Cheese and gin and cocktails and meat and tonics are all among my favourite things (and commas are not!). Thankfully, a new tasting season means a new round of gins for us to mix up and taste! I’ve said this before, but I feel that the romance behind gin is that it has the ability to showcase the creativity of the distiller. Starting with the base grain, and how clean you want to distill the spirit, you can create a dry and pretty, curvy backbone, or a sweet and grainy base on which you layer whatever flavours you can think of. The weather is starting to warm up, and we’ve already seen a pick up in gin-based traffic. So it was about time to start exploring and find the gin of the season!
I managed to bring together a selection of Gins, each from a different country, and each markedly different from each other. We started off the evening by sampling Eau Claire Distillery’s new Cherry Gin Collins. This ready-to-drink is a straight up Tom Collins (gin lemonade) made with Eau Claire’s Cherry Gin. It’s moderately sweet with ripe cherry flavours and hints of citrus.
May of 2019 brings us one hell of an Outturn (yes, I am biased). Here are some stats:
- Three of the seven bottles in the Outturn are cask finishes. Two hail from Speyside and just barely in the Highlands. All three are – at the very least – worth a taste. Two of them are my personal favourites in the lineup.
- This is a peat-heavy month. Four of the seven bottles show at least some peat, with three of those showing smoke and earth in a very pronounced manner.
- One of these peated malts comes from Loch Lomond Distillery, though it would be labelled as an Inchmoan in style. This is the first Inchmoan I have personally had, and possibly the first to hit the SMWS in Canada. It is also easily the best Loch Lomond Malt that I can remember every tasting, SMWS or otherwise.
- Even more oddness regarding this 112 bottling: the SMWS Canada originally believed that they would be receiving 112.17. It was a serendipidous mistake that they received 112.27, but I am personally very happy that they did.
- The ABV for the lineup is pretty tight, with all but one bottle coming in between 57.1% and 59.4% ABV.
- That one outlier bottle is unique in other ways as well: It is bottled at 50% ABV, which is not cask strength. It has much larger than typical SMWS outturn at 2948 bottles. It is one of the SMWS new line of Blended Malts. This is Batch 003 of Peat Faerie. This is the first batch to come to the SMWS Canada, and like when we received Exotic Cargo last year, it likely won’t last long.
As I said earlier and I will not repeat again for fear of overselling it (at least until next Outturn): this is a very impressive lineup. Enough from me though. Read on below for all of the info!
I remember when I first started working at Kensington Wine Market, I had a couple of different reasons. First I wanted to earn some extra money to save enough to go travelling. Secondly, I wanted to still drink good wine but also spend less on it. The store helped in both of those aspects and also sent me down a new and amazing road of knowledge and diversion. I have always been on the search for good wine but at a good price as well. That’s why we are always trying to make sure we have something new and affordable at the store. It’s not always about having the fanciest wine or the very best; sometimes you just want the best for right now and not have to spend a boatload of money on it. That is also the beauty of these tastings that you can actually try the wines before committing to purchasing them. Not only that but you get to taste some amazing cheese and nibbles from Peasant Cheese. For the price, I think you would be hard beat to find a better value in all of Calgary for an awesome night out.
Bourbon. Barbecue. Unless you are a vegan teetotaler, these are likely two of your favourite words in the English language. For good reason too. They are two great tastes that should hopefully taste great together, right? All of those blogs and food shows can’t be wrong.
I have admitted many a time that I am not a food pairing guy. This still holds true. I typically drink my whisky on its own after dinner. In a dark room. Alone. Just kidding about those last two things. No need for an intervention at this time, I swear.
Anyhow, the food thing. It is hard to go wrong with Barbecue. We have paired it Beer and Wine in past tastings with great success, so why not Bourbon? Both have – maybe not their roots – but a lot of branches and at least a good portion of the trunk make their home in the midwest and southern states of the US of A. It is natural that they would pair well, since each has had such a great deal of influence on the other through the ages.
…would smell as sweet. Thus spake William Shakespeare. And if the sentiment is good enough for the Bard, it’s good enough for me. Of course, at the time Romeo was being talked off the ledge by our darling Juliet, whisky as we know it was still in its infancy. But this isn’t about time; it’s about place. Either way, the message is the same: It doesn’t matter where you’re from, so long as you’re perfectly put together. Okay…so my paraphrasing needs some work.
This Asian Whisky Revival tasting was a bit of a last minute affair for me. It sorta fell in my lap, as is our way at Kensington Wine Market. And as much as we like to roll our eyes at the fly-by-the-seat-of-pants nature to many things at KWM, the simple reality is that most of the staff would probably have it no other way. It’s what makes us family. What unites us. Just as shared drinks with new friends do. And for me, that’s the enjoyment in hosting whisky tastings in the shop. Continue reading
These agave tastings are becoming more frequent, and – if I do say so – more fun as of late. Though they nearly always sell out anyway, the surge in Mezcal popularity over the past three years has permanently made its mark on our tastings, to the point where sometimes we host solely Mezcal tastings. Naturally, it’s WAY more fun to show off both spirits at once and let our guests decide and discover and enjoy.
We nearly ran the gamut in this tasting, the lineup was made up of three unique and high-quality Tequilas, followed by some very traditional and complex Mezcals. Luckily, next door we have the extraordinary Peasant Cheese and owner Crystal McKenzie who is incredible at putting together boards that fit perfectly with the night’s theme. Take a quick look at our lineup and snacks!
March was a busy month, just flying by. We had the Outturn of course, at the beginning. The following day after running the tastings here at KWM, I became a father for the third time. I managed to take two and a half weeks away from work to help at home with the newborn and his older brother and sister, but still managed to come into the shop to pour at a whisky festival during that time – thank goodness I have a forgiving wife! I officially made it back in time for another Whisky Festival at the end of the month. Like I said, busy times.
As I am sure I have said before – things never seem to slow down here at Kensington Wine Market (or at my home for that matter!). We have just put our Spring 2019 Tasting Schedule up, and there are a plethora of tastings and festivals to take a look at. But enough about all of that. We are all really here for the April Outturn, right?
Here is a quick breakdown of what you can expect this month:
- Speyside is back in full-force in this Outturn, with the region being the home of four of the seven bottles this month. Luckily regions are meaningless and they all show quite differently from each other.
- This Outturn features one of those older, more prestigious and more expensive black label bottles with the gold SMWS logo. This one is a doozy, both in quality and in price. This is personally the oldest SMWS Single Malt I have tasted.
- The rest of the bottles tasted were all much less expensive (and younger of course), with quite a few values to be found.
- This includes one from a distillery we Canadians have never seen grace our shores in green bottle form until now. It is young and wood-dominant, but it is the kind of oak-laden single malt that manages to find a balance and is easy to enjoy.
- Islay makes a comeback as well, giving us one of our two moderate to heavily peated drams, the other one hailing from Campbeltown.
- We also have a spirit selection this month, and it is a very interesting and surprisingly approachable 66.2% ABV Rum from Belize.
Looking for information on past Outturn releases? We still have stock available of many bottles featured in past months. You can view our entire stock here. If something shows as out of stock, call or email us to check because it still might be available to order.
We also have stock of a mini/100mL SMWS bottle that was never bottled in full-sized 750 or 700mL form. It is SMWS 72.65 – WINTER COMFORTS. We originally featured this bottle in our KWM Whisky Advent Calendar, but the remaining stock is available to purchase for SMWS members.
Malbec is most certainly the first wine that would pop into your head when you start to think about South American wines. Malbec has its place in the wine world and especially around the Andes, but there are many other grapes that thrive in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. This tasting aimed to showcase other varietals, and if any of them stood up to replace malbec as Alberta’s most loved red varietal.
by KWM Staff
In the last few years, we have seen an astonishing resurgence of a certain contention in wine Doctrine. Feisty millennials and thirsty enthusiasts alike are ferociously curious with the moniker ”Natural Wine“. The “natural” approach to wine is a thorny concept to define. These wines have become extremely popular with the younger generation of wine professionals and enthusiasts. Many have skipped “classic” styles and have curiously dived straight into the story of Natural Wine.
Natural Wine, both in concept and in practice, have unlimited dispositions, and so giving clarity to their characters in simple or painless explanation is reasonably difficult.
However, while natural winemakers can share differing styles and philosophies, their convictions are cut from the same cloth…
In case you are a member have not read the recent SMWS email regarding the club’s quarterly magazine: You now can view the current issue of Unfiltered Magazine (and a decade of back issues!) online by logging in at smws.ca.
As an SMWS member, you have the option of accessing the online version and continuing to receive the hard copy or opting out of the hard copy altogether and accessing the no-paper version only.