Rosé All Day!

by Dave

It is getting to be that time of year when can really enjoy the season, rosé season that is! If you have not tried any or have the idea that rosé wine is just sweet and syrupy then you haven’t met the right wine. The right rosé can be the perfect wine for spring, summer, warm weather and patio days! The gorgeous pink colour and crisp freshness seems to be exactly what hits the spot on those warm days. If you want it as just a refreshing cool down after a long day or a great warm up to an even longer night it is hard to go wrong with these delicious wines.

There are 3 different ways for making a rosé; Maceration method, Saignée (“San-yay”) or “bled” method and the blending method.

Leaving the juice of the grapes in contact with the skins is how the maceration method works and this is the most common way of producing rosé wines. This way they will extract a little colour and flavours from the skins themselves. All the wines that we tasted were made from this method.

Saignée method is done by taking off some of the first juice produced when a red wine is being made. This can be done in places where they are producing higher-end wines and want to have a richer concentrated red wine and they are also able to get a lovely rosé wine out of it as well.

Finally, the blending method is done by mixing red wine with white wine. This is generally done in Champagne and because red wine can be quite dark it doesn’t need that much to add to change the colour of the wine. If you haven’t tried a rosé champagne then you should definitely put it on your to-do list.

I am going to go over the wines that we tried in the order that we tried them.

Andreola Bolle Prosecco Rose Extra Dry
A Kensington Wine Market exclusive! This delicious Prosecco is made from a blend of 80% Cabernet and 20% Merlot grapes. We have been representing Andreola for many years and are excited to welcome their first Rose to our family of sparkling wines! Prosecco is an excellent wine to serve as an aperitif as it cleanses the palate and gets it ready for the main course. Rich and robust, with broad shoulders and plenty of hearty earth tones, this cherry and currant driven sparkler finishes with gorgeous notes of natural musk and chalky minerals. $23.99

Pol Cochet Brut Rose
A Kensington Wine Market exclusive, and a great price for a gorgeous rosé Champagne! “This champagne, synonymous with pleasure, is composed only of Pinot Noir. The nose is dominated by subtle notes of small red berries (raspberries, candied currants), complemented by floral shades of pink. The palate is lively and refreshing, combining intensity and roundness. Ideal to accompany a summer aperitif, a meal, yes with red meat! Pairs beautifully with wild salmon or with fresh fruit desserts,” according to the winery. $62.99

La Palma Rose
La Palma is Spanish for palm tree and at Viña La Rosa, the vineyards share the land with thousands of native Chilean palm trees – hence the name. Here’s a Rose blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon at a price that will make you blush with pleasure. Aromas of wild strawberry and red cherry and a hint of apple and pear. On the palate, you’ll find luscious notes of very ripe strawberry and hints of red apple and ripe pear. A mouth-filling array of flavours, with crisp acidity and a clean finish. La Palma Rosé pairs nicely with green salads, grilled vegetables and California rolls. Perfect with a citric ice cream! $15.99

Poggio al Sole Rosado
This beautiful rosado (pink!) is made from pure Sangiovese grapes; it’s fresh, fruity and deliciously easy to drink. Serve as an aperitif, or with roast chicken, roast turkey, perhaps some salmon or a charcuterie platter. As for the winery, Poggio al Sole lies in the very heart of Tuscany, in that famous, glorious countryside between Florence and Sienna. $21.99

Houchart Cotes de Provence Rose Magnum
All the fun of a rosé wine but twice as much in 1 bottle! If you have never experienced the wonder of having a magnum-sized wine this is your perfect entry point and a tremendous value! It will take a lot longer until you are sad that the bottle is finished and with this wine, the regular bottle seems to disappear altogether too quick. Domaine Houchart is located at the foot of Mount St. Victoire near Aix en Provence. Look for aromas of citrus and strawberries as well as flavours of red berries, watermelon and mineral notes. The finish is clean, long and refreshing. One sip will transport you to that cafe table on the Cote d’ Azur! $47.99

Lock & Worth Cabernet Franc Rose
This version of Rose from Lock & Worth is bone dry, fresh, with an electric acidity that cleanses and invigorates your taste buds! This is definitely a staff favourite and unfortunately, because they are such a small production, only 1.5 acres of vines, it is only around for a very short period of time. We are actually all out of it now and won’t see any more until next year. According to the winery what you’ll find in each delicious glass are strawberries, red plum and red apple skin. Fresh and bright, it pairs perfectly with Thai food, goat cheese pizza, or an after-work aperitif. $33.99 SOLD OUT

Rockford Alicante Bouchet
This wine is so delicious that it has it’s own Facebook page! This KWM exclusive is from Rockford Winery out of Australia, they are an iconic winery and “virtually all” of winemaker Robert O’Callaghan’s “wines are sold to a loyal following directly from the winery door.” In other words, grab a bottle or two while you can. This is a gorgeous Rose made from Alicante Bouchet which is a unique red fleshed grape that makes a deep, rich coloured, rose wine. Refreshing, delightful, and round. $38.99

“This wine is best drunk out of a big gulp cup with an extra large Slurpee straw!”
- Dave Tyler

This was such a fun tasting and awesome to be able to try so many wonderful treats on a beautiful warm day. Next time you are feeling the heat remember to look to rosé for relief! It will always be there for you and who knows you may find your new favourite wine!

Twitter: @smilingvines
Instagram: @tick_ec

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Women in Wine

by Abi

‘[My father] thought [with me] being a girl, I would not keep the estate going for the next generation’
- Anne Gros

Women in the world of wine are fierce. They work hard night and day to produce wines that will blow your socks off, yet, they still face unnecessary judgement due to them being off the “lesser sex”. Being a feminist myself, I could ramble on and on about why women need to be seen as equals in any aspect of today’s world, but, today we will show you why they deserve more respect than is given.

Winemaking is not an easy feat. It is agriculture, and agriculture takes time, it takes patience and it takes elbow grease. It isn’t all about trying wine, they need to tend to the vines, figure out what needs to be done to create their wine, execute that, age it if need be, fix any problems that may come along, and then pray to whichever entity that consumers will buy your wine. Not only that but women winemakers also have to go against the herd (especially in very traditional areas in Europe) and prove to men that they know what they are doing. This is an evening of celebrating a few of these fierce individuals that have made sure they get their respect.

Marie Courtin Resonance Extra Brut 2013
Dominique Moreau of Marie Courtin is as fierce as it gets in Champagne. Located in the Cote de Bar, she already has to face the insufferable ramblings of the North, and how “the south shouldn’t make champagne”, but add in the fact she’s a female too, she has a lot to deal with. But don’t worry, since she founded Marie Courtin in the early 2000’s, she’s allowed her hard work, dedication and love for Champagne come through in her wines. Her wines are considered the quintessential artisanal champagne, where terroir is the main focus, along with minimal intervention practices. The Resonance Extra Brut is 100% Pinot Noir, with zero dosage, and pays a beautiful ode to the terroir of her vineyards. It’s crisp, clean, with delicate bubbles, notes of lemon, lime, mineral and a touch of yeasty characteristics. For the price point, we would argue you can’t find a better champagne. $72.99

Sybille Kuntz Riesling Trocken 2015
Sybille Kuntz grew up learning the ways of German Riesling. Raised in a family of wine markers, she at first thought it wasn’t the career she wanted and moved north to study Business. After graduating, she came to realise that she was in fact missing the wine world, and opened up her own store. The challenge she faced was that she knew she had to sell a range of wines, but all she wanted to sell was her parents high end Mosel Riesling, and once realising that, she knew what she had to do. She started her own project, named after herself, to produce the finest of Mosel Rieslings, showing the range of wines that can be produced from the beautiful landscape. Her Riesling Trocken is one of her top sellers, with a bright and zingy acidity, but a touch of residual sugar to calm the palate. It crisp, fresh and mouth-wateringly delicious. Notes of apple,blossom, wet rock, petrol, citrus and maybe even a touch of chalk, this wine shows the beauty of the Mosel. $42.99

Joie A Noble Blend 2015
Heidi Noble, Owner of Joie Farms, is a sommelier/chef from Vancouver BC. She started out her career as a chef but started to realize that wine was her true passion. In 2004, she purchased 4 hectares in Naramata and started to produce European inspired wines. This Noble Blend is Heidi’s ode to the wines of Alsace. This wine is a blend of Gewürztraminer 49% Riesling 32% Pinot Auxerrois 9% Pinot Blanc 6 % Muscat 4% and is beautifully aromatic. With notes of lychee, apple, blossom, grape and a touch of spice, this is the perfect summer wine. $35.99

Domaine Anne Gros Bourgogne Haute Côte de Nuits Cuvee Marine 2015
Anne Gros was born into the winemaking business, with her father making inexpensive wine in Burgundy. He was ill, and Anne was determined to make wine, but her father believed with her being female, there would be no estate left for the future generations. Forward to 2018, Anne Gros is making waves in Burgundy with her small-scale production. Her Haute Cote de Nuits Cuvee Marine is 100% Chardonnay and is a wine that is delicate and elegant, as much as it is powerful and robust. Named after her daughter, Marine (named for the fact that she was pregnant with Marine when she was planting the vineyard), this wine shows great complexity, with notes of yellow apple, white peaches, preserved lemons, blossom, brioche and oak spice, it is a wine to savour and enjoy. $70.99

Donatella Cinelli Colombini Rosso di Montalcino 2012
Donatella Colombini has worked on her family’s vineyards since she could walk. Working with the vines is her passion, but once the family vineyard was passed down to her brother, who wasn’t involved in the winery previous, Donatella secured a few acres in Montalcino. Since she was affected by the sexist ideals of the wine industry, she made a plan to only hire women. She went around the country and asked from the top students in oenology/viticulture classes, which one person told her “They told me that I’d need to wait months to have a good student. But when I said I wanted a female student, they said that there were lots, because no winery wanted them,”. The first woman-operated winery in Italy was born, and their wines have been moving up the ranks ever since. This Rosso di Montalcino is full of life, with notes of summer berries, earth and oak. $40.99

Bench 1775 Syrah 2014
Bench 1775 is located on Naramata Bench in the Okanagan Valley. Val Tait is the head winemaker, and is one of the leading ladies in the BC Wine scene. He approach to viticulture is organic, biodynamic and sustainable, and to show the terroir of the Okanagan in her wines. This Syrah is a beautiful expression of the grape and the region, with notes of violet, dark berries, earth and a touch of vanilla. $29.99

Venus La Universal Dido 2015
Venus is a small production coming from Montsant, Spain. Sara Perez, head winemaker, has been making wine for years, but in the early 2000’s, she saw her vineyard dying. Unsure of what to do, she decided to switch her production to organic and sustainable. This wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah with a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with notes of ripe berries, cedar, tobacco, earth and some oak spices. $37.99

Special thank you to the lovely people at Peasant Cheese for the amazing cheese and charcuterie boards! And thank you to everyone who attended the event!

Abigail Pavka

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Shaking Off the Winter Brews

by Shawn

I don’t normally play beer favourites based on season, but of course, it’s just natural to reach for those light, possibly fruity, possibly tart, crushable beers. Now is about the time when brewers will start introducing some of their more summery beers, and this tasting is purely to showcase these! These somewhat loosely themed tastings are where I can let loose and try to turn people’s heads, change minds, defy expectations and really just show off. Don’t like pales and IPA? Well here’s a couple that you’re going to love. Can’t handle fruit and flavoured beers? This horchata inspired beer is everyone’s cup of tea. Hate sours? Well, some things I can’t help, but I can at least mourne in that case!

So what goes better with beer than cheese and meats? Nothing I can think of… so that’s what we got, from our lovely neighbours Peasant Cheese. I picked out 6 of my most summery beers, along with one darker style that I feel went along well enough. Now sit back and come with me on a quick little journey through the tasting, and just you try to stop your mouth from watering.

The Bruery Orchard Wit: This is what a Wit should be! Brewed in the style of Belgian Wit, but taken to another level with the addition of Bavarian wit and French Saison yeast on top of the typical Belgian Wit. On top of all that, a light souring with house cultures and foedra ageing. Crisp, fruity and wild! ($9.69 for a 375mL bottle)

Burdock Brett Apricot: This saison is aged in neutral oak barrels on top of apricots and apricot puree for 1 year. Super delicate like a pretty white wine, a light vinous character with robust stone fruit flavours and lively carbonation. A subtle but fantastic beer. ($14.79 for a 375mL bottle)

Banded Peak Pink Boots NEPA: Crisp, with a creamy, grainy body. Oodles of mango, papaya and exotic citrus fruits thanks to the plentiful hopping. Low in alcohol and IBUs make this just the most crushable. (Available for a limited time on our growler bar)

Breakside Kids These Haze: Bigger body than our previous beer. Still plenty of tropical fruits and heavy citrus. Mellow alcohol is still present and beneath a wonderfully assembled malty base. ($11.39 for a 650mL bottle)

Evil Twin Kolata: Milkshake IPA with pineapple and coconut. Thes best kind of pina kolata. Starts sweet and ends dry, with good coconut tones, light fruitiness and a good base malt. ($6.79 for a 473mL tall can)

The Bruery Or Xata: A blonde ale made like a horchata! The addition of rice, cinnamon, and vanilla turn this beer magically into a creamy, summery drink with light spice and silky body. Drink cold! ($18.49 for a 750mL bottle)

Outcast the Forgetful Brewer: At the last minute, Outcast brewer Patrick decided to make a  stout inspired by a hazelnut spread, with big additions of hazelnuts cacao, and vanilla. This light-bodied stout, funny enough, has hints of coconut and light spice before the hazelnut kicks in with the slightly rich chocolate. ($19.19 for a 4-pack of tall cans)

Not too shabby, right? Unfortunately, there was a slight chill in the air this evening, and we don’t have a patio… but honestly my guests were as impressed with this lineup as I assume you are, and we all had a little trouble picking our favourites (though for some, that Or Xata was hands down the bee’s knees). But the real winner of the evening was the Orchard Wit, followed by Or Xata, and finally the Pink Boots NEPA. I was partial to the brett apricot myself, but I totally understand that it’s mellow, subtle quality is easily lost among all those super robust beers. I honestly don’t think there was a single loser in the lineup, so getting to taste through them made us the real winners.

So that’s about it for this tasting, the next you’ll hear from me is the first half of June’s new beers. So until then, cheers!

Twitter: @ShawnsBrewsCGY

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Rum Rebellion

by Comrade Hunter

Why do we call this class Rebellious Rums? Are rums rebellious? I don’t think so. If anything, rum is silky, soft, sweet, caressing, easy, fun … ho, what have we here? 69% Alcohol? What is the meaning of this? That isn’t rum, that’s pirate’s grog! Where is the sweetness, the caressing touch of my Zaya, my Zacapa

There won’t be any of that here. Time for a change, a mutiny, a rebellion of sorts. It is the time for REBELLIOUS RUMS!

This silly vignette aside, rum has stumbled upon this ridiculous portrayal in the last years. Why? Perhaps to cultivate a mass consumer appeal for the spirit, for a long while considered by some a struggling market. Where does rum fit in the spirits world? Is it a high-falutin brown spirit for only the most distinguished of palates, or is it a back bar spirit for cheap highballs and tiki drinks? Why can’t it be both? Rum can be extremely varied in style, and is, but the market has a preconceived notion of what rum is supposed to be: a sweet, syrupy drink that gives you terrible hangovers. Yes, it is made out of sugar, but no, it is not inherently sweet. Much of what distillers produce is quite the contrary; dry, savoury, oddball spirits that are so unique one couldn’t find a similar experience in anything else in the world. But as demand is for the more stereotypical rum, most mainstream producers shy away from such styles.

This tasting was intended to shed light on the other, darker, unvisited side of rum; the place which dwellers of the high seas only whisper about in the corners of dark, dank bars. Here is what we tried for Rebellious Rums, or, What Rum Ought To Be according to Hunter.

Plantation Nicaragua 2001
Starting off low and slow, this bottle is the Trojan Horse of the night. Get comfortable, this is what we all remember from our previous rum experiences. Nothing fancy, just an easy going, silky, deceptive dessert to get warmed up with. The beauty of rum is you start with dessert and move on to the main course following. Procured from an anonymous Nicaraguan distiller, likely Flor de Cana given the size of their operation, this rum is column distilled spirit adding to its overall sweetness. What makes plantation stand out as a whole is their practice of putting single origin rums in cognac barrels for the last part of maturation, adding wine and wood spice tones to the spirit. Imagine a banana flambee with layers of fruit sauce layered on top. Baked apple and the general assortment of spices, delicate cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and brown sugar. The most popular release of the night, and a generally favoured pick for the standard rum crowd. The sweetness of this product makes it easy for anyone to enjoy. $75

Plantation Over-poof 69%
A marriage of rums from Barbados, Jamaica and Guyana, this molasses-based over-proof was made with the intentions of emulating the old-school, traditional dark over-proof rums found in the exotic locales of the Caribbean and South America.  Big, rich, intense, an excellent concoction of robust flavours balanced out by the high alcohol content of the spirit, this is the kind of spirit that excels in expressing both sweet and balanced tones. What really makes this spirit of note is the wonderfully integrated Jamaican and Guyana influence, the latter being this sweet pouch tobacco character, thick with molasses, alongside the former bearing notes of soft Jamaican funk, reminiscing of old fruit skins sitting on the beach getting “ripe.” The notes of funk are vague at first, but make a remarkable appearance on the finish that leave one’s palate feeling just a poof of smoky funk. It perfectly cleans up the sweetness of the Guyanese and Barbadian influence, drying up the finish to perfection. Expertly crafted, and if it weren’t for the remarkable nature of the following rums this would have been in my top picks. Also, the price on this bottle is too good to be true. $51

Cadenhead Panama 9 Year
From our beloved independent bottler Cadenhead comes a plethora of limited release rums, all whacky, varied releases with tons of character. This first bottling, a Panamanian, amber coloured spirit comes packed with lots of life and glowing personality. I can’t tell you where this comes from, and given there isn’t any information on the bottle it would be a total shot in the dark to guess at the producer. The first thing one can expect from this bottle is a bright and nostalgic scent of freezies after being left out of the freezer for too long and liquifying. In their liquid form they are wonderfully pungent with fruit extract tones, the tangy orange and blue freezies coming to mind. My colleague Bryan from the wine side of the store told me that this bottling has loads of volatile acid in it, of which follow suit with that tangy, tingly, high toned near acetic nature of freezie juice. The candied nature of this Panamanian rum comes out second, developing as ginger in crystallized sugar, Turkish delight, ending on that tangy, near overripe mandarin orange character once more. I found this bottle quite interesting, and it really captures the less weird side of these Cadenhead rums. That said, I gun more for those weirdo releases and thus this bottling will remain a crowd favourite but does not necessarily earn a highly coveted Red Star. $125

Cadenhead Jamaica 14 Year
Once more, a misnomer for origin, but based on the distinct funky personality of this spirit it is likely be from the Hampden distillery (just a guess though). The funky character is developed from the introduction of the fermented liquid leftovers from distilling. These leftovers are full of life and character, imbuing the spirit with a ton of esters and character that can, I would assert, really only ever be found in Jamaican rum of this sort. The microclimate being of the most extreme importance, each of unfermented mash being spontaneously fermented by the ambient yeast and bacteria cultures. How cool is that? If it is not cool, you are not welcome here, see the exit at the top right corner of your screen. For smell, once more with vaguely overripe tropical fruit skins, pineapple slightly smoked by a diesel fed fire, well worn leather boots, insoles included, ah what the heck throw those in the fire too. The combination of petrol and organic tones is what in part makes this spirit so tantalizing. For those reading who know my passion for mezcal, you will understand the peculiarity of my appreciation for these funky, “hogo” driven spirits. This is not a try before you buy bottle; instead it is something everyone ought to force themselves into if they don’t immediately appreciate the glory that is funky Jamaican rum. For analogy, I didn’t find myself loving peated whisky the first time I tried it, but, over the period of a month the unique character of peated spirit grew on me. It is so unique that simply saying “its like sticking your head in campfire smoke” one misses out on a truly special experience. The same can be said for Jamaican rum. No life should be go without the wonder that is the Jamaican experience.

Cadenhead Diamond MPM 14 Year
Where to begin with this bold spirit. Starting with the producer, this spirit was created by Diamond Distillers, or, better known as Demerara Distillers Limited. Notable for crafting the El Dorado line of rum, DDL is a darling amongst the sweeter, dessert style “sipping” rums on the market. I say sipping in such a way to denote that to be perfectly frank, all rums are sipping rums if you are brave enough. The mere qualification of sweet, opulent, and hedonistic tones for a “sipping” rum is ludicrous given the extreme amount of variety to be found in the rum world. Shame on whoever qualifies a sipping rum so as to exclude so many interesting expressions of the spirit. The reason I move run into this tirade is due to the expectation that everything DDL produces must be of the ostentatiously sweet variety. Here is an exception to that rule and a wonderful one at that. I believe the MPM designation on the label refers to DDL’s Port Mourant still, a wooden pot still acquired from the days of old when Guyana was a thriving distilling community. Over the years as distillers shut down one by one, DDL acquired the various and unique stills from around the land; one of which being the ever unique, reflux intensive wooden pot still known as the Port Mourant still. The rich oils that are product of the Port Mourant show off musty, rustic, near antique in this bottling. But what does that mean? Imagine this story:

You are young once more, getting ready to go trick-or-treating, but you are without costume thematic treat bag. To find oneself a bag you venture up into the attic, and among the unfinished and ancient wooden rafters you find a burlap sack. The faint smell of hay on the bag, both damp and dusty; this will work fine for bagging candy. The first house on the block, the exciting smell of Autumnal decay, grass and leaves beginning to wilt, sweet earth, and finally, the first candies. What else could they be but those terrible, orange and black wrapped caramels that have existed since time immemorial. A bag full of these caramels, the intoxicating Autumn air, a delicate whiff of burlap, a faint memory of a spirit. $135

Cadenhead TMAH 12 Year
The true beast of the lineup. Though the Plantation overproof is a higher alcohol strength, this Trinidadian rum boasts a more potent punch even at 67.4%. The distiller is unknown to the best of my researching ability, but such information is not terribly interesting given the personality of this spirit. Expect a spirit full of tropical fruit, reminiscent of lychee jellies one can get in bubble tea, the bubble tea being of the sweet taro variety. Granulated demerara sugar encompasses all corners of this spirit, coating mango cubes and papaya alike. A bit of peach juice rounds out the fruit tones, leading into brandy soaked Maduro wrapped cigars. The palate follows a similar act but with the alcohol punching a ragged hole through all the sweetness. I couldn’t detect anything savoury about this spirit, instead the entirety of the experience is riddled with oily richness while being supported by rambunctious alcohol to space out the sweetness. Some staked that this spirit was too potent, to which I would disagree. Without the alcohol this rum would be a flabby mess of opulence; in other words, there needs to be some balancing force in rum to maintain its true beauty. This was one of my favourites of the night, and definitely a worthwhile contender for those stuck on “sipping” rums that want to broaden horizons. $150

Cadenhead TMAH 25 Year
The big mama to the 12 year, the familial resemblance is striking. What makes this stand out though is the remarkable age and strength of this bottling. Standing at 64.3%, this is no mere trifle of a rum. Full proof and at 25 years culminates in something remarkable, being, and I’m cringing in saying this because such different spirits are rarely worth analogizing, much like an similarly old scotch whisky. The oak influence on this bottling is intense, offering huge oak spice, cedar humidor, vanilla bean extract, ginger molasses cookies, treacle and butter tart tones all coming emanating in unison. This spirit is a cacophony of flavours are playing at the same time, the notes picked out on the 12 year sitting in the background, barely hidden by the veil of rich oak. This was the contending taster’s choice of the night, but for many reasons different than that of the Plantation. I found this release infinitely more interesting, with more structure to balance the opulent tones found throughout. If I had to choose I would go for the 12 year myself, but for those rum wary and looking to make their move from the many other fine brown spirits from around the world, this is a crown jewel that hearkens to something not entirely rum. Though I loathe the advertisements for unnamed tequila brand x not so much as asking but imploring you to order a tequila as your next scotch, of which is absolutely silly (online bait quip: Tequila Experts HATE Him!), but in this case I might say why not make your next Macallan 25 a 1 of only 4 to be had Trinidadian 25 year old rum? $355

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Scotch Malt Whisky Society of Canada Outturn for June 2018

So now it is June. We are already near the halfway point of 2018. The planet keeps spinning through the days and orbiting through the months with seemingly no inclination to stop and take a breather. Summer might not be officially underway but we have had some days where it feels like it is already here. Winter is remembered only as a quaint concept, at least until we get a freak snowfall in the middle of Stampede next month.

This past May was an impressive month for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of Canada. We hosted two separate Outturns over a two week period. One focused on the typical seven new single cask releases we showcase at the beginning of each month. The other was quite a bit different, featuring the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s first foray into Gin as well as an Armagnac, two Cognacs and a stellar Single Grain. All told there were a total of TWELVE new bottles released in the past month, with many still available to sample and purchase for Society Members.

That number of new green bottles will not be topped this month, but we do have seven more for your enjoyment, and the lineup includes some very unique bottles:

  • Two special Islay bottles from the 2018 Feis Isle
  • One special Speyside bottle from the Speyside Whisky Festival
  • This Speyside bottle also happens to be the first SMWS bottling from this distillery to make its way to Canada, and it is worth a try. This specific distillery was not well known until it was purchased last year by a group led by Billy Walker, famous for reviving Benriach, Glendronach, and Glenglassaugh Distillery over the past 15 years.
  • The lowest ABV in the lineup is still at an impressive 56.1%. The highest weighs in at a nice, round 65%.
  • Also in the lineup is bottling from a Lowlands distillery only seen a few times over the past couple of years.

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.

What does this all mean? What does it add up to? Will I ever stop stalling and padding out sentences and just get on with the bottle information already? Only time will tell, and you must find the patience to endure until then, for now, I am tempted to place more commas and become more heavy handed with the use of run-on sentences if only just to test you further. Words. Words. Words.

Just kidding! Read on below.

Twitter and Instagram: @sagelikefool
Instagram: one part of @kwmwhisky

This 14 year old Speysider is 56.5% after maturing in a refill hogshead
Flavour profile: Sweet, fruity & mellow
Outturn: 246 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “Tempted by the familiar aromas of fresh straw and old leather we ventured further to discover a world of citrusy treats. Lemon cheesecake along with lemon drizzle cake were initially dominant but opened the doors to elderflower sorbet and a very boozy trifle with a trickle of golden syrup and lashings of vanilla custard. The palate carried a peppery spice with crystallized ginger before turning to lemon peel and hot apple tart. Water presented sweeter and softer fruits with pineapple, toffee apples and jelly sweets. Floral elements appeared as parma violets and Turkish delight combined before finishing with seasoned wood dusted with muscovado sugar.” $166.99

This 16 year old from the Lowlands comes in at 58.2% and after 16 years in a 2nd fill bourbon hogshead it was transferred directly into a 1st fill charred ex-red wine hogshead for the remainder of its maturation
Flavour profile: Spicy & sweet
Outturn: 228 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “A soft sweet aroma greeted the Panel at first reminding us of mixed mini jelly fruit slices and marzipan combined with the freshness of crème de menthe Turkish delight. Neat we had a sweet chili peppery heat on the palate like a chili chocolate cupcake with a peppermint frosting. Water added marshmallow fluff, strawberry and vanilla ice cream and orange-spiced cranberry sauce on the nose, whilst to taste, now cinnamon and apple hot cross buns with a marzipan centre. After 16 years in a 2nd fill bourbon hogshead we transferred this whisky directly into a 1st fill charred ex-red wine hogshead for the remainder of its maturation.” $179.99

7.122 – HOLY MOLEY!
After 25 years in a refill hogshead this Speysider comes in at 56.3%
Flavour profile: Spicy & dry
Outturn: 227 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “Initial comment was ‘this one has something to tell.’ Starting off with an antique wooden jewellery box then a Manhattan cocktail using sweet vermouth and angostura bitters garnished with orange peel and maraschino cherries before moving on to maple syrup, ripe strawberries and chocolate fondant pudding. To taste, ‘Holy Moley’, sweet and spicy but at the same time thick and creamy. Flavours of ginger powder, damson jam and a rich chocolate and raspberry tart. With water like an erupting volcano releasing aromas of chocolate marshmallows, red currant coulis, fresh blood orange juice and crème anglaise and the taste – a truly remarkable experience.” $244.99

Bottled for the Speyfest Whisky Festival, this special-label bottling is limited to one per member and is the first release from distillery no. 107 for the Canadian branch of the SMWS
This 9 year old Speysider was matured in a refill Oloroso butt and comes in at 65%

Flavour profile: Spicy & dry
Outturn: 624 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “First we noticed the bright golden autumn reddish/brown leaf colour before the engrossing scent of an Andalusian gazpacho followed by Moroccan beef stew with figs, almonds, dried fruits, olives and plenty of red wine made us all lick our lips to try it. Big, chewy and meaty like a pot-roasted beef with prunes and balsamic vinegar served with basil and pine nuts garnished gnocchi. Water added that ‘Christmassy feel’ of mince pies with orange and almond pastry as well as chocolate covered raisins, whilst the taste was that of rich coffee and date walnut cake and in the finish, orange & honey glazed dry roasted macadamia nuts.” $154.99

This 14 year old Speysider was matured in a refill Chardonnay barrique and comes in at 58.2%
Flavour profile: Deep, rich & dried fruits
Outturn: 255 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “The first thing we noticed was the deep shiny auburn colour and as we poured it into the glass, the scent of polished leather and wood immediately filled the room. Then a glass of sumptuous well-aged Shiraz wine was served with plenty of red and black fruits (cherry and mulberry), along with rosehip and an enticing sweet herbal spice in the background. On the palate, spiced plum jam, dark chocolate covered stem ginger and an orange olive oil cake with candied walnuts. Water released a spiced cranberry and marzipan loaf with blueberry and licorice jam and the mouth-filling flavours of an almond, pistachio and Turkish delight m’hencha – a Moroccan ‘snake cake’.” $155.99

Bottled for the 2018 Islay Whisky Festival and limited to one bottle per member, this 11 year old is 58% after maturing in a refill hogshead
Flavour profile: Lightly peated
Outturn: 304 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “The sound of waves crashing against jagged rocks could be heard from the glass as a heavy mist of salty sea spray smacked the face like a slap from Poseidon’s glove. The smoke from burning heather whirled over rock pools before swirling around the thick tar that defiantly protected a sturdy wooden pier leaving lobster nets open to the full ravaging of the sea. The smoke permeated deep into our senses; a sweet reek that embraced salted caramel and the chewy familiarity of a charcoal pencil. Strong herbal notes stirred from the depths as fennel seeds spun with rosemary, sage and thyme before joining licorice stick dipped in salt on the finish.” $191.99

Bottled for the 2018 Islay Whisky Festival and limited to one bottle per member, this 13 year old comes in at 57.9% after maturing in a 2nd fill hogshead
Flavour profile: Peated
Outturn: 258 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “The nose was a maritime meander – waxed jackets by the seafood shack, beach bonfire burnt sticks and trawlers in the harbour – also coal-tar shampoo and one panellist got tea-tree, eucalyptus and mescal. The palate, notwithstanding Bakewell tarts and blackcurrant sweets, had powerful brush-strokes of smoke, ash and tar, burnt cork and salted liquorice – enough to satisfy the socks off any peat-freak. The reduced nose – oysters on a ferry, lemon bonbons, lavender, putty and Bovril. The palate now rewarded us with moist gingerbread, clove and salted pretzels – a night-cap dram to evoke ‘the tangle o’ the Isles’ and ensure Hebridean dreams.” $203.99

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New Beers for the Rest of May!

Alright, so we’re at the end of the month now. The sunny days are finally lasting until 9ish, and the heat has started pumping! I’m excited about summer, and all the tasty light, sour and fruity beers that come along with it. I think I have a few such things in this little update, but before I get there, I wanted to tell you about an exciting new Canadian brewer that will be hitting our shelves this week. I’m more than excited to try each and every one of their offerings, Burdock brewing out of Toronto has a number of well-crafted beers, but there are a few I’m a little more than intrigued by their beers which are inspired heavily by the wine industry and that is showcased quite a bit in some of the beers specifically coming into KWM! Take a quick read of what beers have just arrived, along with all the non-Burdock beers to arrive on the back half of May.


Saison du Must II ($14.79 for a 375mL bottle)

Three ($6.19 for a 355mL can)

July ($11.69 for a 375mL bottle)

Bumo ($19.99 for a 375mL bottle)

Brett Apricot ($14.79 for a 375mL bottle)

Auko ($13.99 for a 375mL bottle)

Ok, now here’s the rest.

Les Trois Mousquetaires Ceci N’est Pas un Gueuze ($22.99 for a 750mL bottle)

Knee Deep Breaking Bud ($5.79 for a 473mL tall can)

Crux Playwave Pale ($4.59 for a 355mL can)

Coronado Orange Avenue Wit ($9.59 for a 650mL bottle)

Gigantic Pinacoolada ($9.79 for a 500mL bottle)

Breakside Kids These Haze ($11.39 for a 650mL bottle)

Outcast Last Minute Stout ($19.19 for a 4-pack of tall cans)

Zero Issue Outlander Kolsch ($16.39 for a 4-pack of tall cans)

Fahr North Dunkelweisse ($5.19 for a 500mL bottle)

Coronado Peach Cruiser IPA ($9.59 for a 650mL bottle)

Founders KBS ($8.09 for a 350mL bottle)

And that’s it for May! Hope the month was great, but that the summer gets even better! Stay tuned for some excellent new beers through June including 2 Crows from Halifax!
Twitter: @ShawnsBrewsCGY

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Weirdo Wines

By Abigail

In this day an age, we pretty much stick to what we know; the average person drinks no more than 20 different varietals, that almost 0.001% of what varietals are grown in the world (not really, but just for dramatic effect). This was a tasting to explore some of the 99.999% of wines out there, and to get people interested in the weird and unknown.

Here’s what we tasted:

Movia Puro 2006 organic
This was a treat. An undisgorged 2006 sparkling rose from Slovenia. This was a fresh and funky wine, and a great way to start off the tasting, especially when Bryan kindly demonstrated to everyone how to disgorge your own bottle, which got everyone ready to try some wine. This 100% Pinot Noir was a light orange hue and a touch haze in the glass and was extremely fresh on the palate. $38.99

Domaine de l’Idylle Jacquere Old Vine
From the small region of Savoie, France comes this little gem of a wine. Jacquere is extremely popular within the region, given its bright acidity, and vibrant, yet slightly savoury palate. This wine is perfect for any cheese board, especially one that consists of Comte or other high-alpine cheeses. $23.99

Birichino Malvasia Bianca
Birichino is a small production coming from the cooler climate of the Central Coast in California, focusing on making wines with the perfect balance of perfume, poise, and puckishness. This Malvasia Bianco is something rather different than what we would regularly enjoy, with a minty freshness and notes of alpine herbs, blossom and a fruity finish, which creates a beautiful elegance and express wine. $28.99

Broc Cellars Love Rose
Broc Cellars is a newer, minimal intervention production coming from an urban winery in Berkeley, California. Broc Cellars makes are delicious wine, though sometimes they can be a touch expensive and even hard to find for us regular Joes and Janes. Because of this, they decided to create the Love wine label, which consists of the same values as their other wines but created with a more inexpensive and easy drinking style in mind. This rose consists of 90% Valgiguie 8% Zinfandel and 2% Trousseau, which produces a beautifully dry, crisp and fruity wine. $33.99

Menti Monte del Cuca
A Weirdo Wine tasting would not be complete without some orange wine! Menti is a fantastic production coming from Northern Italy, with focus on minimal intervention, organic and biodynamic agriculture.  If you have not experienced orange wine yet, Menti is a great place to start. It is well-balanced and has everything you would expect from a wine made from white grapes (fruit, floral, freshness), but it also has those added notes from the skin maceration (tannin, a touch more body, and a hint of funky character on the nose and palate). This wine is made from 100% Garganega, resulting in an orange wine that has beautiful aromatics and freshness on the palate. That skin maceration allows for some fine tannins to develop, adding extra complexity, grip, and texture to the wine. $37.99

Domaine Abbatucci Faustine Rouge
From the small French Island of Corsica, Comte Abbatucci is a small but mighty production. Starting as a conversation site for Corsican varietals in the 1960’s, it was only a matter of time before they started to produce wine. Since then, they have gained global popularity. Their Faustine Red consists of 70% Sciaccarellu, 30% Niellucciu, which creates an extremely elegant and charming wine. This bottle was the favourite of the evening as voted by the attendees. $39.99

VineMind Shiraz Malbec
A newer production behind the makers of Adeline and Some Young Punks. VineMind also focuses on organics and minimal intervention in the vineyard. This wine is different than you would expect from a shiraz malbec; elegant and delicate and full of nuance. It is the perfect red for summer (I recommend having this ice cold on the patio!). This was the runner-up favourite of the evening. $35.99

Thank you to everyone who attended, and a special thank you to Peasant Cheese!!

- Abi
Twitter: @babiller_de_vin
Instagram: @abigailjsayer

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Cinco de Mezcal – Mexico’s True Spirit

by Comrade Hunter

In previous years, we here at the Kensington Wine Market have celebrated Cinco de Mayo by hosting a class showcasing Mexico’s inextricable spirit: tequila. But, as those of insatiable mind and palate have hunted for new and exciting spirit experiences, a spirit has emerged in our midst captivating the interest of a small but devout following here in Calgary. This spirit, the spiritual predecessor to tequila, has endowed tequila with many of the methods of production that make tequila the special sort of spirit it is today.

To clear the air of this unnecessary vagueness, the spirit I speak of is mezcal, the beautiful result of mixing terroir and distillation into one. For the uninitiated, like myself as of 2½ years ago, I was under the impression that those characteristics of terroir that defined wine were mutually exclusive from distillation. Each defined by a very unique and distinct process, the worlds of each appeared unreconcilable. Mezcal shows that wrong, bringing a peculiar harmony to each world of expression, offering micro-climate distinctions, varietal variations among the foundational ingredient, i.e., the agave, quirky distilling apparatuses and methods that add to the vast variation, and lastly, but not exhaustively, pure expressions unaffected by barrel ageing, the spirit’s unique character a strict result of the many and varied factors that go into the production of mezcal. If this burdensome wall of text has yet to convince you, really, don’t take my gushing recommendation to try it; but, do yourself a favour and get thee to a mezcal-(ery). I give this recommendation tentatively though, for it isn’t apparent to all exactly what there is to like about mezcal immediately; and perhaps, like most things in life, it isn’t for everyone. That’s okay, do not fret, we can’t all enjoy the best things in life equally. And as they say, we can’t all have good taste, and for those that don’t, there will always be tequila. My warmest regards during these lovely summer days, I hope this finds you with mezcal in hand and on a sunny patio. In the following, I will describe the various mezcals we tried as a congregation of devotees to this magical spirit, and if any of them catch your interest come down to the store to give it a taste. Here is what we tried for Cinco de Mezcal.

Mezcal Union – Joven Espadin & Cirial Marriage
As the name implies, this bottling is procured from a cooperative of Mescaleros and bottled under one label. Particularly, this bottling is their flagship release and serves as an introduction to the Mezcal Union range. What is peculiar about this bottling is that it uses both Espadin and Cirial agave varietals to concoct the spirit. In contrast to most introduction bottlings which generally use the more prominent espadin agave varietal as the sole agave, this Union bottling offers a slightly more nuanced style of mezcal for their entry level. It would seem that this combination brings about a softer, more approachable character to the spirit. In this humble mezcal enthusiast’s opinion, this release is a wonderful introduction to those mezcal-wary folk that have yet to be convinced of this spirit’s quality. The smoke characteristics expected of mezcal are softer than usual, offering more fruity, tropical overtones. Expect notes of tropical fruit salad, pineapple, mango, freshly picked and vibrant. Further, whiffs of smoke, only trace, like a stick burnt to charcoal and left out overnight in a rainfall, damp and vaguely fired. For the price point, this release is standout and a worthwhile buy for an entry level mezcal. $62.99

Creyente Mezcal – Joven Espadin
I feel this is one of those bottlings that strives for visual appeal more so than spirit quality. That is not to say that Creyente is a bad mezcal, but I feel for the price point to quality ratio, there are other less stylishly packaged mezcals that offer a similar quality spirit for less money. But to caution those who read this, I also favour full flavoured, bolder expressions of mezcal. It is noted that this bottling is intended as a softer, more approachable style of mezcal that contains the fierceness of the creature depicted on the label (a chimera of sorts). One thing I really appreciate in mezcal is its potency of characteristics, its tones generally pungent and intense. In the previously mentioned mezcal, the fusion of potency with an approachable style is tenable; one can achieve a fine balance between these seemingly opposed natures and I would forward that is the sign of a great Mescalero. Overall, the Creyente is a decent entry level, new to mezcal oriented spirit. The flashy packaging will stand out on your shelf, and the spirit won’t disappoint those looking for an easy to drink summer afternoon spirit. $69.99

Pelton de la Muerta – Joven Espadin
The epitome of a mezcal mixer, this spirit belongs in a margarita mix. You could make a case for the Pelton saying that it is decent enough to drink on its own, and sure, but I feel that most spirits at fifty dollars should have that merit. What it lacks is anything special that makes it distinct, it really just tastes like a run of the mill mezcal, and to be perfectly honest I’m pretty sure that is what the folks at Pelton are going for. The mezcal is fine enough, but its price point is an obvious give away for what one ought to expect from the bottle. The main selling point of this one is the price, as it is a difficult endeavour to find decent mezcal for this price. Taste wise, expect notes of pepper, ashy smoke, a dry, earthen, dustiness, permanent marker, and some tones of crushed foliage, a chlorophyll-like character. $48

Bruxo No.1 – Joven Espadin
My favourite of the first four, the Bruxo offered something a little peculiar to the usual, entry-level mezcals available on the market. Imagine tones of fresh clay pottery, a wharf in the summertime, as in damp, old wood, crushed lemon, maybe edging on verbena, and intermittent whiffs of petrochemical or diesel tones. A fairly vibrant and expressive release, and once more at a very reasonable price. The difficulty with these entry level releases is that most producers are limited to espadin as the agave varietal given that it is one of the only farm-cultivated agaves available, most others needing to be foraged from the wild. This leaves the expressions of the mezcals slightly more limited to factors of distiller technique, distilling apparatus, and perhaps one could say espadin terroir, as in where were the espadin agaves grown. With this in mind, the Bruxo does a fine job of offering a quality take on something that is a little more limited in expression. I would further note that the Bruxo range, of which includes an interesting Pechuga (a special celebration mezcal that is distilled with a turkey breast in the still), alongside a handful of other releases that are very quality for being under the $100 mark. Something to keep your eyes out for. $60

Mezcal Vago – Joven Mexicano
Following our foray into the entry-level mezcals, we moved on to four more exotic expressions. The usage of unique, rare, and generally non-farmed, foraged only agaves offers spirit experiences so unique that each bottling of these will offer a singular, unable to be replicated experience. This is where, in my opinion, mezcal shines its finest. The spirit works as an expression of both terroir and distillation, a hybrid that is seemingly peculiar to mezcal and the condition which makes it so extremely interesting. As the agaves may come in a multitude of varietals, each with their own personality and subject to the varied terroirs, the expression of each distinct varietal will be varied even among mezcals made with the very same varietal. Without boring much more into this matter, the Vago Mexicano release is a true beauty, featuring a drier, more herbaceous, style of mezcal. The usage of copper pot stills opposed to the more traditional clay pot stills offers a more clean, vibrant and high toned spirit. Sage and dried flowers on the nose, the smoke on the nose is like brushfire, dry, dead wood. Sweet tones develop on the palate alongside a minty coolness, touches of smoked vanilla bean and charred cedar developing amidst the now black peppery herb tones. Usually, I am not as excited by these copper pot stilled releases as they offer a leaner, more polished mezcal that is less true to the ancestral method (clay pot stilled), but this release is superb and a fine example of this Mescalero’s expertise. To note on the varietal, this is the very first Mexicano varietal mezcal I have had, and I would be curious to know whether this bottling’s personality is more driven by the Mescalero’s techniques or by the varietal. Of the four more exotic releases this bottling was my second favourite, alongside coming in third for the People’s Choice of the night. $135

Los Siete Misterios – Joven Arroqeuno
Arroqueno as a varietal is quite uncanny. It takes quite a while to mature an Arroqueno agave to full maturity and/or ripeness (under best conditions 15 years, under more typical conditions 20 years plus). Further, Arroqueno is the biological mother to the espadin varietal, and thus it offers some similar characteristics as far as tasting notes go for each. The major difference is that after 15 to 20 long years of maturation the Arroqueno Agave becomes massive, full of starches ready to be converted into sugars by the agave cooking process. Expect a slightly sweeter, richer, more oily experience from this varietal, keeping in mind that no rule holds Mezcal in its place. Variation is the name of the game, and as I chose this bottle I realized I had two unique batches of Arroqueno from Los Siete on my hands at the beginning of the tasting; one in which there were 940 bottles produced, another in which only 42 were. I can only imagine the variation between the two of them would have been immense and truly wished I could have opened them both to try each side by side. The tasting budget sadly did not permit, alongside the fact we were already pouring eight different mezcals. So I had to settle for only one. The larger batch release has notes of durian, seaside decomposition, wet cement, overripe mango, brine, menthol, tobacco ash, five cent bubble-gums, and a hint of damp moss thrown over the fire. Very interesting, one of the quirkier mezcals I have had to date and I hope to try more in the future. $130

Los Siete Misterios – Tobala Joven
Another rare varietal, Tobala is considered to be a bit of a currency in the mezcal making world. The reason being that Tobala is exceedingly rare, growing in only very distinct microclimates and the agave itself being quite a bit smaller than most other varietals. Having read that the standard Espadin, which as a reminder is mostly farmed opposed to foraged like the Tobala, grows to an average size of 100 kilograms, the Tobala at maximum reaches half that, topping out at 50 kilograms at optimal maturity. Lastly, Tobala typically takes a bit longer to reach this stage, reaching maximum maturity around 12-15 years. All said, Tobala is a real treat to taste, the style being similar to Arroqueno in sweetness, but a little more refined, offering an elegant mezcal experience. This release is full of perfume, tortilla chip, floral gardens in the middle of spring bloom. Imagine oneself also doing spring cleaning in the flower garden, digging up dirt and weeds, the smell of greenery and moist, sweet earth. The smoke is exceedingly clean, as if it wasn’t in one’s immediate vicinity but nearby, maybe a firepit just starting up in the neighbourhood. You can’t tell exactly where it is, but the air is ripe with dry, savoury sweet wood smoke. Second favourite of the class, and a close runner-up for myself. $130

Los Siete Misterios – Coyote Joven
Like the above mentioned Mexicano, this is the very first coyote mezcal I have had and it is a bomb. Like the wrapping together of the Tobala sweetness and the Mexicano herbaceousness, this was the true star of the night. Not only was this my favourite release of the evening, this coyote joins the canon of my top 10 favourite mezcals. I really was not expecting something this remarkably stunning when I selected this bottle, but this release is something to marvel at. As per the usual fare of my tastings, I recommend you come in to try this one. Sometimes words do not do justice when it comes to certain spirits, and I think this not a failure of vocabulary for there are many flourishing words one could use to describe the experience, but instead a failure of words. Some experiences are special, those that resonate a certain way and give a certain feeling. And if this doesn’t get your blood pumping, you are lost to me. $145


The internet curfew airhorn is going off, and it is time your spirit comrade signs out from this log. I hope the mezcal in your glasses finds you well, and that the Censor does not find you in possession of this transmission.

End log.



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New beers for the first half of May!

Hello thirsty people!

I hope you all made it out to Beerfest this year. I had a blast seeing some friends, old and new. Tried some pretty tasty beers as well I might add! It’s a great opportunity for me to get some ideas for new stuff to bring to you fine folks! In this small post, I have most of the fun new beers brought in for the first half of may. Some are limited, so I wouldn’t wait if you any of these sound tasty. Enough of my blabbering, take a look at what came in!

New Evil Twin beers!

Coffeenade coffee lemon IPA($7.19, 355mL can)

Rainbownade IPA with a ton of fruit added($7.69, 355mL can)

Kolata Pineapple, coconut, lactose($6.79 for a 473mL tall can)

Nasty Trunks ($6.79 473mL tall can)

The rest!

Collective Arts Dark Fruit Gose Tons of dark fruit, limited quantities ($5.09, 473mL tall can)

Knee Deep Tahoe Deep ($6.59, 473mL tall can)

Knee Deep NE Auburn ($6.59, 473mL tall can)

Muksoka Summerweisse Tropical Wheat ($4.39, 473mL tall can)

Muksoka Cool as Cuke ($4.39, 473mL tall can)

Rogue Kulture Clash (Imperial blonde blended with Kombucha) ($18.29, 750mL bottle)

New Belgium Tartastic Strawberry-Lemon ($21.99, 6-pack bottles)

Bridge It’s Wit ($9.59, 650mL bottle)

The Bruery The Wanderer For fans of Russian River Consecration ($17.69, 375mL bottle)

The Bruery Frucht: Raspberry ($12.29, 375mL bottle)

Ribstone Creek Roggenbier ($10.79, 650mL bottle)

Moody Sublime Pineapple Heffe ($9.19, 650mL bottle)

These have been some of the most colourfull beers I’ve seen in a while, so the shelves are super attractive right now. That’s about all I have to give at the moment, except for maybe a tease of what may come. In the near future, we’ll be seeing some interesting and amazing beers from Toronto’s own Burdock, as well as 2 Crows from the east coast. Finally, this week and next will see a few cases of American cult beer Founder’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout! This is the first time it’ll be available in Alberta, and you better believe it won’t last. Feel free to send me a request for a bottle or two

Ok, that’s all I’m going to say for this week. I’ll finish off May’s new beers in the near future! Cheers!



Twitter: @ShawnsBrewsCGY

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Scotch Malt Whisky Society of Canada Spirits Release

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has been on our shelves and in Canada for over 6 years now. Earlier this month was the 79th monthly Outturn and the Canadian chapter of the SMWS has brought in around 500 single cask releases over that time.

Since its inception 35 years ago in 1983, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society has primarily bottled Single Malt Scotch from single casks, at cask strength and un-chill filtered with no colouring added. They have bottled Single Grain Scotch from distilleries all over Scotland as well. Over the years this singular focus has expanded to include bottlings from numerous distilleries outside of Scotland such as Ireland, Japan, India, and the USA. Nothing has been bottled from Canada yet though…

They have also expanded into bottling other barrel-aged spirits such as Rum, Cognac, and Armagnac. The Society also recently released its first Blended Malt.

And now we have before us its first Spirits release. Five bottles have come to Canada for this special release, and only one of them is a Scotch. Even more curious: one of them, of all things, is a Gin.

Before leaving you with the tasting notes I want to thank everybody who attended these special SMWS tastings as well as Peasant Cheese for providing the small bite compliments for us to nibble on during.


GN1.1: Gee wiz
The Society’s very first gin from a distillery in Glasgow and coming in at 50.1% after spending a few months in a 2nd fill barrel
Outturn: 255 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “The very clean, green and fresh aroma of juniper was soon followed by lime juice with a dash of eucalyptus syrup and a hint of sweetness from sugar coated lemon flavoured candy. Plenty of sweet perfumed flavours greeted us on the palate neat gently balanced with green peppercorns preserved in brine and a sprinkling of Herbs de Provence. Diluted, we got transported into a pine forest by the sea with Dover sole being prepared using chopped fresh herbs, fleur de sel and grated lemon zest, whilst in the finish it reminded us of a sweet/salty fresh lemon soda.” $102

A2.1: Amarena amaretti
This 6 year old Armagnac is 57.5% after maturing in an Armagnac barrel
Outturn: 573 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “The nose draws you in with enticing sweetness and fragrant fruits – stewed plums, ripe figs, Amarena cherries, dark chocolate, marzipan and plum jam. It later develops toffee, cola cubes and Liquorice Allsorts, with an intriguing background of leather, tobacco, resinous wood and Persian rug shops. The palate is complex and satisfying, with a lively tongue tingle of orange soda and woody spice (nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, anise, toasted oak). The fruits are earthier now – prunes, syrup of figs, orange oil and dark cherries in syrup, with an interesting undertow of black tea and Amaretti biscuits.” $198

C4.1: A tantalizing tightrope
This XO Cognac comes in at 57.5%
Outturn: 478 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “The panel found this a most sophisticated nectar with light and fruity pear drops, fermenting apples, gooseberries and dessert pears with floral lavender oil, violets and a twist of fresh eucalyptus leaves. Then heady linseed oil on printer paper, artist’s varnish and almond oil came to the fore closely followed by freshly sawn pine wood and a dew sprinkled Limousin oak forest at dawn. The superbly clean palate trod a thin tightrope between fruity and dry as black cherries, fresh pomegranate, physalis and chili heat performed their dance. With water came herbal notes of rosemary and sage with rhubarb liqueur and dusty tannins.” $210

C3.2: Strolling through bliss
This XO Cognac comes in at 60.9%
Outturn: 554 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “Strolling past a lady’s new oak dressing table in a glorious summertime garden, the air carried sweet scents of delicate perfume on a silk scarf with a cloud of dusty talcum powder that blended with the floral bouquet from the beds of carnations, geraniums and pink roses. Wild flowers gave way to rosemary and lots of fresh mint surrounded by coconut matting, juniper berries and angelica. There was a wicker basket containing fresh carrots, still clad in dry earth that sat beneath an apple tree. Opening a pack of praline chocolates we sat beneath a tree of black cherries to shelter from the hot sun.” $220

G4.14: Absolute enchantment
This 33 year old single grain whisky comes in at 50% and after 32 years in ex-bourbon wood we transferred this to a 2nd fill toasted oak hogshead for the remainder of its maturation
Flavour profile: Old & dignified
Outturn: 178 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “This was an absolute enchantment – attractive, balanced, vibrant and full of interest. The nose had banana toffee, crème caramel, cinnamon swirls and butterscotch; with additional hints of fresh wood, apricots, porridge and antiseptic. The palate echoed that sweetness (chocolate, fudge, custard creams) but also found undertones of tobacco, Fisherman’s Friends, spiced rum, nutmeg, orange peel and sugar-coated fennel seeds. The reduced nose added crystallized ginger, demerara, iced caramels and vanilla. On the palate – coffee and walnut ice-cream mixed with understated muscle rub – easy-drinking, complex and relaxing. After 32 years in ex-bourbon wood we transferred this to a 2nd fill toasted oak hogshead.” $260

Many SMWS bottles tend to sell out fast due to popularity. If you are looking for an older release it might still be available though. You can check out what we have in stock here. If any SMWS bottles show as being out of stock on our website please contact us – we might be able to get more.

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