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Drim a Dram with Delin: To Chill or Not to Chill (Canada Day Edition)

by Delin Watmough

The day I thought would never come is about to be upon us: covid restrictions are about to be lifted and the band is practicing again looking towards the parade on Canada Day. I can’t wait! It has been far too long since we've been able to perform. Also, you may have seen the announcement about GOTCHF going forward, at least in some form and I am very sure the organizers will be doing their very best to make this one amazing even though there may be some differences due to covid. I, for one, can’t wait until I can do another whisky tasting. It truly is one of the things I live for... as is apparent by these posts!

I am writing this on the 25th of June and we are about to hit a heat wave in the next few days and weeks so I thought I would talk about something that tends to be a little contentious:

To Chill or Not to Chill

Let’s face it... on a hot summer’s day, no one wants to drink a lukewarm whisky and the temptation to put a little ice in it is very real. Keep in mind that doing so will change the taste of your whisky because you are basically watering down your expensive whisky that you just paid dearly for. However, there is good news! Fortunately, there are many products on the market that you can use to chill your whisky. From plastic rocks to stainless steel balls, the selection is almost endless. Just a side note: chilling a liquid does alter the molecular structure, somewhat allowing it to taste somewhat different (some say more appealing). This is hence the reason mass produced beers in North America are served ice cold as the temperature hides a lot of flaws. So, there you go- whisky can be a summer drink after all and right now may be a good time to chill some of your less favorites to make them taste better... LOL

This Month's Selections

This month I am going to review 3 whisky’s that aren’t scotch. Our pipe major, Doug Brown suggested that I review some Canadian whisky’s and with Canada Day being upon us I thought it was a very good Idea.

18 years ago, Glenora Distillery in Cape Breton distilled a batch of Alexander Keith’s IPA and placed it in bourbon barrels as a experiment between to two Nova Scotia based companies. This $200 whisky is a special limited release that Doug had shipped here. So if you do manage to find a bottle here in Alberta, I would highly suggest you buy it- especially if you are a fan of Alexander Keith’s IPA like Doug is. This very smooth whisky tastes of maple cream with notes of apple and butterscotch. Plus, it finishes with a crisp apple taste and truly is the best Canadian Whisky I have ever had the pleasure to taste. Everyone I've talked to who had a chance to taste it also truly enjoyed it.

It's made from the finest Canadian single malt in Surrey BC. I happened on this distillery last year when my wife and I were visiting her aunt. (Side-note: pulling a u-turn on a busy Surrey street to go to a distillery does not impress one’s wife, so I had to go back the next day LOL). This whisky has won many Canadian whisky awards and scored a 89 on Jim Murray’s whisky bible. The reviews I read say it noses fruity like grapes or cherry with honey, with subtle wood tones and hits the palate with green apples and woody buttery notes for a medium finish. I did not get any of this at the time... I got a hot peppery taste that was not pleasant at all. IMHO this whisky needs another 18 years in a barrel and I am pretty sure Ian and Doug would agree with me.

Dan Fee brought this whisky over to the Alehouse one night and I thought it was a good option to include in this write up of Canadian whisky’s. This limited release commemorates a winning battle in the war of 1812 near the distillery site. This whisky noses and tastes with flavors of honey, vanilla bean and cocoa toast. I found it very sweet almost bourbon like and all-in-all a very pleasant drinking whisky. Everyone present who had a taste truly enjoyed it. (I have always been a 40 Creek fan. In fact, the 40 Creek Copper Pot was the whisky that inspired me to try other whisky’s because, until that time, I thought whisky was awful stuff).

That’s my write up this month. I hope to see everyone at the parade on the 1st in Sedgewick (although it will likely be over by the time you read this) and hopefully you raise a glass or two (non)chilled ones in order to commemorate not only our great country’s birthday, but the end (hopefully) of the lockdown.

May your days be long and your glasses full,


Delin Watmough

Editor's Note:

Delin is correct- the planning of our 3rd Annual Gathering of the Clans Highland Festival (GOTCHF, for short) has begun! Ideally, we would have had all of the details ready for you by now. But like Delin said, we are only just now entering lifted restrictions.

We are working hard at planning a great event for you and we encourage you to keep up to date with the latest announcements. Here are the best ways to do so:

  1. Follow our Facebook Event to be notified of updates as they are announced

  2. Check in periodically to our Event Page on our website here, as it will soon have the tickets and details of the event.

Saturday August 21, 2021 in Sedgewick Alberta. SAVE THE DATE!


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