No, it’s not Bobby Burns Day. It’s not Father’s Day either. But any day of the year offers ample reason to sample a few drams of Scotch. And why not try Scotland’s finest single malts with the help of some local experts?
Buchanans Chop House and Whisky Bar
Famous for its incomparable selection of more than 200 single malt Scotch whiskies, Buchanans offers a flight of three one-ounce shots every week on Whisky Wednesdays, which patrons enjoy at a reduced rate in the cozy 28-seat back room, a beautiful wood bar on the east side of the restaurant. Beer expert and whisky connoisseur Don Tse says the Guiness world-record holder for the largest selection of Scotch, which he has visited, can’t hold a candle to Buchanans.
(738 3 Ave. S.W., 403-261-4646, buchanans.ca)
Co-op Wines Spirits Beer
On November 1, Co-op will host the World of Whisky and Cognac Gala, which will include more than just Scotch, of course, but with plenty of single malt goodness to sample. VIP tickets are $175 per person for the premium event, while general admission is $125 per person.
(multiple locations, for tickets, call 403-219-6025 ext. 6290, coopwinespiritsbeer.com)
Kensington Wine Market
Andrew Ferguson, Calgary’s Scotch Guy, is the in-house single malt Scotch expert and co-manager at Kensington Wine Market. Ferguson has built Canada’s largest, most interesting collection of single malts in the country, and he’s one of Canada’s most trusted whisky experts.
Beginning on August 28, KWM offers three unique Scotch tasting events:
In a quick and easy stand-up tasting, sample four limited Arran single malts, including two casks exclusively available from KWM. $30
KWM hosts Jim McEwan, the mastermind behind the revival of Bruichladdich. $30
Sample Mordecai Richler’s single malt of choice, the iconic Macallan. $30
(1257 Kensington Road N.W., 403-283-8000, kensingtonwinemarket.com)
Vine Arts Wine & Spirits
On November 15, Jesse Willis will lead the Tour de Scotch, examining the legendary distilleries of Scotland, as well as the new generation of Scotch distillers. Sample a range of whiskies, young to old, smoky to smooth, along with appetizers from Taste restaurant. $70
(1310 1 St. S.W., 403-290-0700, vinearts.cornervine.com)
Willow Park Wine & Spirits
Not to be outdone, buyer and trusted expert David Michiels features an entire wall of single malts at Willow Park Wine & Spirits’ main store. Chelsey Coulson, Willow Park’s event coordinator, can arrange a Scotch tasting with Michiels, who will discuss taste, aroma and history of each single malt Scotch for $40 per person at an event for up to 15. For a $250 speaker fee, Coulson will arrange to have an expert come to you for a two-hour tasting party including baguettes and cheese.
(10801 Bonaventure Dr. S.E., 403-296-1640, willowpark.net)