July 2012 Archives

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte An Turas Mor

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Bruich PC ATM.jpgEvery so often a distillery absolutely nails a whisky, and in this instance the team at Bruichladdich hit a grand slam. Part of their peated series of releases which also includes their Octomore line, this one's 40ppm phenol puts it in the same territory as Lagavulin and other Islay heavyweights. But don't be fooled, the peat, smoke, and overall profile of this particular dram is dramatically different from any other whisky produced elsewhere on the island. 

Translated from Gaelic to English, "An Turas Mor" means "the great journey", and when this is translated into Bruichladdian parlance it indicates that this particular release is a multi-vintage melange of the 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005 Port Charlotte offerings. Matured exclusively in American oak (read ex-bourbon) casks and bottled in 2010 as part of a run of 10,000 cases, it is coming to an end as it is due to be replaced by the Peat Project later this year, making it even more worthy of your attention.

On Thursday July 12th, 2012 Habits Gastropub, in association with ScotchBlog.ca, hosted a whisky tasting. Five whiskies from four countries were paired with a delicious assortment of gourmet dishes. The menu can be seen here.

Inishowen Blended Irish Whiskey

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I came upon Inishowen Blended Irish Whiskey shopping for an appropriately Irish whiskey in the week before St. Patrick's Day. My standard go-to brands, Jameson and Bushmills, just weren't calling to me this time around and I wanted something Irish, yet different and affordable. 

Distilled, matured & bottled at the Andrew A. Watt & Co. distillery in Derry in Northern Ireland - operating under the ownership of Cooley Distillery Company - Inishowen is Ireland's only peated blended whiskey. Containing a blend of aged malt (30% of which is peated) and grain whiskeys, Inishowen is bottled at 40% A.B.V.

Inishowen derives its name from the Northern Inishowen peninsula, located in County Donegal in the northwest of Ireland. When the distillery was closed in 1925, the brand died as well. In 1988, the distillery was purchased by the Cooley Distillery Co. and the Inishowen blend was resurrected. 

Nose: At first whiff, the nose is punchy and alcoholic showing sharp medicinal peat reek tinged with scorched plastic. With some air in the glass, the peat settles down and the rest of the dram breathes in like a sniff out of a cardboard box of Life cereal alongside a breakfast of fresh fruit salad made of apples, grapes and bananas. Behind the fragrant fruity esters, vanilla and caramel aromas bring more richness to the nose. 

Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve

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For the whisky enthusiast who enjoys bold flavours, cask-strength bottles are among the most coveted expressions in any distillery's lineup. I grabbed this bottle of Knob Creek with a wedding in mind - not as a present but rather for my flask. The high alcohol content makes the best of the flask's necessarily limited capacity, and the inevitably punchy taste makes the flask last longer. The Single Barrel Reserve is nine years old and bottled at an anesthetizing 60% abv.

This Thursday Habits Gastropub will be offering up a chance to experience their culinary prowess in the form of an updated take on the classic 5-course dinner featuring modern spins on classic pub dishes, each paired with a whisky for a mere $35 after tax. 

Having appeared in our recent feature on the area, they invited us to coordinate the whisky portion of the evening and provided 2 free tickets to see the whole affair in action. 

Enough rambling, here are the details:

Where: Habits Gastropub 928 College St., Toronto, ON
When: This Thursday, July 12th at 7pm

The Menu:
  • Pear and tellegio cheese soup paired with a Speyside single malt
  • An updated take on mushrooms on toast using king oyster mushrooms on brioche paired with a Canadian whisky
  • A mini Scotch egg using a quail egg wrapped in in-house smoked trout paired with an Irish whiskey
  • Sweet braised pork belly paired with an Islay whisky
  • Apple bread pudding in a whisky caramel sauce paired with a Lowland whisky
How to get your seat:
  1. By calling them directly at 416-533-7272 and using your credit card over the phone.
  2. By going to the venue and paying in person.
I recommend going with the advance ticket option so that everything is paid for before you arrive.

For the 2 free seats, we'll give one away to each of the first two people to email us at the "contact us" address to the right, and then we will notify the team at Habits who you are. 

On behalf of the team at ScotchBlog.ca and Habits Gastropub, we look forward to seeing you this Thursday!

Glenkinchie Distillers Edition

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Glenkinchie distillery, located 15 miles outside of Edinburgh, is one of only four currently active lowland distillers, producing a whisky that is characteristically light and grassy. This 14 year old variation of Glenkinchie from Diageo's Distillers Edition line has been finished in an Amontillado cask, a medium dark sherry made famous in a short story by Edgar Allen Poe. The Distillers Edition releases of Lagavulin and Oban, among others, have never failed to impress, leading to this bottle being approached with somewhat high expectations.

For years now Toronto has been home to three truly world class whisky restaurants: Via Allegro in the West End, Allen's Restaurant staking its claim in the centre of town on Danforth Avenue, and The Feathers Pub in the East. Each houses a truly astonishing collection of rare bottles and provides something unique in terms of menu, venue, and location.

Over the past three years though, a more contemporary and closely clustered trio of restaurants with a strong whisky focus has developed along short stretch of College Street bracketed by Ossington Avenue and Dovercourt Road. In fact, the distance between the two furthest from each other measures a mere 200 metres from door to door. 

But who are these newcomers and what do they bring to the table?


Glen Ord 12 Year Old

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glen-ord-12yo-square-bottle.jpgI acquired this original bottling in St. Thomas and it has been tucked away on my shelf for about 2 years, which was just long enough for it to become a discontinued product and be replaced by Singleton of Glen Ord.  It is therefore both appropriate and sad that this review was written on the last dram of my bottle.  

There are a fair number of independent bottlings of Glen Ord spirit, including one listed at the LCBO at the moment, though none appear to be in stock.  The liquid of this highland dram has an eye-catching rich amber hue and is bottled at 43% ABV.

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Recent Comments

  • Isabelle Gurble commented on The Famous Jubilee, Special Edition Reserve:

    This looks amazing, something my husband would love. His birth is coming up soon as well.

  • Ryan commented on Forty Creek Heart of Gold:

    Hi Sherry, I think you might be outta luck on this one. Only 9000 bottles of this delicious whisky were produced and I'd wager most - if not all - purveyors have been sold out for quite some time now. If you're looking to sample it, I'd recommend visiting your local whisky bar and checking their list of Canadian whisky offerings. Your only other option would be to try and track down someone willing to give up their bottle? I've got one 2oz sample tucked away and, sorry, I'm keeping it all to myself! :) Good luck! Let us know if you find a bottle!

  • Sherry commented on Forty Creek Heart of Gold:

    Do you know where I can purchase this item?

    Sherry Boutilier

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