Even if you have tried the Ungava in the past, expect a new and unique iteration of this spirit. More opulent and oily than past releases, this full-bodied gin has a lot of grapefruit and muddled citrus tones to offer. $40

No Ordinary Gin, or, NOG!
NOG! – or No Ordinary Gin is a whisky infused premium small batch gin bottled by Asta Morris – an independent bottler of Scotch Whisky headquartered in Belgium. Testing the boundaries of what qualifies as gin, the NOG! is a long departure from traditional London dry. Expect orange powdered candy, near vitamin C chew-able in its sweet, sharp tang, slight tones of chalky minerality, alongside butterscotch and vanilla tones likely originating from the barrel ageing this spirit has been subjected to. Widely acclaimed by the tasters as a winter evening spirit or digestif to be, once more, consumed by itself. $110

Eau Claire Barrel Aged Gin
Another barrel aged rendition, this time with a barley backbone to boot putting this spirit in closer proximity to whisky than most gins, albeit with a botanical infusion. Similar in style to the NOG! with toffee and spicy caramel tones, the juniper rests in the background in a supporting role. Pressed flowers attempt a front on the nose but are ultimately pushed back by the barrel’s domineering character. I would label this bottle a happy medium between gin and whisky, enjoyable for those middle grounders trying to branch the gap between either side of one’s genre of interest. $58

Hven Navy Strength Gin
The de facto crowd favourite of the night clocking in at 14 out of 22 votes for the top evening pick. It might be further noted that this bottle is 57% alcohol thus offering a much more robust gin experience. All this said, this bottling arguably exhibits the hand of a master, everything woven into such a complex quilt of experiences. Not only was this the crowd favourite, but also the staff favourite of the night. Considering the alcohol percentage of this bottling I would say that is quite impressive given the exclusionary effect high proof spirits can have on imbibers. $87

Posted in Gin, Store, Tastings | Comments Off

Best of Bourbon

by Evan

We are cursed to live in interesting times.

The Canada/US border has not physically moved in my lifetime, but I cannot recall another era when we as a nation seemed further apart from our neighbours to the south.

The general climate of North/South relations has been much more frigid than usual, what with tariffs and economic intimidation being volleyed back and forth. The very concept of Free Trade possibly being rent asunder before our eyes by a tweet-happy orange man who would seemingly rather see us drink vodka instead of whiskey – especially if it has his brand on it.

But still, we march on.

Tariffs or no, Bourbon is hot these days with more and more people falling to its beguiling ways. I myself am one of the fallen. The good news is that means we have a reason to do more regular American Whiskey tastings here at Kensington Wine Market.

There are many excellent options for Bourbon and American Whiskey available here in Alberta with more variety arriving on a regular basis. Hopefully, this is something that won’t be affected by the current political climate. I would love nothing more than being able to hold a Bourbon tasting every few months while never having to repeat a bottle in the lineup.

This time around our focus was mostly on sourced whiskey bottlings, with two main exceptions coming from tried and true Kentucky Distilleries.

Before we into that, and so we are all on the same page: here is a quick rundown on what makes Bourbon… Bourbon:

  • Bourbon has to be made in the United States. It can not be produced in other countries.
  • Bourbon can be and is made in other states besides Kentucky. Kentucky just happens to be the largest producer of Bourbon by a vast margin.
  • Bourbon must be made from at least 51% Corn.
  • It must be initially aged in charred Virgin Oak containers. There is no minimum age requirement for Bourbon.
  • Straight Bourbon must be at least four years old unless specified on the label.
  • Straight Bourbon cannot contain any added flavouring or colouring.
  • Distilled to a maximum of 80% ABV.
  • Put in Barrel at a maximum of 62.5% ABV.
  • Bottled at a minimum of 40% ABV.

Now, let us jump into the lineup we tasted our way through:

The Burning Chair
The Burning Chair is a new KWM exclusive Bourbon from Savage and Cooke. This 4-year-old Bourbon is Dave Phinney’s highly anticipated first release. It is intense and expressive. This Bourbon is blended from hand-selected, new charred American oak matured whiskies, finished in wine barrels from Dave’s Napa Valley Cabernet projects. Mash Bill: 75% Corn, 21% Rye, 4% Malted Barley. $115

American Rockies
New for 2018 from the producers of Canadian Rockies. American Rockies is a Small Batch Bourbon. We believe the Bourbon is sourced from a Wyoming Whiskey distillery that we happen to be quite fond of. It is bottled at 44%. $86

Russell’s Reserve 10 Year
Russell’s Reserve gets its name from the father/son Master Distiller duo of Jimmy and Eddie Russell, both of which help run Wild Turkey Distillery near Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. At 10 years old, the bourbon is bottled at 45% ABV.

Wild Turkey was named such by an executive from Austin Nichols, who poured some barrel proof bourbon for friends on a wild turkey hunt. The whiskey was a hit and the next year he was asked to bring more of that Wild Turkey bourbon for the annual hunt.

Master Distiller Jimmy Russell and Associate Master Distiller Eddie Russell are the only father-son duo in the Bourbon Hall of Fame. $51

Bulleit 10 Year
The Bulleit 10 year is bottled at 45.6% ABV.

From 1997 until 2012, much of the Bourbon in Bulleit was originally distilled at Four Roses, which makes it likely that this still contains a good amount of Four Roses juice. The Mashbill for Bulleit is 68% Corn, 28% Rye and 4% Malted Barley.

The Bulleit Distillery officially opened on March 14th, 2017 near Shelbyville, Kentucky. $55

Woodford Reserve Double Oaked
From Woodford Distillery which is located near Versailles, Kentucky.

Double Oaked was introduced to the world in February of 2012. The Double Oaked is given a secondary maturation in deeply toasted/lightly charred Virgin Oak barrels for less than a year. Bottled at 45.2% ABV Mashbill: 72% Corn, 18% Rye, 10% Malted Barley. $75

Bull Run Barrel Strength
56.85% ABV / $116
This high proof, cask strength Bourbon was selected and bottled by Bull Run Distillery of Portland Oregon. The whiskey is sourced from Indiana and the mashbill is 65% Corn, 25% Rye and 10% Malted Barley. Aged for a minimum of 4-6 years. Bottled in small batches, the ABV of each batch may vary.

Jefferson’s Wood Experiment Collection
According to Castle Brands – owners of Jefferson’s – it was named after “Thomas Jefferson—known for his curiosity and experimental spirit.” Jefferson’s has typically sourced whisky from various Kentucky and Indiana distilleries since Jefferson’s Bourbon was first launched in 1997. Since 2015, Castle Brands has been a partial owner of Kentucky Artisan Distillery. The distillery currently supplies a portion of the whisky released in the Jefferson lineup.

Composed of five different 200mL sample bottles, the Jefferson Wood Experiment Collection gives you the chance to see how different ageing techniques have an effect on the whiskey. This Straight Bourbon was distilled in Indiana.
With all of the Bourbon bottled at 46% ABV, the collection contains:

  • New 60 Gallon American Oak barrel with a low, deep impact toast profile.
  • New, standard whiskey barrel with medium char infused with heavily charred American Oak cubes.
  • New standard whiskey barrel with a light-medium char infused with lightly toasted American Oak staves.
  • Custom 60 Gallon French & American hybrid oak barrel with a low, deep impact toast profile.
  • Original bourbon barrel with oak inserts that have been toasted over a long period of time to infuse the bourbon.

Because of the small size of the sample bottles, I could not pour the same sample for everybody. Instead, I poured a different sample for each of the three tables. $125

With the lineup tasted and the dust settled those in attendance voted the Bull Run Barrel Strength as the favourite of the night, followed by the Jefferson’s Wood Experiment Collection and the Russel’s Reserve.

Thank you to all who attended the tasting and a special thanks to Peasant Cheese for providing their always excellent cheese and charcuterie boards!

Cheers and until next time,
Evan
evan@kensingtonwinemarket.com
Twitter: @sagelikefool
Instagram: one part of @kwmwhisky //  @sagelikefool


Posted in Bourbon, Store, Tastings, Whisky | Comments Off

New Beers for July Part 2 of 2 and August part 1/2

 

Ok so I missed my post for the end of July, I’m sorry. I’ll make up for it with this slightly larger version of my post that encompasses the past month or so, so here we go!

If you happened to have missed the fact that Founders KBS and CBS are in the province, there is likely still time to grab some. I have just a little of each left, so make sure to shoot me an e-mail at beerguy@kensingtonwinemarket.com if you want any. I’ve made a point to stick to the roots of what made Kensington Wine Market great and seek out amazing beers from outside the country (but of course I give my local guys some love as well), so there are several European and US brews on this list, and I’ll keep seeking more out. Two more to add to that list is Tilquin and Jester King! The latest vintage of Tilquin’s beautiful lambics, including Quetsche, Mure and the Rullquin stout-lambic blend are in this week, and last but not least, we’ll see the long-awaited return of Texas brewers Jester King and their farm-housey craziness later in the month. What a crazy month… But enough of that, though.  Check out all the beers that have already arrived!

Wild Beer co Sleeping Lemons ($5.69 for a 330mL bottle)

Wild Beer co Modus Operandi ($7.39 for a 330mL bottle)

Breakside Tall Guy IPA ($11.49 for a 650mL bottle)

Oude Gueuze Tilquin ($29.99 for a 750mL bottle)

Cascade Sange Rouge ($39.09 for a 750mL bottle)

Hoyne Entre Nous Belgian Cherry Wit ($8.69 for a 650mL bottle)

Ballast Point Sculpin IPA ($4.69 for a 473mL tall can)

Reverend Nat’s Viva la Pineapple ($5.59 for a 330mL can)

Mikkeller Beer Geek Flat White ($9.39 for a 330mL bottle)

Anex Forward Progress Pale ($16.49 for a 4-pack of tall cans)

Hell’s Basement Fuzzy Face Cryo-pale ($17.99 for a 6-pack of cans)

Bench Creek Apex Predator Bohemian Pilsner ($16.29 for a 4-pack of tall cans)

Analog Ready Paler One ($18.29 for a 4-pack of tall cans)

Zero Issue Cloak and Dagger Mix pack ($16.49 for a 4-pack of tall cans)

Tasty as always, you can’t even deny that! Before I go, if you’re looking for fun events or just something to do through August, we have a number of tastings going on before we get back full-swing into our fall tasting schedule. Might I suggest you check out my wild fermented beer tasting on August 31st! Or I guess you could just come on in anytime and chat, and taste and stuff. Alright, that’s about all I have for you. Come get these awesome beers!

Cheers!

Shawn

Twitter: @ShawnsBrewsCGY

 

Posted in Beer, Store | Comments Off

Scotch Malt Whisky Society August 2018 Outturn

What an Outturn this month! We had an awesome range of malts, one of which has a significant footnote to it… We kicked things off with an unusual single grain whisky, G15.2, distilled from malted barley. Think of it as Scotland’s answer to the Nikka Coffey Malt. It has a lovely, soft and complex profile for a young whisky, with a profile that feels like a lovechild of malt and grain whiskies.

Another curiosity of the range was a re-release of whisky from 5 years ago, 73:53: Springtime freshness; spicy warmth. 3 cases of this whisky were recently discovered, so it was decided to feature it as the 7th man in the Calgary tasting. Priced at 2013 levels, it is a bargain. Only 3 left at the time of writing.

The highlights of the tasting were 3.306: Summer on Islay, 2.106: Devilishly opulent and 50.98: Honey on oak. The latter is a release from the Society’s “Premium Collection”. It is very tropical, creamy and complex. It also held it’s alcohol well after 27 years, at 59.3%. Here is the full August 2018 Outturn:

  1. G15.2: A beautiful, bright, summer afternoon* – 56.9% – 7 Year – Refill Barrel – Highland – Flavour Profile: Juicy, oak & vanilla - Panel’s Tasting Note: “The sweet floral aroma of jasmine was soon followed by fresh Madagascan vanilla pods and white nougat laden with candied lemon peel and blueberries on a crisp rice-paper base. On the palate neat, comforting and soothing like a freshly brewed chamomile, honey and vanilla tea with a light peppery spiciness in the finish. After adding a drop of water even fresher – ‘a beautiful bright summer afternoon’ with the scent of eucalyptus and thyme next to a rosebush in full bloom, whilst to taste now juicy fruity wine gums, apricot custard Danish pastries as well as sweet jasmine rice pudding with shredded toasted coconuts.” – $135
  2. 44.87: In a summer garden - 59.9% – 10 Year – Refill Barrel – Speyside – Flavour Profile: Spicy & sweetPanel’s tasting note: “The nose was clean and fresh – grassy, ‘real’ vanilla ice-cream and lemon-flavoured Turkish Delight – it was like a door into a summer garden – we could almost hear the bees humming. The initial palate had the uncomplicated sweetness of custard creams and fruit gums, but it was definitely lively – toasted oak, cinnamon and nutmeg, with an almost medicinal heat on the finish (menthol and eucalyptus lozenges). The reduced nose seemed more herbal (sorrel) with some lemon and pineapple. The reduced palate was sweeter and juicier – interesting combinations of juicy fruits and spicy heat – like raspberry and ginger or lime chutney.” – $133
  3. 54.58: Glowing embers of satisfaction – 55.6% -15 Year – Matured in Ex-Bourbon 14 Years / Finished in a First Fill Red Wine Barrique – Speyside - Flavour profile: Spicy & dry - Panel’s tasting note: “A fruity, aromatic nose of apricot Danish, orange sherbet and trail mix (dried pineapple, papaya, banana and coconut, with plump sultanas); subtle hints of pipe tobacco in a leather pouch. The palate achieved a balance between sweet, rich and buttery (Eccles cakes, bread and butter pudding) and drying spice (ginger cake, sugar-coated fennel seeds, curried raisins). The reduced nose was juicy and appealing – dragon fruit, manuka honey and pineapple. The palate – toffee apple, ripe peach and raspberry brownie, leaving glowing embers of satisfying spice in the mouth afterwards. Transferred after 14 years in ex-bourbon wood into a first-fill red wine barrique.” - $169
  4. 73.53: Springtime freshness, spicy warmth - 58.9% – 10 Year – Refill Sherry Butt – Speyside - Flavour profile: Spicy & sweet - Panel’s tasting note: “We found pleasant springtime grassy, floral notes on the nose (elderflower) – then fruity (lemon, fruit bonbons, strawberry) ginger and white pepper spice and eventually buttery nutty notes (macadamia). The palate was sweet, chocolatey and creamy (chocolate éclairs) with custard, sugary lemon, some floral flavours and considerable spice warming the after-taste (chili, nippy pepper). The reduced nose developed deeper floral notes (lily of the valley) orchard fruits, lemon curd, pineapple and some washing powder or expensive fabric conditioner. The reduced palate was simple but nice – fresh (lemon sorbet) but with gentle ginger warmth following behind.” – $110 – Only 3 bottles left at the time of writing!
  5. 50.98: Honey on oak – 59.3% – 27 Year – Refill Barrel – Lowland - Flavour profile: Spicy & sweet - Panel’s tasting note: “The nose starts with pineapple and vanilla – then bees are buzzing around a Highland cottage fuchsia hedge; time brings out brown sugar, crème brûlée, bramble jelly and wood shavings. The palate has intense sweetness (pears and peaches in syrup, marmalade, watermelon) matched by warm, tingling spices of pink peppercorn, cumin seeds, liquorice root and pipe stems. With water, the nose has sunny golden syrup, manuka honey, black forest gateau and sawmill sweepings. The reduced palate achieves a pleasing balance between salted caramel chocolate, Turkish Delight and exotic fruits and an almost pulsating finish of numbing clove, sour cherry and barrel staves.” - $360
  6. 2.106: Devilishly opulent – 61.3% – 10 Year – Matured 8 Years in Oloroso Sherry/ Finished in a PX Sherry Butt - Flavour profile: Deep, rich & dried fruits - Panel’s tasting note: “On opening the doors to the dunnage warehouse we were greeted by the familiar waft of old oak mixed with strong spirit and the smell of clean earth that was reminiscent of strolling in a pine forest in springtime. Sweet notes were in abundance as caramel wafers became pink wafer biscuits with sticky warm fudge. Soft leather and sweet tobacco merged with the rich fruitiness of figs, dates and raisins lavishly coated with opulent dark chocolate. Then heaps of spice appeared with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger marmalade on rye bread that was joined on the palate by chewy toffee. The prolonged finish was sweet and fruity and now with the presence of herbal notes and scented wood. After spending 8 years in an ex-Oloroso butt this was transferred to a 1st fill Pedro Ximenez butt for the remainder of its maturation.” - $174
  7. 3.306: Summer on Islay – 59% – 18 Year – Finished in a 2nd Fill Toasted Oak Hogshead/ Matured in a 2nd Fill Hogshead – Islay - Flavour profile: Peated - Panel’s tasting note: “A well-rounded nose of incense smoke and heather moor-burn softened by vanilla, tutti-frutti and orange fondant creams – with almost imperceptible hints of spearmint, leather and tobacco. The palate begins with a whack of intense muscovado and Danish pastry sweetness, before finding earthy notes of staves, roast parsnips, burnt heather and a lick of salt. The reduced nose gets sea water and ash (tide-flooded beach bonfire), honeycomb candy, heather honey and ice-cream – quite an experience! The palate becomes tasty and rewarding – Mon Cheri chocolates, lebkuchen, mango coulis and euthymol toothpaste.  Transferred to a toasted hogshead after 17 years in ex-bourbon wood.” - $242 – Only 3 bottles left at the time of writing!

*A new code for the Society emerges in the form of G15. This single cask, single malt, grain whisky is made from 100% malted barley. What?! Yes—a unique whisky produced in Scotland’s most unusual distillery. It’s legally a grain whisky, but using malted barley in non-traditional squat column stills, instead of pot stills, to create this spirit. G15 is the result of distillation in a continuous Coffey still, but instead of running a grain (like wheat or corn) distillate, the stills are fed with 100% malted barley wort.

Posted in Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Whisky | Comments Off

Why you should get excited about wine

by Abi

“Wine, I soon discovered, is perfect for people who like to explore: history, biology, anthropology, geology, geography, even philosophy. The deeper you dig, the more you find”
- Uncorked, Marco Pasanella

Wine is a great thing. It has the power to change the atmosphere in a room, the power to challenge your inner curiosity, and also bring people together, all while tasting delicious. There aren’t many elements in this world that have the kind of power these days, but there is still that ability to enjoy and fall into a reverie or trance over a glass without repercussion (minus a possible hangover). It isn’t simply an instrument that enables one to get you drunk; wine is a form of communication, a way to bring history, geography, art, and elements of different cultures to consumers across the globe.
So, why should you be excited about wine?

Wine is meant to be fun and enjoyable, that is the most important thing to remember. Life is too short to spend drinking bad wine, and if you prefer the taste of a cheap and cheerful Pinot Grigio to expensive Champagne, you do you. You grab yourself a bottle of PG and savour every last drop.

Wine has a way of bringing people together. Just look at the staff at Kensington Wine Market; everyone here comes from different walks of life, with different upbringings and different interests, and yet working with wine has allowed us to create conversations, to discover mutual interests and to produce common ground between us. There is very little chance that the people we have conversed with over the years would have crossed paths with us if wine itself wasn’t a primary element, but yet, here we are, connecting with everyone through our mutual appreciation.

Wine is a cultural experience in of itself, full of stories and wonder. It’s packed to the cork with history. For thousands of years, it has been evolving and growing with the economic, political, social, and geographic landscapes of each era. With this, the wine develops stories and personalities that you wouldn’t be able to witness otherwise, telling us it’s unique tale of how it came to be in each glass we enjoy.

Wine also keeps you questioning and exploring. Working in wine is a beautiful experience, but sometimes the experience can become stale, especially when you find yourself in a rut, only drinking or trying the same styles over and over. Then, one day, you ’ll try something you’ve never experienced before, blasting you upwards out of the self-induced wine rut into the blinding, angelic sunlight, where you find yourself scrambling to comprehend what you just tasted. Soon after, you’ll find yourself in a wine infused haze, trying to gain as much information as you possibly can about the particular wine that had such a profound impact. I had one of those experiences a couple of weeks ago whilst running the Red Wine Icons: Bordeaux tasting. There were 6 delicious red wines that reinvigorated my love for Bordeaux, but the one wine that made me question my entire existence was the 2007 vintage of Chateau d’Yquem. Even in its relative youth, the wine showed this complexity and depth that I couldn’t even fathom; a sweetness that coated the palate, the acidity cutting through to counterbalance the nectar-like qualities and then the flavours that explode on your tongue. I questioned everything, and once I got home, I found myself scouring the internet in a haze of d’Yquem, to find as much information as possible about the history and the stories of this Sauternes.

I could go on forever on why wine is great and why wine is beautiful, but there is only so much time in a day. Just remember, wine isn’t just fermented grape juice, it’s an element that can bring people together. Next time you open a bottle or enjoy a glass, take a moment to acknowledge the beauty of the wine and make sure to share that appreciation with the company around you.

Abigail Pavka
abigail@kensingtonwinemarket.com
@denimjacketvino

Posted in Store, Wine | Comments Off

New Beers for July Part 1 of 2

I am back again for another update on new beers hitting my shelves, and bringing the hype for these skilled brewers and their delicious, delicious beers. This time I get to introduce you to a newcomer to the Alberta scene and really, they are only a couple years old in the Halifax scene as well. 2 Crows is a small team that brews modern style beers, well crafted and well thought out. Their beers came in limited quantities and are meant to fly off the shelf. They have a spot front and center in my fridge for those who want to grab them and go.

Other than that, the ever so amazing Founders Canadian Breakfast stout has arrived, and you absolutely do not want to miss out on that! The rest I’ll let you see for yourself, but first, just a reminder that there are 3 beer tastings happening through the summer, starting next week. Check them out here!

Coronado Marine Dream ($4.29 for a 355mL can)

Ninkasi Truly Yours ($21.29 for a 6-pack of cans)

Wild Beer co Ninkasi ($15.49 for a 750mL bottle)

Glutenberg Olallie ($19.49 for a 4-pack of cans)

Collective Arts Ginger Lime Berliner ($4.29 for a 473mL tall can)

Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout ($8.19 for a 355mL bottle)

2 Crows All In ($7.49 for a 473mL tall can)

2 Crows Maestro ($7.19 for a 473mL tall can)

2 Crows Fantacity ($5.79 for a 473mL tall can)

2 Crows Pollyanna ($5.99 for a 473mL tall can)

Steamworks Cucumber Ale ($3.29 for a 473mL tall can)

Breakside Rainbows and Unicorns ($11.09 for a 650mL bottle)

Town Square Megawatt NEIPA ($17.39 for a 4-pack of tall cans)

Town Square Beets by Sinden ($17.49 for a 4-pack of tall cans)

Blood Brothers Paradise Lost ($12.99 for a 500mL bottle)

That’s about all the news I have for you right now. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with a little more, but you can also stay up to date via Twitter where I am @ShawnsBrewsCGY!

Cheers!
Shawn
beerguy@kensingtonwinemarket.com

Posted in Beer, Store | Comments Off

NAS Whisky Wars

by Curt

NAS whisky.  Non-age-stated whisky, for those not up on their whisky geek acronyms. The concept refers to those products that now sag the shelves in the Scotch whisky sections of your favourite spirit sellers, boasting clever names, garish packaging and a very noticeable lack of numbers on the label.  You know the digits I’m referring to. The ones that often influence the decision-making when it comes down to purchase time. The much-lauded/occasionally-resented age statement. The big, bold numbers that tell you just how long that precious amber liquid in the bottle has spent slumbering away in a barrel in some dark corner of a warehouse beneath the grey skies of our beloved Scotland.

So, just how important is that number on the bottle?  Depends who you ask. I suppose one way to gather a bit more data in the quest for enlightenment would be to pit some of these NAS malts against comparable age-stated compatriots and see who comes out on top, right?  Hmmm…perhaps. But not really. Because the debate really isn’t about good or bad. But we’ll come back to this shortly. In the meantime, dram versus dram. Winner decided via show of hands from those in attendance.

Cool idea for a tasting, right?  Yup. But someone has to talk about it.  Someone has to be the referee between the malts that were toeing up to battle head-to-head for supremacy.  Wonder who that someone could be?

It’s no small secret in the whisky world that I’ve been quite vocal with my stance on the subject.  Not only that, but I’ve been burdened with both a moral compass that steers me far from the philosophy that justifies NAS whisky and a deep-seated polyamorous affair with a few of the distilleries and brands most directly responsible for leading the foray into NAS territory.  Reconciling these two has been trying at times, to say the least.

Call me a cynic, but I can just see Andrew and Evan gleefully rubbing their hands together as they plotted this out over drams of Ledaig or Loch Dhu or whatever it is they sip in the solitude of the malt lair (ahem…Andrew’s office) and pencilled in my name next to ‘event host’.

So…sure.  Why not? Throw the new guy into the middle of the big controversy and let the proverbial sh*t hit the proverbial fan, right?

It would almost be a cop-out at this stage of the game to say that NAS whisky is the most controversial subject in the whisky world.  It may well be, but at this point, we’re beating a dead horse in front of an indifferent audience. The debate still rages on some blogs and forums, of course, and it does still generate a huge amount of dissension and vitriolic industry apologism (as well as countless unmerited attacks by brand ambassadors unwilling to separate their day jobs from consumer empathy), but the most stinging of the barbs and arrows slung in this war between sippers and sellers were fired several years back now.  Hopefully we’re at a point of civil discourse and forward-thinking.

I recognize that it’s not exactly a good time to quote Kevin Spacey, but let’s insist this is a movie quote, and not a Kevin Spacey quote per se.  And the reality is this is nothing more than a paraphrasing of the great Charles Baudelaire: “the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

In a way, that’s what NAS whisky is really about.  Convincing the consumers that what they’re looking for on the label is irrelevant, inconsequential and…in a truly incredible leap of logic…that those age statements are actually a hindrance to progress.  When you boil it down to brass tacks, it’s all about audacity.

Having said that (causing saying any more would become a blue pill/red pill situation)…

I could have stacked the deck when it came to picking the line-up for this event.  I had half a mind to, but it would have been both contrived and disingenuous. And being disingenuous is what got us into this mess in the first place.  Not my style. The fact that I refer to it as a ‘mess’ should tell you all you need to know about how I feel about this matter.

My goal was to play it straight.  Let the whisky speak for itself and, while it did so, to share a few words about why the whole concept stinks like week old fish in the trash can.

And why did I want to do it this way?  Simple, really. This debate has never been about quality, no matter what the industry would have you believe.  It’s about transparency and allowing the consumer to have access to the information that allows them to make informed buying decisions.  Ultimately transparency puts all other arguments about the NAS controversy to bed. Because what happens when the discussion turns to transparency and its relation to quality is that there is an elephant in the room that inevitably gets addressed by the astute in the room.  The elephant is called ‘Price’. As soon as that factor is taken into account, suddenly age becomes more than relevant. It becomes paramount. How do we know what a ‘fair’ price is if we have no idea just what we’re drinking? And this…this…is the crux of the discussion that ensued.  While we chatted – and yes, it was a dialogue, not a diatribe – we let the whiskies tell their own tale (of the tape).

So…I dialed back the vitriol, boned up on a few releases I hadn’t spent too much time with in the recent past, and pulled together a range of whiskies that were bound to be both palate-pleasers and low-hanging fruit in terms of having easily-digestible nuggets of lore for expounding upon and discussing with the good folks who snapped up seats for this event.

First up:

Macallan vs Macallan

Is there a more polarizing brand out there when it comes to the NAS debate?  Doubtful. Macallan may not have been the first culprit, but many critics argue it has maybe been the worst.  The 1824 series the brand launched in 2012 set the bar (quite low, unfortunately) as to what is generally acceptable for NAS marketing tactics.  I mean, we’ve swallowed obtuse Gaelic references, wee Scottish beasties, historical nuggets and linguistic gymnastics, but shifting your entire brand’s marketing focus to colour?  Really? This range was not-so-affectionately referred to by many out there as the ‘stripper series’ due to the rather unfortunate adoption of monikers such as ‘Gold’, ‘Amber’, ‘Sienna’ and ‘Ruby’ for the four expressions in the stable.  But what’s in a name, right?

We threw one of these releases – Amber – up against the new(ish) Macallan 12 y.o. Double Cask.  Not the same old Mac 12 we once knew and loved, but a hybrid dram with far less depth of sherry influence than its predecessor.  Similar stylistically. Similar price points. Fair fight.

After letting ‘em duke it out for a few minutes while yours truly rambled and muttered, old man style, about the pitfalls of buying into any sort of campaign that markets opacity as a virtue, a show of hands said the winner was…

Amber.  Who knows how old she is, but let’s assume this ‘stripper’ is at least legal (let’s say that’s about 10 in whisky years).  Either way, she was pretty enough to pip the new 12 year old.

Round two:

The Berry Bros take on John Glaser and team Compass Box

Two blends with a substantial amount of age in their back pocket (but in one case, an undisclosed amount of age, to be clear).  The two whiskies throwing haymakers in round two were Kensington Wine Market bespoke bottlings released in 2017 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Calgary’s best liquor store.  The Berry Bros release is a fantastic 25 year old dram, delicate and clean, with a price tag far below what a 25 year old of this calibre should be wearing.  The Compass Box KWM Blend is an ultra-complex dram with a helluva pedigree and some absolutely stunning component whiskies.

In the end…

Compass Box scores the knockout.  NAS, perhaps, but while the bottle may not disclose all the details, that doesn’t mean we can’t.  Pop into the shop for a wee taste and a bit of pulling back the curtain on this one, if you find time.  We’ll let you in on a few secrets.

Round three:

Amrut Peated Port Pipe vs Ardbeg Uigeadail

Some similarities. Some differences. But close enough in style to be in the same weight class.

I wanted some peat in the line-up. It’s fun to talk about volatiles and half-lives and the merits of drinking your ‘liquid turf’ young or patiently waiting for mature peated malts. Not only that, but this little bit of friendly sparring allowed me to showcase a whisky from beyond the Scottish borders and a little off the beaten path. Always fun.

Breaking down preconceptions is one of the many job perks, I must admit. Uigeadail has a more earthy and robust peaty profile than even the most heavily smoky of Amrut’s offerings, but that’s not where the truest difference is to be found. The Islay bruiser also has a deeper vein of salinity and a medicinal edge that only comes from the coastal rain-saturated peat harvested from the oceanic regions of Scotland. Namely, Islay.

The Amrut, at a mere four years on, punched well above its weight class, but in the end was no match for the monstrosity of Ardbeg’s old school uppercut. Uigeadail, in all its smoky, sherried splendour, won out easily, in spite of much love shown for the syrupy and jammy top notes that cushion the sharpest tors of the Peated Port Pipe.

Three matches on the card. And in every case, the NAS offering won out. Fair ‘nough. But the seeds were sown, and by the end of the night, the questions that were flying spoke volumes as to which side of the fence the audience sat. I’ll say no more. Wink, wink.

But we had to close out with one more for posterity. And to drive home a point.

No battle here, just a chance to wind down and chat over a nice young drink that goes to show that whisky can be both young and delicious. That is incontestable. I wanted to include a dram of Kavalan Solist in the night’s range. Solist is another non-Scotch whisky that is bottled at about three or four years of age and drinks well-beyond its years. It is drams like this – not held to the same regulated standards as Scotch whisky (due to them not falling under the jurisdiction of the Scotch Whisky Association) – that make us question why its not becoming more commonplace to just say it and be proud of it: “I’m a five year old whisky, and I’m bloody delicious”. One day perhaps, one day.
This particular Solist was matured in ex-Portuguese wine barrels and is marketed as ‘Vinho Barrique’. Its intense and incomparable fruitiness is like nothing else on the market. Something about the subtropical climate in Taiwan brings out an amazing exotic and spicy edge to the whiskies produced at Kavalan. The casks breathe easy in the warmth and humidity and the depth of wood saturation can rarely be matched elsewhere on the planet. As for flavours? Nutty, with deep, dark fruit notes, Chinese five spice, orange zest and marzipan. Brilliant stuff. And a heck of a closer that should make anyone out there suspend their biases and admit that young whisky can be spectacular. In this day and age, there’s really no need to hide behind the cheat of NAS.

I could have spun the narrative differently, of course, but you don’t make a legit point when it’s based on manipulation and deceit. Instead, we keep the dialogue open and friendly, the information clear and easily-digestible and we march toward a day when the regulations that govern these things are put in place by parties with less of a vested interest in ensuring their fiscal bottom line supercedes the longevity of reputation.

- Curt
curt@kensingtonwinemarket.com
Twitter: @allthingswhisky
Instagram: @curtrobinson7
www.allthingswhisky.com

Posted in Store, Tastings, Whisky | Comments Off