Calgary has a fantastic whisky scene, with a number of clubs devoted to the drink, and major liquor stores making it a key focus of their business.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise the calendar is chock full of good events featuring the best in scotch, bourbon, Canadian whisky, and more.
Overall, it’s part of a larger jam-packed calendar on offer in the city, with something happening nearly every night of the week.
And even when you think you’ve found every kind of event, stores manage to give you something new, whether it’s a bacon and booze event, or a poutine and wine tasting.
Peggy Perry, the VP of purchasing and marketing at Willow Park Wines and spirits, says they’re always trying to keep things fresh and appeal to emerging trends.
“We sit around as a group and put our heads together,” Perry says of cooking up the store’s new events calendar.
“Bacon and poutine are two food categories people are into these days.” There was such good response to the bacon event that it sold out.
Watch for my picks in beer and wine events over the next couple of days (hint: I can’t resist poutine), but without further ado, here are my top five whisky events on the winter calendar:
1. Scotch Festival: Willow Park has a big whisky shindig every fall, but they also put together a good one to get scotch fans through the cold winter months. “We started with a mid-winter scotch festival,” Perry says. “The scotch festival is super popular.” This event will showcase more than 65 whiskies. Nothing like a little variety, right? The night also features pipers, Highland dancers and gourmet catering. The event goes at 7 p.m. Feb. 12. Tickets are $50.
2. Ancient Malts: Why limit such a good event to just one seating? Kensington Wine Market hosts two nights of this event, which features rare whiskies between 30 and 40 years old. It will also feature the Glendronach Recherche, the oldest ever bottling of Glendronach, which retails at $4,800. The whisky lineup is the same for each night. Tickets are $200 apiece, but worth it when someone pulls out the big guns. March 20, 21, 7 p.m. Kensington also hosts a Rare Malts event earlier in March featuring whiskies 20 year old or older, with tickets going for $80.
3. Pairings with Irish Whiskey: Coming up to St. Patrick’s Day, there is no shortage of events highlighting Irish beer and whiskey. Both Willow Park and Kensington have events planned as well. I like what Crowfoot Wines & Spirits has on tap with Irish whiskey and food pairings. Who doesn’t like food? Tickets are $40 for the March 15 event.
4. Great Amaerican Bourbon: Bourbon comes a close second behind scotch in my list of favourite whiskies. On Saturday, March 1, Co-Op Wines Spirits Beer will run through a flight of bourbon served neat, but will “also explore classic cocktails and modern twists” featuring this iconic spirit. The evening goes from 7-9 p.m. at the Crowfoot Tasting Centre. Tickets are $40.
5. The Great Macallan Vertical Tasting featuring M (NEW DATE): The Macallan 1824 M is the ultra-premium offering at the top end of the 1824 Series. A six-litre decanter recently sold at auction for a record of $628,205. Kensington Wine Market is hosting a vertical tasting of the Macallan, including the M. “As soon as we heard about it, we had to open one, so we’ve booked the Southern Alberta Pioneers Hall for a special tasting,” the event listing states. This event goes March 5 at 7 p.m. at Kensington Wine Market. Tickets are $175.