Day 20 of the 2019 KWM Whisky Advent Calendar – Ballachin 10 year Old

by Evan

Day twenty is here! If you are keeping up in real-time with our 2019 KWM Whisky Calendar, that means Christmas is only five doors days away now. Perhaps you are now slowly becoming more content, as work is done (or nearly done) and your holiday has possibly started. Or conversely, a state of panic might now be activated, as you realize how much shopping for gifts and holiday get-togethers still needs to be done. Maybe you are capable of emotionally multi-tasking and feel both The Dread and The Calm at the same time? That seems to be my personal base level, which I run on 24/7 regardless of the season. Does that make it the norm or am I just a walking and talking contradiction? I don’t really have time to find out, so I will roll with it.

Back to Edradour Distillery for Day 20!

Where was I? Right – what lies in wait for us behind door twenty, just waiting to pounce? Open it up and take a look! We going to Edradour Distillery for the second time this Calendar, but this time we are going peaty with Ballechin 10 Year Old. Continue reading

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Day 19 of the 2019 KWM Whisky Advent Calendar – Rock Island Blended Malt Scotch Whisky

by Evan

We did it, everybody! We made it back to Scotland. Does it feel like it has been a while since we have been here for a mini bottle? We have just spent four days travelling through other parts of the world for whisky. Hopefully, you aren’t feeling jet-lagged by our whisky travels or burnt out by the pre-holiday rush. Even if you are, lets, sit back, relax, and delve into the Rock Island Blended Malt for day nineteen of our 2019 KWM Whisky Calendar.

Rock Island is a Blended Malt Scotch produced by Douglas Laing, who you may remember from day six’s The Epicurean. Like the Epicurean, Rock Island is also part of the company’s Remarkable Regional Malts line. There are two older siblings to Rock Island currently available as well: the limited Rock Island 10 Year Old, and the even more limited Rock Island 21 Year Old of which only 4200 bottles were produced for the world. Continue reading

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Day 18 of the 2019 KWM Whisky Advent Calendar – Millstone Peated PX Cask

by Evan

In the past two days, we have visited the United States and Canada for our whisky adventures. Today, for door number eighteen, out continuing excursion brings us to the Netherlands. Pull that bottle from its hidey-hole and you will find it to be the Millstone Peated PX Sherry Cask.

The Zuidam Distillery was founded in 1975 in Baarle Nassau , which lies in the southern Netherlands near the border it shares with Belgium The Founder, Fred van Zuidam, had accumulated two decades of previous experience in spirits production before deciding to make a go of it on his own. Under his care, the distillery started by making a line of premium liqueurs using natural ingredients, from grain to fruit to herbs and spices used. This methodology continues to this day, as Zuidam spirits are made with no artificial colouring or flavouring. This goes for all of their products, be it their Cassis Liqueur (which is delicious by the way), Apple Flavoured Gin, Dutch Courage Old Tom Gin, Premium Genever, or Single Malt Whiskies.

Continue reading

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Day 17 of the 2019 KWM Whisky Advent Calendar – Shelter Point Smoke Point Single Malt Whisky

by Evan

We are travelling north for Day Seventeen of the 2019 KWM Whisky Calendar, leaving yesterday’s Bourbon and the United States behind and heading to Canada. Specifically, today’s whisky takes us to Shelter Point Distillery.

Located on a farm halfway between Comox and Campbell River on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Shelter point has been laying down spirit in casks to eventually become whisky since June of 2011. They source much of the barley used from their own farm…

Shelter Point is first and foremost a farm. At the moment the berry sales to jam makers like Smuckers are really what’s paying the bills. The farm also grows barley and has a small menagerie of farm animals. Most of the animals aren’t really there for the farm as much as they are to delight owner Patrick Evan’s Grandchildren. And to perhaps one day populate an ark. Continue reading

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Day 16 of the 2019 KWM Whisky Advent Calendar – Knob Creek Small Batch Bourbon

by Evan

Wot’s this now? Another Bourbon in our 2019 Whiskey Advent Calendar? This is beyond the pale! My influence has gone too far! Or has it not gone far enough? Lets take a look at this cute mini bottle of Knob Creek Small Batch Bourbon and find out.

Knob Creek is brought to us by Jim Beam Distillery of Clermont, Kentucky. Jim Beam is probably the most famous and recognized brand when it comes to Bourbon. Well, other than Jack Daniel’s. Okay, let go with this: Jim Beam is probably the most famous and recognized brand when it comes to Kentucky Bourbon. The Jim Beam Distillery traces its history back to 1795, with a hiccup in the early 20th century caused by prohibition. The surname Beam plays a major role not only in this distillery but also in a few other distilleries around Kentucky, including Heaven Hill. Jim Beam was actually James B. Beam, and he was the person that got the business going again after prohibition ended.

The Knob Creek brand was originally introduced with this bottle: the 100 Proof Small Batch back in 1992. The 120 Proof Knob Creek Single Barrel joined the ranks in 2010, and the Knob Creek Rye joined the duo to make it a trio in 2012. In the past two years, we have seen a few special releases hit the shelves at our shop as well, mostly focusing on the Rye side of things. But this one is a Bourbon, so let’s stick to talking about that. Continue reading

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Day 15 of the 2019 KWM Whisky Advent Calendar – Loch Lomond 18 Year

by Evan

Wow, time flies! We are now into our third week of the 2019 KWM Whisky Calendar! Let’s open door number fifteen to celebrate by tasting the Loch Lomond 18 Year Old. We have already tasted two bottlings from this distillery with Day One’s Inchmurrin 18 and Day Seven’s Inchmoan 12.

With any other distillery, having a third bottle in 15 days would be boring and repetitive, but this is Loch Lomond we are talking about. This is a distillery that creates so many styles of whisky it might be bipolar, have multiple personality disorder, or perhaps even a combination of both. Loch Lomond as a label is the third official style of whisky that the distillery currently puts out. It is purported to be rich and peaty in nature, but not quite as peaty as releases under the Inchmoan label.

Even with the company that owns Loch Lomond breaking things down into a minuscule three releases, this is all befuddling. This is likely what has recently drawn me to this distillery so much recently. I enjoy the weirdness of it all, and trying to make sense of the madness. I definitely don’t have a perfect understanding of the different profiles they create, but that is part of the charm. Continue reading

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Day 14 of the 2019 KWM Whisky Advent Calendar – Ardbeg An Oa

by Evan

Friday the 13th is over and now we are onto Saturday. Only 10 days ’til Christmas… Eve. If you open door number 14 on your KWM Whisky Calendar, you will see we are heading from France to Islay with today’s mini – the Ardbeg An Oa.

What to say about Ardbeg? I love all Islay whisky and I do enjoy Ardbeg as well, but I am possibly underwhelming in my relative pragmatism for the distillery. Compared to the childlike enthusiasm for it that Andrew exhibits or the downright religious fervour Curt expresses for Ardbeg, I may come across as a wet blanket.

Of the three of us, I am the least qualified to extol the virtues of this distillery. Don’t get me wrong – I do enjoy Ardbeg and its bottlings – especially its core range of the 10-Year-Old, Uigeadail and Corryvrecken. I just don’t get as hyped up for the special releases. To hear Curt talk about them, you would think that special releases from this distillery were on the same level as a Ledaig or Loch Lomond. Preposterous, I say. Continue reading

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Day 13 of the 2019 KWM Whisky Advent Calendar – Armorik Double Maturation

by Evan

Lucky day number thirteen is here on the KWM Whisky Calendar. What is behind today’s door? Another whisky, and another country. Don your black turtlenecks and get ready to battle over the national pension plan, because this time we are heading to France with the Armorik Single Malt!

Armorik Whisky is made by Warenghem Distillery of Brittany. Brittany is a region in Northwestern France. The region is a peninsula, surrounded by saltwater on three sides in the form of The Bay of Biscay, The Celtic Sea, and The English Channel.

Though it is part of France, Brittany counts itself as one of the six Celtic Nations as defined by the Celtic League. The other five nations are Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and the Isle of Man. Culturally, Brittany has such strong Celtic ties due to the migration of many large groups of Bretons between 450 and 600 AD. Much of this migration was a method to escape the Anglo-Saxon invasion of England. The Breton language is still spoken by a small minority of people in the Brittany region to this day.

The Warenghem distillery was founded in 1900 but did not start by making whisky. In the late 1960s, the distillery was moved from its original location in the centre of Lannion to the outskirts of the city. Original whisky production begun in the 1970s and releases of this 1/4 malt and 3/4 grain blend called WB – or Whisky Breton – started in 1987. It was the first whisky produced in the region. Continue reading

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Day 12 of the 2019 KWM Whisky Advent Calendar – Compass Box Spice Tree

by Evan

What is this? Our THIRD Blended Malt from a different producer in this year’s calendar? It is almost as if we are trying to showcase how good this style of Scotch can be…

We make no secret of the fact that we at Kensington Wine Market are huge fans of Compass Box and their whisky. One of my personal favourite whisky experiences happened back in 2017, at Angel’s Envy Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky. Keep reading, I swear this story doesn’t have anything else to do with Bourbon…

Anyhow. Andrew and I are standing around, waiting for the distillery tour that we were booked in for to start. Andrew was in his typical Andrew standing at rest position – back straight, head tilted down, eyes on the cell phone in his hands – when none other then John Glaser walked right by us. The fact that were were in a Whiskey distillery notwithstanding, it seemed to be a strange place to run into the Master Blender and man behind Compass Box, so I did a double take. I tapped Andrew on the shoulder to get his attention, pointed at the man and said “hey, isn’t that John Glaser”? Andrew confirmed it was, we went over to chat with him and made plans to meet up for dinner later. It ended up being one hell of a day, and gave me my first opportunity to chat with the man himself.

John Glaser is a wonderfully approachable man, just like the whisky his company creates. Continue reading

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Day 11 of the 2019 KWM Whisky Advent Calendar – Eau Claire Single Malt Whisky – Release 2

by Evan

Shifting gears and geographical location once more, door number eleven brings us a lot closer to home (if your home also happens to be Calgary or thereabouts). Today, our Whisky Calendar giveth to us Release 2 of Eau Claire Distillery’s Single Malt Whisky!

Time flies. Eau Claire Distillery in the Turner Valley is now three years in on the whisky game. This year saw two whisky releases from them. Though we are tasting mini/50ml bottles of the Eau Claire Single Malt Whisky Release 2 that was behind door number eleven, the full-sized bottles of Release 3 were just made available on November 21st. The other whisky release from Eau Claire for this year was their Ploughman’s Rye Whisky. That was there first Rye Whisky release, and boy, was it good stuff. if you can still track down a bottle, I would suggest doing so.

Continue reading

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