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11th Annual
Victoria Whisky Festival

Ticket Sales

Out of town attendees:

until tickets go on sale

Ticket sales will commence Friday, November 6th, 2015 at 10am Pacific Time; please telephone the Hotel Reservation line at 1-800-663-7550 to purchase their tickets in conjunction with a hotel room reservation.

In town attendees:

until tickets go on sale

Ticket sales will commence Saturday, November 7th, 2015 at 10am at the Strath Ale, Wine & Spirit Merchants 919 Douglas Street, Victoria, BC. No orders will be accepted by telephone.

until the Victoria Whisky Festival

The 11th Annual Victoria Whisky Festival will be held on the
14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th of January 2016 at the Hotel Grand Pacific.

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January 22nd, 2015

The 10th Victoria Whisky Festival welcomed over 1,000 guests to whisky events on Thursday the 15th, Friday the 16th, Saturday the 17th and Sunday the 18th of January 2015 at the 5 star Hotel Grand Pacific located on Victoria’s beautiful Inner Harbour.

Participants enjoyed sold out evening events including Around the World of Whisky & Chocolate; The Canadian Whisky Awards Dinner, The Grand Glenmorangie tasting, The Grand Compass Box tasting, the Grand Mortlach tasting, Grand Scotch Malt Whisky Society tasting, the Grand Tasting Featuring Richard Paterson, Master Blender, The Great Whisky Debate, and The Distillers Dinner.

A total of 36 Daytime Masterclasses were presented by Glenmorangie, Benromach, Morrison Bowmore, Benriach, Springbank, Tomatin, Ardbeg, Compass Box, NIKKA, Balvenie, Jack Daniel’s, Jura, Laphroaig, Kilchoman, Glenfiddich, Highland Queen, Glenlivet, Kavalan, Forty Creek, Tullibardine, Macallan, Glenfarclas, Highland Park, Ardbeg, Johnnie Walker, Balvenie, Springbank, Glenmorangie, Tomatin, Glenfiddich, Diageo, Kilchoman, Canadian Club and Wiser’s.

Michael Urquhart, Andrew Ferguson, Bob Kyle, Marcus von Albrecht, and Johanne McInnes also presented Masterclasses featuring a variety of topics and drams.

The Hotel Grand Pacific Tweeted live updates as the day progressed at @grandpacific.

Our thanks to the Hotel Grand Pacific, The Strath and the many volunteers whose help made the 2015 Festival a great success.

Regards,

Lawrence
Iain
Al
Jonathan
Veronika
Andrew
Frank

Thursday January 15th, 2015 – Evening
A Grand Tasting

Around the World of Whisky & Chocolate with Alwynne Gwilt

Alwynne Gwilt Hodie (Heather) Rondeau

You've heard of wine and chocolate, but have you opened up your senses to whisky and chocolate? In this grand tasting, UK based, but Canadian bred Miss Whisky founder and editor, Alwynne Gwilt, guided participants through a series of fabulous whiskies, while Vancouver based chocolate maker Hodie (Heather) Rondeau taught guests about the history and joys of chocolates showing there is much more in common between chocolate and whisky than one might guess. A sensual, tasty evening, that aimed to have fun; to eat, drink and be merry.

The Victoria Whisky Festival is very pleased to let you know that proceeds from this tasting supported the 100.3 the Q TLC Fund for Kids http://tlcfund.ca/

The 5th Annual Canadian Whisky Awards Presentation & Dinner

Davin de Kergommeaux

The Victoria Whisky Festival was very proud to host the annual Canadian Whisky Awards ceremonies at the Hotel Grand Pacific. Host, Davin de Kergommeaux was joined by members of the judging panel to reveal the best Canadian whiskies of 2014 and presented medals and awards to their producers. Members of the public joined us for this star-studded evening.

Friday January 16th, 2015 – Evening

The Grand Glenmorangie Tasting – A Visit to the Cabinet of Curiosities

Ruaraidh MacIntyre

Glenmorangie is well known for being unafraid of using various different casks to age our whisky; the results speak for themselves, our past bottlings having sold out of stores long ago. Host Ruaraidh MacIntyre brought back a few old favourites for the tasting and gave those lucky enough to attend a taste of drams you may have finished years ago, or perhaps never had a chance to try in the first place.

The Grand Compass Box Tasting with John Glaser

John Glaser

After many years in the wine trade, American ex-pat John Glaser entered the world of Scotch whisky, learning his art through one of the industry’s largest companies. In 2000, he started the Compass Box Whisky Company, based on his commitment to evolving practices in the industry to make great Scotch whisky more approachable and relevant to more people. From the beginning, his vision has been to create one of Scotland’s finest and most exciting whisky companies, re-establishing standards for quality and style in the industry. Participants learned why John Glaser is considered one of the most respected whisky makers of his generation.

The Grand Mortlach Tasting with Georgie Bell

“Magnificent Mortlach”

Georgie Bell

A 190 year secret … only known by whisky aficionados and those ‘in the know’….highly prized by blenders for decades, being expertly used in the world’s finest blends. Mortlach, the first legal distillery in Dufftown, the heart of Speyside, is finally getting the limelight and recognition it deserves with the launch of 3 new luxury expressions. Georgie Bell, Global Mortlach Ambassador took attendees through an exclusive tasting of the new Mortlach releases, plus a few other surprises, of the distillery nicknamed “The Beast of Dufftown”.

The Grand Tasting Featuring Richard Paterson, Master Blender

Richard Paterson

Who Nose better than he does? Richard Paterson is a living legend and a world-wide Whisky super hero. The 2015 Victoria Whisky Festival’s Grand Tasting was hosted by none other than 3rd generation Master Blender and internet phenom, The Nose himself. Making a stop in Victoria by way of, well, everywhere, Mr. Paterson engaged, enlightened, and yes – threw things. This was a tasting like no other. Seats went quickly. Ice buckets were left at home. Those who attended know why....

The Grand Scotch Malt Whisky Society Tasting

Annabel Meikle

Have you ever wondered what goes on during the Society panel tasting sessions? Well, this was not revealed but Annabelle Meikle, Scotch Malt Whisky Society ambassador helped those attending to understand the language used in the creative tasting notes. This was a hands-on opportunity for participants to test their senses and to try and identify the myriad aromas and flavours to be found in these complex single cask whiskies. Everyone was tasked to create a visual tasting note or two, and write their own note, pitting their wits against the panel!

The Great Whisky Debate

Dan Volway Simon Brooking Tish Harcus Matt Jones

An unprecedented group of Master Distillers and Ambassadors went head-to-head for spirits superiority. Attendees learned about the rich heritage and sampled whisk(e)ys from around the world while determining once and for all, the world’s best whisk(e)y!

Masterclasses - Whisky School!

The 2015 Victoria Whisky Festival Opportunity Cost; The cost of an alternative Masterclass that must be forgone in order to pursue another Masterclass.

Saturday January 17th, 2015 – Morning

The 2015 Masterclass schedule offered diversity with whiskies from Canada, Scotland, Ireland, Japan, England, Taiwan and The United States of America. It has been a Festival tradition to schedule another masterclass every time we discovered yet another available room in the Hotel Grand Pacific; however with the 2015 Festival we once again reached our maximum. 2015 featured whiskies from around the world, a selection of single malts and blends, independent bottlers and distillers presenting their own whiskies offering a unique range of quality whiskies for the attendee.

11:15 – 12:15

The Glenmorangie Masterclass with Ruaraidh MacIntyre #1

Glenmorangie – Unnecessarily Well Made

Ruaraidh MacIntyre

Glenmorangie have been at the forefront of Scotch innovation for 50 years and invited participants to enjoy the fruits of that labour. The tasting included: the Original, Scotland’s favourite single malt; the new Extra Matured Range, featuring new cask finishes; and the Signet, Extra Rare 18 year old and Quarter Century bottlings.

The Benromach Distillery Masterclass with Michael Urquhart

“Benromach, the story so far ………”

Michael Urquhart

Michael Urquhart of Gordon & MacPhail told attendees about some of his favourite drams bottled by Benromach which produces a traditional whisky from Speyside’s smallest working distillery.

The Richard Paterson Masterclass

Richard Paterson

Richard Paterson, aka “The Nose” was back! Both a Master Blender and a master showman, this was a not-to-be-missed event. Guests putting ice in their whisky may have been in danger….

The Macallan 1824 Masterclass with Dan Volway

Dan Volway

Rising to any occasion, The Macallan is known worldwide for innovation – a defining characteristic that sets this distillery apart. Innovation is the driving force behind the distillery’s latest creation, The Macallan 1824 Series. A sophisticated collection of four unique expressions – Gold, Amber, Sienna and Ruby – that is redefining the way Scotch whisky is evaluated. The Macallan 1824 Series 100% Sherry Casks, 100% Natural Colour, 100% Macallan.

The Morrison Bowmore Masterclass with Iain McCallum

Iain McCallum

Iain McCallum, Master Ambassador for Morrison Bowmore, provided this unforgettable Masters Class Experience! He took participants through the classic expressions of Bowmore, Auchentoshan and Glen Garioch.

The Benriach Masterclass #1 with Stewart Buchanan

Stewart Buchanan

With more than 20 years in Whisky, Stewart Buchanan has earned the role of Global Brand Ambassador for BenRiach, GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh. He helped participants unlock the secrets of these independent distilleries. (The Benriach Masterclass #1 and #2 were identical in format.)

The Springbank Distillery Masterclass with Ranald Watson

Ranald Watson

Ranald Watson, Springbank Distillery’s Sales & Marketing Manager, introduced attendees to Scotland’s oldest family-owned distillery. Springbank - once described as an “odd distillery run by an odd bunch of people” - is an intriguing place in many ways and Ranald guided participants through the personalities, the traditions and, most importantly, the whiskies which contribute to its unique character.

The Whisky & Chocolate with Marcus von Albrecht and Hodie Rondeau

Marcus von Albrecht Hodie (Heather) Rondeau

Private cask whiskies paired with fine cocoa - Glen Elgin 17 yr old, Blair Artholl 19 yr old, Mortlach 13 yr old were paired with chocolate from Venezuela to Indonesia. Chocolate maker Hodie (Heather) Rondeau taught guests about the history and joys of chocolates. There is much more in common between chocolate and whisky than one might guess. A great addition to a whisky weekend - this class sold out fast.

The Tomatin Distillery Masterclass #1 with Graham Eunson

Graham Eunson

Graham dissected Tomatin single malts so that attendees gained an understanding of exactly what styles of Tomatin have gone into constructing these excellent whiskies. These samples demonstrated why Tomatin has such a deserved reputation for quality single malts. Tomatin is home to the finest Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky and is located in the Monadhliath Mountains just south of Inverness, capital of the Highlands of Scotland. Established in 1897. Tomatin (to rhyme with satin) is also one of the highest distilleries in Scotland at 315 metres above sea level. The soft waters of the Alt-na-Frith (Free Burn), which run clear and pure through the Monadhliath Mountains, help to create a Highland Malt with delicate flavours, yet a rich and mellow style. Its undoubted quality and consistency make for a truly fine dram. A proud testimony to the art of distilling. (The Tomatin Distillery Masterclass #1 and #2 were identical in format.)

Saturday January 17th, 2015 – Afternoon
1:00 to 2:00

The Ardbeg Masterclass with Ruaraidh MacIntyre

Ardbeg: Space for ‘Mor”?

Ruaraidh MacIntyre

The heavens aligned and blessed guests with a taste of the stars: Ardbeg Supernova. Alongside as a sampling of whisky drawn from selected barrels aged 4, 6, 8, and 10 years old; all cask strength. Fantastical stories from Brand Ambassador and former worker and native of Islay, Ardbeg’s own space cadet, Ruaraidh MacIntyre.

The Gordon and McPhail Masterclass with Michael Urquhart

“Some jewels from Gordon & MacPhail”

Michael Urquhart

Michael Urquhart of Gordon & MacPhail told guests about some of his favourite drams bottled by Gordon & MacPhail.

The Compass Box Masterclass with John Glaser

John Glaser

Compass Box isn’t your “typical” whisky; it is visionary, intelligent and challenges convention at every turn. Whisky Maker John Glaser provided a unique perspective on an ever-evolving process.

The Highland Park Masterclass with Dan Volway

Dan Volway

Highland Park - Made where no one else would - like no one else could. Brand Ambassador Dan Volway Masterclass and tasting featured Highland Park, the most respected single malt in the world.

The Canadian Club Masterclass with Tish Harcus

Tish Harcus

Tish Harcus, Brand Ambassador representing the famed Canadian Club Whisky, led attendees through a number of the C.C. Classic Whiskies, two of which were recently launched across Canada. Tish spoke to the consumer demand for these new whiskies as well as other Canadian Club whiskies in the portfolio. This year marks the 157th year for Canadian Club and Tish both enlightened and entertained.

The NIKKA Masterclass with Alwynne Gwilt

Alwynne Gwilt

The Festival was very pleased to hold for the fourth year in a row a Japanese whisky masterclass featuring the excellent whiskies of NIKKA. Japanese whisky is renowned for quality, quality, quality and this class was no exception to this rule. It featured single malts of the famed Yoichi distillery and some other excellent examples from this outstanding whisky producer.

The Balvenie Masterclass with Elizabeth Havers

Elizabeth Havers

Balvenie – a Handcrafted Journey – Canadian Brand Ambassador Beth Havers uncovered what makes The Balvenie the World’s Most Handcrafted Single Malt Scotch Whisky. This tasting was surely not one to miss!

The Jack Daniel’s Masterclass with Ryan Cheverie

Charred, Toasted and Burnt!

Ryan Cheverie

It had been said that as much of 80% of the flavor of any whiskey comes from the barrel in which it was aged, and there is only one whiskey maker in the world who can claim to produce their own barrels. Brown-Forman has not one but now two of their own dedicated cooperages to construct barrels for all of their whiskey and aged spirits. Brown Forman Spirit Ambassador Ryan Cheverie provided an exploration of the many different ways barrels and the maturation process can influence and enhance your spirits, it’s not just about age. The Masterclass featured Brown-Forman’s best expressions of whiskies from Jack Daniel’s, Woodford Reserve and Collingwood.

The Tomatin Distillery Masterclass #2 with Graham Eunson

Graham Eunson

Graham dissected Tomatin single malts so that attendees gained an understanding of exactly what styles of Tomatin have gone into constructing these excellent whiskies. These samples demonstrated why Tomatin has such a deserved reputation for quality single malts. Tomatin is home to the finest Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky and is located in the Monadhliath Mountains just south of Inverness, capital of the Highlands of Scotland. Established in 1897. Tomatin (to rhyme with satin) is also one of the highest distilleries in Scotland at 315 metres above sea level. The soft waters of the Alt-na-Frith (Free Burn), which run clear and pure through the Monadhliath Mountains, help to create a Highland Malt with delicate flavours, yet a rich and mellow style. Its undoubted quality and consistency make for a truly fine dram. A proud testimony to the art of distilling. (The Tomatin Distillery Masterclass #1 and #2 were identical in format.)

2:40 to 3:40

The Individuals Masterclass Johanne McInnes

Johanne McInnes

The one and only “Whisky Lassie”, Johanne McInnes, lead participants on an exploration of a few rare and unique whisky offerings.

The Benriach Masterclass #2 with Stewart Buchanan

Stewart Buchanan

With more than 20 years in Whisky, Stewart Buchanan has earned the role of Global Brand Ambassador for BenRiach, GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh. He helped participants unlock the secrets of these independent distilleries. (The Benriach Masterclass #1 and #2 were identical in format.)

The Isle of Jura Masterclass with Willie Tait

Willie Tait

Willie Tait of Isle of Jura Distillery fame introduced guests to some splendid single malts from the Isle of Jura. (This masterclass was a replacement for the cancelled Jim Murray masterclass).

The Laphroaig Distillery Masterclass with Simon Brooking

Simon Brooking

Simon Brooking, Laphroaig's Master Ambassador, took participants to "The beautiful hollow by the broad bay." This masterclass explored the depths and peaks of the most distinctly flavoured single malt Scotch – Laphroaig, taught about the history of the water of life on the island of Islay and sampled the range of the #1 selling Islay single malt.

Where there's smoke, there's Laphroaig…

The Beam Suntory small Batch Bourbon Masterclass with Matt Jones

Matt Jones

What is ‘craft’? Batch size, still size, process or recipe? Attendees discovered the handmade, authentic and unique processes of (6) craft bourbons by exploring their unique recipes, batch sizes, different proofs and aging techniques which each showcased ‘craft’ at its best!

The Kilchoman Distillery Masterclass with Andrew Ferguson

Andrew Ferguson

Andrew Ferguson took participants through some exciting new releases including 100% Islay 4th edition, Port Cask Matured and Original Cask Strength, as well as a single cask at cask strength.

The Glenfiddich Masterclass with Elizabeth Havers

Elizabeth Havers

Glenfiddich Virtual Tour – Canadian Brand Ambassador Beth Havers explored the history and heritage of Glenfiddich as she whisked guests away on a Virtual Distillery Tour. Complete with a great tasting of The World’s Most Awarded Single Malt. This Masterclass made you feel like you were in Scotland!

The Highland Queen Masterclass with James Robertson

James Robertson

Highland Queen was founded and first produced in 1893 by Roderick Macdonald. In 2009 it became part of the Michel Picard Group who recently purchased Tullibardine. Highland Queen has always been renowned for the high percentage of malt used in its blends. This Masterclass was a chance to taste the classic 3yo blend, an 8yo, 12yo and a 30yo Blend.

The Rare Drams Masterclass #1 with Bob Kyle

Bob Kyle

Bob presented the Rare Drams “Whiskies of Scotland” range which included a selection of Single Cask & Award Winning Distillery releases. (The Rare Drams Masterclass #1 and #2 were identical in format.)

4:10 to 5:10

The Glenlivet Distillery Masterclass with Keith Trusler

Keith Trusler

No other whisky can claim to have inspired the passion that The Glenlivet has – praised, celebrated, imitated and fought over. George Smith’s original style has remained unrivaled over the past 180 years.

4:20 to 5:20

The Diageo Masterclass with Georgie Bell

“Beauty before Age”

Georgie Bell

There is a resurgence happening in the whisky industry – people’s focus is starting to shift from the overall ‘age’ of a whisky to the flavour experience. After all, what’s in a number…? In this session the Masterclass explored just how vibrant the whisky category is through recent masterpieces of true innovation. Included were some never tasted before single malt wonders, allowing Georgie Bell, luxury malts ambassador for Diageo, to tantalise participants taste buds with an array of flavours.

The Gordon and MacPhail and Benromach Special Masterclass with Michael Urquhart

Michael Urquhart

Michael Urquhart hosted a very special masterclass featuring the excellent single malts from Gordon & MacPahil and Benromach Distillery. (This masterclass was a replacement for the cancelled Jim Murray masterclass).

The Kavalan Masterclass with Andrew Ferguson & Thomas Chen

Andrew Ferguson Thomas Chen

Started in 2005, the first distillery in Taiwan is taking the whisky world by storm. Renowned for the first refill casks, combined with tropical climate, the intense wood interaction with the spirits produced some world-class whisky that people in both sherry and bourbon camps can truly enjoy. This tasting included Kavalan’s full range of whiskies.

The Forty Creek Distillery Masterclass with John Hall

John Hall

Attendees met John Hall, Forty Creek Whisky Maker, and heard him chat about what it means to take a winemaker’s approach to whisky making. The masterclass was exploration of how grain selection, distillation method, type and char level of barrels, length of ageing and finishing are all components that impact the taste profile of a Canadian whisky.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society Masterclass with Annabel Meikle

Annabel Meikle

Attendees found out what 27,000 SMWS members around the world already know: the joys of single cask, cask strength scotch! Some of the best and most interesting Society bottlings from the past year (and some treats from upcoming releases) were explored.

The Wiser’s Masterclass with Don Livermore

Don Livermore

Guests were immersed into the history of Canadian Whisky by Dr. Don Livermore and sampled and learned how he masterfully crafts Wiser’s to be one of the finest whiskies in the world.

The Tullibardine Distillery Masterclass with James Robertson

James Robertson

Tullibardine was founded in 1947, yet on the location of the distillery beer was being brewed for Royalty as far back as the 15th Century. Elegant and sometimes delicate in style Tullibardine is a classical Highland Malt. This Masterclass was a chance to taste through their award winning range including 20yo & 25yo single malts.

The Rare Drams Masterclass #2 with Bob Kyle

Bob Kyle

Bob presented the Rare Drams “Whiskies of Scotland” range which included a selection of Single Cask & Award Winning Distillery releases. (The Rare Drams Masterclass #1 and #2 were identical in format.)

Saturday January 17th, 2015 - Evening

The VIP Tasting
6:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M.

The VIP Tasting was open to special guests of the 2015 Victoria Whisky Festival and VIP Ticket holders. It was held in the Vancouver & Pender Island Ballrooms prior to the Consumer Tasting and featured the full line of whiskies as with the Consumer Tasting. VIP Ticket holders were able to explore the range of whiskies being presented for a full hour prior to the Consumer Tasting (Ticket price includes VIP Tasting & Consumer Tasting).

The Consumer Tasting
7:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M.

The heart of the Festival was the Consumer Tasting held in the Hotel Grand Pacific’s Pender Island and Vancouver Island Ballrooms featuring a myriad of distilleries and whiskies including Canadian whisky, Scottish single malts and blended whiskies, Irish whiskey and a variety of whisky & whiskey styles from the United States of America.

Each attendee was provided with an engraved Glencairn whisky nosing & tasting glass and a Whisky Advocate magazine as well as assorted product information from the presenters.

The Hotel Grand Pacific provided the best Hors d’Oeuvres from their award-winning kitchen and Chefs using local ingredients including the very popular & elusive haggis tarts created especially for the Victoria Whisky Festival! Here, guests were able to satisfy their whisky curiosity by sampling their choice of over 250 whiskies, the largest selection available for such an event in British Columbia.

Sunday January 18th, 2015 - Evening

The Distillers Dinner

The first rule of The Distillers Dinner is don’t talk about The Distillers Dinner and how spectacular it was. The Hotel Grand Pacific's Executive Chef Rick Choy paired exceptional local ingredients with exceptional single malts for a not-to-be-forgotten evening.

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