Now in its tenth year and going stronger than ever, the Willow Park Whisky Festival is set to once again enlighten and entertain the lucky 800 who manage to get their hands on a ticket. Wednesday, November 3rd will see no less than sixteen leading industry figures, each with as many as four tables of different product lines, take over Willow Park Wines & Spirits for an evening of tasting, teaching and socializing.
Last year’s festival saw an astounding 125 whiskies open and available for sampling. This year promises no less. Guests will receive a booklet of information upon arrival, listing whiskies and vendors, in order to plan their tour of the event. A wise approach which will help to ensure your tastebuds aren’t singed before you reach the gem or two you’ve been dying to sample.
The Calgary Police Service Pipe Band will provide the soundtrack to an evening highlighted by the presence of Andrew Gray (Sales Director of Bruichladdich), Ronnie Cox (Director of Glenrothes and BBR) and Alex Bruce (Sales and Marketing Director of Adelphi), sharing their many years of experience and insight…not to mention whisky. Many other ambassadors will be circulating and available to answer questions.
Past years at the festival have given us stunning and rare exclusive casks of Glenfiddich, from 1974 through 1977. All of which carry unique stories and histories, but share a couple of common attributes. First..all were limited to about 300 bottles. And second…each time the customer who came the furthest to claim his prize was from South Africa. This should help provide a little insight into the elite nature of such an event and such products.
This years’s Willow Park exclusive barrel is a 1985 Glendronach. All assurances are that this is indeed a stunning cask. Certainly you’ll be able to form an opinion on the night of the festival.
When it comes to getting the most out of the festival, Willow Park’s Whisky Buyer, afficionado and resident ambassador, David Michiels offers this bit of advice…”take it slow and do not rush the tasting”. Solid advice. 6:30 to 9:00 can make for a long evening when trying a few of the wares on display.
One final note…please be safe. Taxis will be available. Please do not drink and drive.
See you there.
For tickets contact Willow Park:
So how did this go and what was it like? As the sole holder of both the ATW and the Liquorature flag to have been there, your commentary is anticipated…nay, required.
Details forthcoming in an event review.
Looking forward to seeing MM chime in with a few of the drams he sampled this night as well.
Hnag time RvD…details are coming soon.
What a great event, with all the ambassadors / sales directors that come here. I have only missed this event one time (Somebody (David) left the organization (WP for CSN) and then came back the very next year (Reference to CBC the Cat Came Back).
For me this event like most festivals I attend are more of a social gathering of like minded drudges. So keeping tasting notes rarely happens. I can however give you my opinions on some whiskies and some observations.
First off let me qualify that I have tried most of the whiskies at this festival before so I will only comment on the ones that are new to me accept my favorite.
– Least favorite – Singleton of Glendullan – Tasted like apple juice. I will say that it was nice to see Mike Nicholson pouring for Diageo (El Diablo). Usually the drudges are educating the week old reps on all the great whiskies they have.
– Biggest disappointment – Flaming Heart by Compass Box – Everybody was writing good things about this and friends have been telling me to try it. Well at best it’s was ok and I really liked the Peat Monster. Flaming Heart, no a little further down, more like Flaming Anus.
– Biggest surprise – Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or – Have been giving Glenmorangie a snobby pass for many years , but last year I tried the Signet and was so impress that I’m now trying more of there expressions . This Nectar D’Or is a wine finished whisky with lots of sweet light fruits.
– Nice try move of the night – Jonathan Bray, A.D. Rattray – asked for his recommendation and he tried to slip Stronachie into my glass.
– Best hidden malt – Glenrothes single 1979 single cask – Ronnie Cox was only bringing out if asked.
– Favorite Ambassador – Andrew Grey of Bruichladdich / Murray McDavid – just a great guy to talk with
– Favorite whiskey – Arbeg Corryvrecken – I love this stuff. Just the right amount of peat with a great balance of bourbon and sherry casks
The event was crowed but easy to get around. Lots of great appetizers. The music was the Police Service (thanks for my last ticket) Pipe Band and Highland dancers. Thanks WP for again not allowing steel drums on the premises but what’s up with these cocktail / stem- less wine glasses you’re giving us to drink whiskey with.
I don’t have an attitude problem. You have a perception problem