My Thoughts on the Whiskies of the World Show

On Thursday November 28th, 2013 NLC hosted its fourth Whiskies of the World Show. As someone who has attended all four of these events , I would just like to comment as to how far these shows have come. From the inaugural show at the Majestic in the fall of 2009, with a few hundred participants at best, this year’s offering saw over 600 consumers come through the doors. I heard more than one person say that this was their favourite NLC event of the year! For the first time ever we hosted a Whiskey Tasting Panel. The panel guests included a Canadian Whiskey Master Blender from Crown Royal named Joanna Scandella, the Jameson Irish Whiskey Brand Ambassador for Canada – Deirdre O’Beirne-Rosaeg (I know, I was the emcee?!? J), the Whiskey Ambassador for Beam Global’s Bourbon portfolio, Matt Jones , and finally, Marc Laverdiere, the extremely entertaining Canadian Brand Ambassador for such portfolios as Highland Park and The Macallan. Panel guests addressed the sold out crowd for about 15 minutes each, ending with a sampling of at least one of their products, followed by a short question and answer period. Whiskey friendly foods like a selection of cheeses, meats, smoked salmon and chocolate brownies were placed throughout the room. As someone who considers himself to be a whiskey beginner at best, I truly had an amazing time at this whiskey tasting panel, learning about whiskey in general as well as the products which each panelist represented. I look forward to similar events in the future! 

This year’s Whiskies of the World show had global representation with products from Canada, the U.S., Ireland and Scotland. Whiskey fans at the event were offered over 140 different whiskies, with over 80 of these products being new to our market! There was most certainly something for everyone, with styles varying from “light and floral” (ex: Sku 13247 Glenfiddich Distillery Edition 15 Year Old - $74.94), right up to “full bodied and smoky” (ex: Sku 11932 Ardbeg 10 Year Old - $91.35) – which I can still taste the smoke from, so take note you Laphroaig fans, there is something new on the shelf that you just might like as well! As a newbie whiskey fan I discovered that bourbons were to my liking, as well as many of the single malt scotches that had spent some time in previously used wine storage casks. While the use of old boubon and sherry casks might have been the norm in the past, I was excited to try scotches that had been aged in old port, Madeira and sauternes casks. My personal favourite whiskey of the show was aged in sauternes casks – Sku 13219 Glenmorangie “The Nectar D’Or” - $84.63, but how could you not like a product that has as part of its descriptor, “… has a sweetness of crème brulee, merging with caressingly smooth, creamy vanilla.” While there was a healthy mix of different whiskies in the top selling products (by units), I was surprised to find that about half of the top ten this year were bourbons, and that the highest selling product was the Canadian Club Sherry Cask, a steal at only $34.98. I for one thought that this was a very well-run event, one that accomplished what it set out to do – ultimately providing the suppliers (both local and abroad) with the opportunity to help educate consumers on the various forms and characteristics of this robust spirit that we call whiskey!  

Cheers,
Andrew Facey
Senior Product Knowledge Consultant