Tag Archives: Michiels

Calgary Whisky Club – Update #2

September 5th is fast approaching.  Almost as quickly as summer seems to be slipping away.  No worries though, it simply means I’ll be able to break out a few more of those massive Islay whiskies we all adore.

Put your thinking caps on, ladies and gents.  This inaugural session will be where we define what the Calgary Whisky Club is to become.  Your ideas, thoughts and input are important.

This first session will be a meet n’ greet.  We’ll have a dram, make some friends and bang out some structure.  It won’t cost you anything more than your time to show up for this first meeting.


Be forewarned…there will be a cost associated with this club.  Every effort will be made to ensure the dent to our pocketbooks is as minimal as possible.  In speaking with David, the initial thought is that this contribution will be small indeed.  We’ll discuss further on the 5th, but rest easy…it will be next to nil.

Guest speakers are being debated and lined up already.  Interest is strong among those in the industry with whom I’ve spoken.

For those attending…hey…this club will hopefully become part of your new circle of friends.  That doesn’t have to mean that your old circle is excluded.  If you know of anyone who is passionate about whisky and comeraderie…bring ’em along.  This whole enterprise is about having fun and bringing something to Calgary that is sadly amiss right now.

Many of you know me.  My name is Curt.  Those that I have not yet met face to face…I look forward to it.

My counterpart, and the other kindhearted soul responsible for making this a reality, is David Michiels.  David is the whisky buyer for Willow Park.  If you’ve ever wandered around navigating the whisky wall at WP, chances are you were warmly greeted by David and led to something exceptional to take home.  If you don’t know him already…you will soon enough.

…and yes…those discount cards mentioned before are also in the works.  Let’s not forget…Willow Park is supporting us, so let’s support Willow Park in return.

Please send any questions to uisgebeatha7@hotmail.com.


7:00pm Sunday, September 5th 2010


Willow Park Wines and Spirits

Until next Sunday…


Springbank/Tullibardine Tasting – March 24, 2010

A fine night hosted by Andy Dunn, of Gold Medal Marketing.  Andy is a truly engaging speaker.  His sharp wit and caustic humor helped set the tone for another great night at Willow Park.  It is somehow liberating to throw out the pretention every now and then and listen to a great presenter who is casual enough to toss out the occasional insult…catch one in return…be a little naughty…and occasionally dip into the spicier side of our vocabularies.

The malty spread this eve consisted of bottlings from Tullibardine and Springbank.  Tullibardine is a single malt Highland whisky, first distilled in 1949.  The history of the region and the distillery is fascinating, and Andy’s brief aside detailing the history of Blackford was entertaining and enlightening (go…do your research).  The distillery was mothballed in 1994, lying dormant until 2003 when it, and its entire stock of whisky, were purchased by the present consortium, and once again the uisge beatha flowed.

Andy trotted out a young Tullibardine Aged Oak first.  Light and dusty…citrusy and herbal…dry and oaky.  Meh.  Not bad by any means, but a tad underwhelming.

Next up was a 14 y.o. Tullibardine Moscatel.  More of a craft presentation than the first we tried.  46% and non-chill-filtered.  Still fairly light.  I picked up raw grains, freshly cut hay, fruit and chocolate.  This had an interesting pink hue to it.  Maybe just the lighting in there…maybe one too many whiskies…or maybe that actually was the color. 

From here we moved onto the Springbank line.  Though I enjoyed the Tullibardines, this was much more to my liking.  Springbank is one of only three operational distilleries in Cambeltown.  A shame really, as Cambeltown was once home to more than 30 legal distilleries.  Springbank relies heavily on tradition and human involvement in all stages of production.  The whiskies are distinct, colorful and craft-presented (no chill-filtration, no coloring, higher abv, etc), which of course is appreciated.

First up…Springbank CV.  Lots of smoke and fire (almost kerosene-like), some peat and spice, a touch of sherry and a dash of salt.  Decent marks for this one.

Next up…Springbank 18.  Nice…very nice.  Beautiful on the nose, with notes of cream and caramel, light fruits and hot spice.  Even a few drops of water did not mellow this one too much.  The price point is high, but the product is very good.

Springbank 12 Cask Strength.  Now we’re talking.  54.6% abv.  Well done, Springbank, for allowing us the opportunity to decide how strong we like our dram.  This was a solid number full of salt, sherry, smoke and raisin, some pepper and a smoked meat quality to it.  Rich and rewarding.

Finally Andy brought out the big guns.  Springbank Claret Finish (12 year, I believe).  Wow.  Another beefcake bottled at 54.4%.  This deep mahogany whisky was full of rich caramel toffee, vanilla, smoke, apple, spice and peppers, and had a wonderful oily viscosity to it.  Simply amazing.

Look for some more detailed reviews in the days to come.   

Thanks, David and Andy, for another great tasting.