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Whisky Belles Tastings

This page contains details of the charity events and whisky tastings Whisky Belles have hosted.

While we do sometimes include notes about the drams savoured during tastings in our posts, please feel free to ignore them. Tasting notes are very personal and vary from one individual to another. How we describe the nose, taste and finishes is dependent on the past experiences, scent and taste memories of each person. 

Madcap fun and whisky adoration

  • Click the title or scroll down the page to read the complete post.
  • Glenfiddich 2017 Our Glenfiddich evening evolved in part because of the recent attraction of the Experimental Series and also because the Belles had discovered some unique bottles lying around in our collections. Glenfiddich is a well recognized name when it comes to single malt whisky produced in Scotland. One of the most well known brands in whisky circles; Glenfiddich 12 is frequently the first bottle many whisky drinkers are exposed to. With that said, there is a tendency for this whisky to be very traditional and conservative in its approach, resulting in an overall lack of excitement for the brand in some circles. That doesn’t mean there is a lack of innovation by any means. Glenfiddich is a family owned and ...
    Posted Dec 21, 2017, 3:36 PM by Whisky Belles
  • Belles & Bourbon Canadians tend to be a bit more familiar with Canadian Rye than American Bourbon. The flavor differences between rye and bourbon boil down to their main ingredients. The corn mash used in bourbon makes for a sweet and full-bodied flavor, while the rye mash in rye whiskey creates spicy tones and a drier taste. After many months collecting bourbons in imported into Alberta and picking up bottles on our trips through the USA, we held an evening bourbon tasting. Most of the bourbons in this list were purchased south of the border and were not available on the local market. We're hopeful that may change in the future. We didn't have a particular order in mind for ...
    Posted Dec 11, 2017, 8:47 AM by Whisky Belles
  • Tasting Notes: Know Your Cask (03/22/2017) So, it has been a couple weeks since our ‘Know Your Cask’ aka Whisky and Wine and I have been going over this posting trying to capture everything of this evening as it was such a different night. On the table, we had the following poured: Springbank Burgundy 12 with a Joseph Drouhin Montrachet Burgundy Arran Amarone with a Sartori Amarone Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban with a Taylor Fladgate 20 Yr. Tawny Port Glenlivet Nadurra with a Keg n Cork's exclusive Jefferson's Very Small Batch Bourbon The idea behind the evening was tasting the wine and tasting the whisky to see how some of the flavours and colors become a prominent part of the whisky. To any nay sayer ...
    Posted Nov 16, 2017, 9:51 AM by Whisky Belles
  • Tasting Notes: Belles of Whisky & Comics Our first Charity tasting took place on July 29, 2017 at Happy Harbor Comics (10729 - 104 Ave). We raided the Semper's liquor cabinets and selected some beautiful drams if we do say so ourselves. Each bottle offered a unique flavour profile one gains from single cask and specialty bottling.  The tasting raised $2650 for e4c Alberta. This is a great local charity that focuses on food security, shelter & housing, community collaborations and education & skill development. We had so much amazing support from the whisky community that we were able to donate the full ticket price to e4c, instead of the $40/ticket we had originally budgeted. Not only was this the Belles first charity fundraising event, it was also ...
    Posted Dec 11, 2017, 9:00 AM by Whisky Belles
  • Belles of Whisky & Comics @ Happy Harbor Comics (07/29/2017) Our first Charity tasting is set for July 29, 2017 starting at 7pm at Happy Harbor Comics (10729 - 104 Ave). We've raided the Belle's liquor cabinets and personal collections and we're pretty sure we've selected some beautiful drams for your enjoyment. Each bottle offers a unique flavour profile one gains from single cask and specialty bottling.  The tasting is in support of e4c Alberta. This is a great local charity that focuses on food security, shelter & housing, community collaborations and education & skill development. We have a fun tasting planned for the evening with some amazing silent auction items. Watch our page for more information on items available at the silent auction and support from our ...
    Posted Dec 11, 2017, 8:57 AM by Whisky Belles
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Glenfiddich 2017

posted Dec 7, 2017, 2:48 PM by Whisky Belles   [ updated Dec 21, 2017, 3:36 PM ]

Our Glenfiddich evening evolved in part because of the recent attraction of the Experimental Series and also because the Belles had discovered some unique bottles lying around in our collections. Glenfiddich is a well recognized name when it comes to single malt whisky produced in Scotland. One of the most well known brands in whisky circles; Glenfiddich 12 is frequently the first bottle many whisky drinkers are exposed to. With that said, there is a tendency for this whisky to be very traditional and conservative in its approach, resulting in an overall lack of excitement for the brand in some circles. That doesn’t mean there is a lack of innovation by any means.

Glenfiddich is a family owned and operated distillery. Championed by William Grant, the distillery was built with the help of his 9 children and a stone mason. The first drop of spirit was produced by the copper stills on Christmas Day 1887. The name Glenfiddich is Gaelic for ‘Valley of the Deer’ and references the location where the distillery was built. Their brand logo is a representation of a stag.

We didn't have a particular order in mind for the evening, so we decided to start with Glenfiddich's standard expression, their 12 year old (40%), as out baseline. This allowed us to determine how the flavour profile of their whisky range changes and evolves through their various bottlings.  

Next, we moved on to an older bottle of Glenfiddich Pure Malt (40%). A suspected pre-cursor to the standard 12 year old expression, this bottle was passed on to a Belle by a family members and has a fair bit of sentimental value around it.  We're uncertain of the year it was produced and know only that it was purchased in Scotland sometime in the mid to late '80s or early '90s (pre 1993).  The bottle had been open for a number of years, so we dove into the bottle to see what it had in store for us.  

After savoring the Pure Malt, we moved on to the Experimental Series. There are currently three (3) expressions in this series; IPA, XX and Winter Storm. 

We began exploring the expressions with the IPA (43%) released in 2016. Malt Master Brian Kinsman in collaboration with Seb Jones of Speyside Craft Brewery created a single malt expression infused with IPA notes. This is not the first time that beer and whisky have crossed paths - it brings fond memories of the story of the accidental creation of Innis & Gunn brews.

The second bottle we tasted was the Project XX (twenty). With an ABV of 47%, this was the strongest whisky in the tasting line-up. Instead of a single malt master selecting the barrels to make the whisky, 20 whisky experts were masters involved in the creation of this expression. These 20 individuals, hailing from 16 countries around the world, had access to thousands of maturing casks and were tasked with selecting one that would be combined into a final product by Glenfiddich's Malt Master Brian to produce one final expression. We enjoyed this whisky so much that we stopped our tasting to search the local liquor databases to see how many (if any!) bottles of XX were still available on the local market. After tracking down a few bottles in a store not far from home, we had out trusty designated driver take us out on a shopping trip.

Back from shopping, we dove into the third bottle in this series. Winter Storm (43%) was released in 2017 and has roots a bit closer to home. This 21 year old Glenfiddich was finished for up to six months in Ice Wine casks from Peller Estates. The winery happens to be located in in Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, the home town of a Belle's husband. A unique combination, We were interested to see how the whisky would stand up to the sweetness of the flavors of the ice wine. While we did not have a bottle of Peller Estate Ice Wine at hand we did pull a bottle of BC ice wine to use as a comparison as we tasted this whisky.

After taking a break for snacks, we moved on to the Glenfiddich 15 year old Solera (40%). This standard bottling from Glenfiddich pulling malts from three different types of casks together in one vat. An interesting concept that seemed to fall flat in the execution. Overall we were very disappointed with the 15 year old.

To finish the evening we decided to tackle a few of the rum-finished bottlings released by Glenfiddich. These are all 21 year old expressions with different years of production. We tasted the 2012-ish Gran Reserva/Cuban Rum Finish (40%),  and the 2015 and 2016 Gran Reserve/Rum Cask Finishes. Luckily for us, we decided to start with the elder statesman of the line-up. It was a treat!  Finished 4-6 months in rum casks, both the older and youngest bottles were well received. The 2015 expression was definitely the black sheep of this whisky family.

 


Our overall favourites for the the evening were the Pure Malt and Project XX.  As mentioned previously, Project XX was such a surprise and enjoyment we stopped our tasting evening, started to Google available local stock and found a DD who could take us to a local store so we could buy additional bottles. We also enjoyed the 2012-ish 21 year old Gran Reserva/Cuban Rum Finish so much we did do a second pour. This dram we allowed to sit for a bit to get a good idea of its varied aspects. In the end, we recognized this was a bottle that was destined to be  be killed during the tasting.

Belles & Bourbon

posted Dec 7, 2017, 2:48 PM by Whisky Belles   [ updated Dec 11, 2017, 8:47 AM ]

Canadians tend to be a bit more familiar with Canadian Rye than American Bourbon. The flavor differences between rye and bourbon boil down to their main ingredients. The corn mash used in bourbon makes for a sweet and full-bodied flavor, while the rye mash in rye whiskey creates spicy tones and a drier taste.

After many months collecting bourbons in imported into Alberta and picking up bottles on our trips through the USA, we held an evening bourbon tasting. Most of the bourbons in this list were purchased south of the border and were not available on the local market. We're hopeful that may change in the future.

We didn't have a particular order in mind for the evening we lined up the bottles by ABV – from lowest to highest - and jumped right in.  Click the links below to read our thoughts on what we tasted.

Bourbon Tasting Dec 2017


The favorite of the evening was the Angel’s Envy and we are looking forward to wandering back to this bottle for another tasting or two.

Tasting Notes: Know Your Cask (03/22/2017)

posted Nov 16, 2017, 9:49 AM by Whisky Belles   [ updated Nov 16, 2017, 9:51 AM ]

So, it has been a couple weeks since our ‘Know Your Cask’ aka Whisky and Wine and I have been going over this posting trying to capture everything of this evening as it was such a different night. On the table, we had the following poured:

  • Springbank Burgundy 12 with a Joseph Drouhin Montrachet Burgundy
  • Arran Amarone with a Sartori Amarone
  • Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban with a Taylor Fladgate 20 Yr. Tawny Port
  • Glenlivet Nadurra with a Keg n Cork's exclusive Jefferson's Very Small Batch Bourbon

The idea behind the evening was tasting the wine and tasting the whisky to see how some of the flavours and colors become a prominent part of the whisky. To any nay sayer that say to never mix wine and whisky – you don’t know what you are missing.

As a whisky drinker, it is such a common practice to be reading a bottle or package and to see that a whisky has spent time in a wine, port, or sherry cask to finish or to age. I know the flavours I can anticipate to be present but didn’t really understand the flavours these wines were providing to the casks and the whiskies. Having the ability to do side by side comparisons added some fun depth to my knowledge. While the whiskies were familiar, many of these wines I had not tried before so the exploration of these wine flavours did provide a different look at the whiskies.

We started off with the Joseph Drouhin Montrachet Burgundy, this had a vivid red color and to the nose brought thoughts of raspberry jelly. We found there was a slight pinking to the Springbank that could be attributed to this wine cask. We did find that the characteristics of the wine, where very subtle to this whisky, accenting the nutmeg and spice that came off the whisky.

Next up was the Sartori Amarone provided a very ripe raisiny full body wine. When had side by side with the Arran Amarone, you could see the slight pink hue to the whisky and immediately had that grape on the nose. We found the wine flavours carried through this whisky, carrying a fruitiness through.

We then dived into the Taylor Fladgate 20 Yr. Tawny Port. This is beautiful liquid candy. As we sampled the Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban we could easily draw the influence of this port. The port has rich apricot fruit notes and a creamy mouth. As we drank the Ruban, these notes carried across and evolved to chocolate velvet and hints of Turkish delight candy.

We came to our last pours of the evening Keg n Cork's exclusive Jefferson's Very Small Batch Bourbon paired with Glenlivet Nadurra First Fill. This brought our tasting back to a good baseline, as many whiskies are placed in ex-bourbon American oak casks. This is where you get that vanilla, pineapple, banana and citrus from – these American oak casks.

This was a nice way to bring the tasting back, speaking about the use and differences that casks make to the whiskies we love to taste and enjoy.

As a bonus of the evening the was a pour of the Kilchoman Sauternes with a Château Doisy Daëne. Having this bottle poured is a favorite, being a bit of an Islay fan. What was impressive was how much came from the Château Doisy Daëne to mellow the flavours of the Islay whisky. The sweetness paired with the peatiness and salt became a beautiful mouthful.

This was such an amazing evening and it a huge thanks to the ladies that made this possible – Tanis and Afton at Keg ‘n Cork, Diana from Gold Medal and Cynthia from Pacific Wines.

Tasting Notes: Belles of Whisky & Comics

posted Sep 26, 2017, 11:44 AM by Whisky Belles   [ updated Dec 11, 2017, 9:00 AM ]

Our first Charity tasting took place on July 29, 2017 at Happy Harbor Comics (10729 - 104 Ave). We raided the Semper's liquor cabinets and selected some beautiful drams if we do say so ourselves. Each bottle offered a unique flavour profile one gains from single cask and specialty bottling. 

The tasting raised $2650 for e4c Alberta. This is a great local charity that focuses on food security, shelter & housing, community collaborations and education & skill development.

We had so much amazing support from the whisky community that we were able to donate the full ticket price to e4c, instead of the $40/ticket we had originally budgeted.

Not only was this the Belles first charity fundraising event, it was also the first time the Belles had presented whiskies to a large group of people. Despite some general nervousness, and a bit of off the cuff rambling, the whiskies and stories appeared to be well received.

The evening’s line-up included the following rare or unusual drams and their trading card pairings:
  1. Carn Mor Glen Elgin (Medusa – Inhumans)
  2. Duncan Taylor Glen Grant (Manhunter – Kate Spencer)
  3. Dewar Rattray Glenallachie (Gamora)
  4. Glendronach Oloroso Sherry Puncheon (Wynonna Earp)
  5. Murray McDavid Bowmore (Jessica Jones)
  6. Old Particular Highland Park (Echo – Maya Lopez)

We'd like to take a moment to thank all of the wonderful companies and individuals who have helped make this vision come to life. 

Event Sponsors:

 
Scotch Malt Whisky Society Canada
 
Pacific Wines and Spirits
 
Jacek Chocolate Couture
 
Eau Claire Distillery
 
Craftwork Spirits
 
 
Gold Medal Marketing
 
Charton Hobbs
Happy Harbor Comics

Comic Collector Card Artists:

 
Wynonna Earp - Artist: Perry Parker
Perry Parker - p.r.parker
 
Medusa - Artist: Andrew Leung
Andrew Leung - @AmshellDraws
 
Echo - Artist: Kyle Charles
Kyle Charles - @KyleCharlesArt
 
Gamora - Artist: Robyn Morley
Robyn Morley - @nuttz70
 
Jessica Jones - Artist: Robyn Morley
Robyn Morley - @nuttz70
 
Manhunter - Artist: Kelly Tindall
Kelly Tindall - @kellytindall

Please visit their linked Twitter or Instagram sites to see more of their amazing artwork.


Belles of Whisky & Comics @ Happy Harbor Comics (07/29/2017)

posted May 9, 2017, 11:01 AM by Whisky Belles   [ updated Dec 11, 2017, 8:57 AM ]

e4c Tasting

Our first Charity tasting is set for July 29, 2017 starting at 7pm at Happy Harbor Comics (10729 - 104 Ave). We've raided the Belle's liquor cabinets and personal collections and we're pretty sure we've selected some beautiful drams for your enjoyment. Each bottle offers a unique flavour profile one gains from single cask and specialty bottling. 

The tasting is in support of e4c Alberta. This is a great local charity that focuses on food security, shelter & housing, community collaborations and education & skill development.

We have a fun tasting planned for the evening with some amazing silent auction items. Watch our page for more information on items available at the silent auction and support from our amazing sponsors!

Happy Harbor Comics

Tickets are $50 each and are limited in number. $40 from each ticket and the proceeds of the silent auction will be donated to e4c Alberta.

The Whisky Belles want to see everyone have a good time at tastings. Please don't drink and drive. Arrange for a designated driver, take an Uber, or hop on ETS.

* As this is a charity tasting, the tasting is open to both women and men.

We'd like to take a moment to thank all of the wonderful companies and individuals who have helped make this vision come to life. 

Event Sponsors:

 
Scotch Malt Whisky Society Canada
 
Pacific Wines and Spirits
 
Jacek Chocolate Couture
 
Eau Claire Distillery
 
Craftwork Spirits
 
 
Gold Medal Marketing
 
Charton Hobbs
 

Comic Collector Card Artists:

 
Wynonna Earp - Artist: Perry Parker
Perry Parker - p.r.parker
 
Medusa - Artist: Andrew Leung
Andrew Leung - @AmshellDraws
 
Echo - Artist: Kyle Charles
Kyle Charles - @KyleCharlesArt
 
Gamora - Artist: Robyn Morley
Robyn Morley - @nuttz70
 
Jessica Jones - Artist: Robyn Morley
Robyn Morley - @nuttz70
 
Manhunter - Artist: Kelly Tindall
Kelly Tindall - @kellytindall

Please visit their linked Twitter or Instagram sites to see more of their amazing artwork.

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