April 21, 2011

The privilege of tasting Scotch AND some upcoming whisky and musical events

 I always have great intentions of posting upcoming tastings, but they often tend to sell out quickly, so the posts don't happen. There's a lot of interest in the Ottawa area in whisky tastings and education. I'm always touched by the wonderful camaraderie that results from a gathering of strangers, with shared interests in whisky education, good food and interesting company. I'm further touched by the fact that many of these events have a philanthropic element, with support for local and international social causes. I'm always up for that!
For further reflection, I was looking recently at the Scotch Whisky Association website and the Scotch export figures for 2010. Overall, Scotch exports grew 10% from 2009 to 2010. Some of the growth figures are astonishing - by value, Russia up 61%, India up 46%, the US up 19%, South Africa up 56%. By contrast, Greece and Spain, both countries with economies struggling more than some, show -26% and -15%. So, when next you raise a glass to enjoy a dram, indulge in a moment of thankfulness for the privilege.
Onwards - to more events. Last week, an eclectic group of whisky lovers gathered at DiVinos on Preston Street for another fine evening of whisky and food tasting, meeting new friends and whisky chat. The evening was mainly dedicated to some fine Single Malt Scotches, but nonetheless the Redbreast 12 year old Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey from Midleton Distillery was a big favourite. My own personal favourite, shared with more than a few was a fine, cask strength, 20 year old limited edition Talisker.

There will be a fall tasting at DiVinos in October - tentatively Thursday 20th. Contact DiVinos at 
613-221-9760 613-221-9760 ext. 21 for details and reservations.
Next up, in Arnprior, a great group of people are holding a whisky tasting on Friday April 29th. This event is in support of the Arnprior Optimist Club and, with a great selection of 5 premium whiskies and food pairings, this event is a steal at $50. There are a few spots left, so if you feel like a dram to celebrate Kate and Will's wedding, or for any other reason, send me an email and I'll put you in touch with the organizers.
On Thursday May 5th, the Opimian Wine Society is hosting its first ever Scotch tasting and food pairing evening in Ottawa at the Novotel. I have to report, though, that the event sold out almost immediately, but if you're an Opimian member or a possible guest, I'm sure there will be more, based on the popularity of this one.

On Friday June 17th, the Army Officers' Mess on Somerset is holding its annual whisky tasting evening. I always showcase a different collection of whiskies at repeat events, so attendees can expect another great evening. Last year, close to 100 people had a rare old time.

On a musical note, the Savoy Society of Ottawa, purveyors of fine Gilbert and Sullivan shows since the mid 70's, is holding a unique singalong singathon Gilbert and Sullivan  Greatest Hits show on Wednesday 27th April. Read all about it here and join in the fun. The Hon. Peter Milliken, recently retired Speaker of the House of Commons, will be gracing the stage, along with many other fine singers. I'll be setting down my whisky glass (not to imply that I always have one in my hand!) to sing the part of the evil Katisha from The Mikado.

Lots going on! So much fun!

Cheers! Slainte Mhath!