Kensington Wine Market Whisky Week(s) Coming Up!

Autumn is in full swing, the leaves are falling, the weather has started to turn and Scotch whisky brand ambassadors are stirring from their summer vacations. Legend has it that if they don’t see their shadow (more often than not) that sparks the instinctive urge to migrate to Canada for the whisky tasting season. The season is short, but fruitful.

We’ve already seen a few early birds here at Kensington Wine Market this year. Wee Willie Tait from the Isle of Jura was here in September showcasing one of Scotland’s loneliest distilleries. He was followed just a few week later by the legendary Jim McEwan of Bruichladdich fame. Midway through last week the ever charming Georgie Bell from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society was in town, and just this past Friday we hosted Stewart Buchanan of BenRiach and Glendronach Distilleries at Buchanans Chophouse. We sampled some incredible whiskies with all four, like the Jura 1977 Juar, Bruichladdich 407 PX, Scotch Malt Whisky Society 7.80: Dapper Dan Meets Holly Hunter and the BenRiach 1983 Cask 296. But this was just a taste of what’s to come!

There is some room for the general public at two Scotch Malt Whisky Society November release tastings at Kensington Wine Market on Thursday October 31 at 6 & 8PM. Our first ever Halloween Society tastings may be spooktacular, but costumes are optional. Normally held on the first Friday of the month, they had to be bumbed this time around due to the Bowmore on the Rockies weekend (see below). This is a great opportunity for non-members to come check out what the Society has to offer, as these tastings normally sell out to members before the general public has a chance to register. More info on the Scotch Malt Whisky Society can be found at .

The Brand Ambassador migration is forecast to hit peak intensity beginning November 1-3 at Bowmore on the Rockies weekend in Banff, with Jamie MacKenzie and Iain McCallum of Morrison Bowmore Distillers. Monday November 4 James Robertson of Tullibardine Distillery will be in the house for a Tullibardine vertical tasting featuring the new range and at least one older offering. The following night, Tuesday November 5, it is Ranald Watson of Springbank Distillery’s turn to wow us with whiskies from their Springbank, Kilkerran, Hazelburn lines, and if the stars align some new Cadenhead whiskies! Fast forward a couple days and we have Anthony Wills of Kilchoman for a “happy hour tasting”. On Friday November 8 it is the gentlemanly Michael Urquhart’s turn to host a Benromach / Gordon & MacPhail Dinner for us at Buchanan’s Chophouse. Finally, the week will be capped off by a George Grant Glenfarclas tasting extravaganza at 6PM November 9.

Our Whisky Week(s) doesn’t truly come to an end until our Sold Out Fall Single Malt Festival on Thursday November 14th. 100 whiskies and 100 participants. This event will cap two weeks of intensive whisky tastings (training), all told, 7 different events and 10 total tastings. A few of these events have already sold out ( so I won’t go into detail on them), like the Fall Festival and the Benromach / Gordon & MacPhail dinner, but there is still some room in a few of the others.  Details on each of these events follows below.

Scotch Malt Whisky Society November First Friday Tastings

Thursday October 31st 6PM & 8PM – $45 / 35 (members)

Kensington Wine Market is the exclusive Alberta retailer for the whiskies bottled by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, the world’s largest whisky club. Every month, usually on the first Friday of the month we hold 2-3 “First Friday” tastings to highlight the new whiskies being released. The Society selects individual casks to be bottled exclusively for their members. SMWS whiskies are always bottled at cask strength, from a larger range of distilleries than any other independent bottler. Membership in the Society costs $230 for the first year, including a new member kit, and renewal, through the Society, is $120. Members receive a quarterly whisky magazine called Unfiltered and monthly bottling updates called Outturns. For more information on the Scotch Malt Whisky Society please visit: The Scotch Malt Whisky Society tastings are a bargain at $35 for members and $45 for guests. At the time of writing we have 4 spots available for the Thursday Octotber 31 6PM tasting and a few more for the 8PM seating. Call 403-283-8000 to register.

Bowmore on the Rockies – Nov 1-3

We’re relocating to the scenic environs of Canada’s first National Park, Banff Alberta,  for the Bowmore on the Rockies Weekend November 1st & 2nd. The two day event features 4 tastings including the Bowmore, Auchentoshan and Glen Garioch ranges, as well as a super premium tasting that is truly once in a lifetime. Paired with the final dinner, we will sample the Bowmore 1964 Trilogy (Black, White & Gold) as well as one of the original Bowmore Black’s from the 1990′s and the Bowmore 1964 Fino released last year. This epic range of whiskies, if you could even put your hands on them, could set you back as much as $40,000.00. There are still two spots available for what will be a very memorable event. The price, single occupancy, is $1350.00 +GST, including: 2 night’s at the Rimrock Hotel, two dinners, two breakfasts, a lunch, the four tastings and complimentary tickets to the Banff Film Festival.

For more information on Bowmore on the Rockies please visit or to register: .

Tullibardine Distillery w/ James Roberston – Mon Nov 4 – 7PM – $30

Tullibardine’s Brand Ambassador James Robertson’s 2nd home must be Alberta. He must spend nearly a month out of every year in this province promoting his brand. The Blackford distillery is just a few miles down the road from the original Glen Eagles golf course, and at the side of the A9, it is one of the most accessible distilleries in Scotland. The distillery was bought about a year ago by a French company, and it has gone through a rebranding. We will sample the whole new range as well as at least one older expression with Mr. Robertson at the helm. Whiskies to be sampled:

  1. Tullibardine Sovereign – $55.99
  2. Tullibardine 225 Sauternes Finish – $61.49
  3. Tullibardine 228 Burgundy Finish – $61.49
  4. Tullibardine 400 Sherry Finish – $61.49
  5. Tullibardine 20 Year – $125.99
  6. Tullibardine 25 Year – $236.49
  7. And an older expression TBA!

Call 403-283-8000 to purchase tickets or visit:

Springbank Distillery w/ Ranald Watson – Tue Nov 5 – 7PM – $35

Campbeltown’s Sprigbank is Scotland’s oldest family owned distillery, and also the Kintyre peninsula town’s largest employer. In addition to Springbank the parent company,  J.A. Mitchel, also owns the Glengyle Distillery, producer of Kilkerran single malt and William Cadenhead, Scotland’s Oldest Independent bottler. We are very privileged to be hosting their travelling Brand Ambassador Ranald Watson for a tasting at KWM on Tuesday November 5. Ranald will guide us through a range of whiskies from Springbank, Kilkerran and Cadenhead including a 1988 Highland Park, 1977 Littlemill, the newest incarnation of Campbeltown Loch 21 Year and a Springbank cask bottled exclusively for Alberta!

Call 403-283-8000 to purchase tickets or visit:

Kilchoman Distillery w/ Anthony Wills – Thr Nov 7 – 5PM – $20

Hard as it may be to believe, Kilchoman is only a few years away from celebrating its 10th Anniversary. I find this difficult to fathom for opposing reasons. On the one hand, because I remember the hype surrounding the launch of the distillery’s first whisky. On the other because it is hard to imagine the Islay whisky landscape without it, it is established. Owner/Director Anthony Wills will be with us for a Happy Hour Kilchoman tasting on November 7, featuring some very peaty drams from his cult distillery. This will also be your first chance to sample a new KWM cask of Kilchoman, currently en-route from Scotland!

Call 403-283-8000 to purchase tickets or visit:

Glenfarclas Distillery w/ George Grant – Sat Nov 9 6PM – $50

What can you say about the enigmatic George Grant, other than if you’ve never been to one of his tastings, and heard his tales, you owe it to yourself to come and hear him out! On top of that, I can give you another, even more compelling reason, because we’ve going to be pouring a fabulous lineup of whiskies from the distillery, including a number of Family Cask vintage expressions, the new 25 Year Quarter Cask, and the 105 Cask Strength 25 Year.

Call 403-283-8000 to purchase tickets or visit:

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