One doesn’t simply walk into a liquor store with a fist full of cash looking for an expensive hobby.  Scotch lovers are a refined, passionate bunch who are serious about their drink.

I felt extremely fortunate to join the world famous Ian Millar (Global Brand Ambassador for Glenfiddich) and Ian MacDonald (Head Cooper, Glenfiddich) at the Spoke Club for a master’s class tasting of single malt scotch.

Getting right down to business we started with the 40 year old, dark mahogany coloured scotch.  Casks for the 40 year old were laid down far before I was born in 1961, 1965 and 1966.  The first sip took my mouth through a flight of flavour.  Ten minutes of flavour succession included: heat, coldness, sweet (maple syrup), roasted coffee, sweet again (fruit), vanilla, tingle, smoke.  What a treat.  I have never before tasted such a complex beverage.

Ian Millar educated us on what we were tasting.  He suggested the best way to enjoy scotch is with one drop of water (if absolutely necessary), and or warmed with the heat of your hands.  Introducing heat to whiskey opens up flavours and gets rid of the sharpness you experience with straight younger whiskeys.  Adding ice does the opposite, adding sharpness and contracting flavours.  Mr. Millar suggested that a scotch drinker should be a wolf, not a sheep as to drink it how you enjoy it yourself.  Myself, I prefer the warm flavour to cold, I trust Mr. Millar.  You’d have to trust him, having over 35 years experience in Scotch whiskey, having worked for a number of distillers as a masher, distiller and a warehouse and production manager.

Ian MacDonald, Head Cooper demonstrated the making of an oak barrel in seconds flat.  He has been a cooper far longer than I’ve been alive.  A cooper is the centry to the whiskey as he is the last person to see it until it is opened up to 50 years later.

A sampling of the 15 year old award winning scotch.

Two of my favourite people, Mr. Zsabo and Mr. Chatto take a second to pose.

If you happen to find yourself in the whiskey section of the LCBO , you may purchase a bottle of the 40 year old Glenfiddich yourself.

Big thank you to the Spoke Club and Meghan Ney.