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Media & Photos 2010
Victoria Whisky Festival 2010 - Media Coverage with Mark Gillespie
EPISODE 236: JANUARY 23, 2010
This time around, Mark Gillespie is on location at the Victoria Whisky Festival in British Columbia, and I'm joined by a panel of whisky experts to discuss some of the issues facing whisky producers and drinkers alike. Jim Murray, Malt Maniac Davin De Kergommeaux, Ed Patrick of Canada's Companions of the Quaich, Stuart Nickerson of Glenglassaugh, Andrew Gray of Bruichladdich, and Dan Tullio of Canadian Club discuss the state of Canadian whisky, government regulation and taxes, premiumization, and their dream drams. In the news, Maker's Mark is experimenting with a new formula that may or may not make it to market, and Bruichladdich is experimenting with technology to turn its waste into fuel. by Ralfy Mitchell
10 video episodes of the Victoria Whisky Festival by this independent broadcaster.

Victoria Whisky Festival 2010 - Media Coverage

January 23, 2010

(.wmv - 4.46MB)

VWF Q Radio Interview
listen to 100.3 the Q radio interview with Iain Hooey of the Victoria Whisky Festival January 21, 2010
100.3 the Q
VWF Q Radio Interview
listen to 100.3 the Q radio interview with Iain Hooey of the Victoria Whisky Festival February 24, 2010
100.3 the Q
Whisky festival maintains mellow flavour
January 22, 2010
By Grania Litwin
Times Colonist
Female distiller wins blind taste test
January 23, 2010
By Grania Litwin
Times Colonist
Victoria Whisky Festival 2010 - Photogalleries
Event Photography courtesy of Jen Steele Photography
Thursday Night Tastings, January 21st, 2010
Friday Night Tastings, January 22nd, 2010
Masterclasses, January 23rd, 2010 - Day
Consumer Tasting, January 23rd, 2010
Companions of the Quaich - 10th Anniversary Dinner, January 24th, 2010
Victoria Whisky Festival 2010 - Presenters & Menus
Victoria Whisky Festival 2010 - Presenters & Menus
Thursday, January 21st, 2010 - Evening

The Jim Murray Private Tasting

Jim Murray, Author of the 2010 Whisky Bible led a private tasting for clients of Hatch & Muir - Certified Financial Planners. (Tickets were not available to the general public).

Friday, January 22nd, 2010 - Evening

The Grand A. Dewar Rattray Independent Bottler Tasting

Jonathan Bray led the attendees through the excellent single cask bottlings of A. Dewar Rattray, the Independent Bottlers. Single cask bottlings are by their very natured extremely limited; producing only a limited numbers of bottles per cask. This afforded the attendees a thorough examination of the single malts from a wide variety of distilleries, a variety of ages from active and silent distilleries, examining single cask bottlings first hand.

The Grand Tullibardine Distillery Tasting

The Festival was very pleased to have had James Robertson of Tullibardine Distillery in Blackford, Perthshire, Scotland leading attendees through the single malts of this independent distillery. Attendees were able to examine how wood finishes compliment the elegant, soft and fruity style of Tullibardine and James further expanded on the very successful wood finish program including single malts matured in Sauternes, Moscatel along with the brand new Tullibardine Aged Oak, a vintage edition, a cask sample and two well aged single cask bottlings.

The Vintage Malt Whisky Company Dinner

Participants enjoyed 5 outstanding whiskies from the Vintage Malt Whisky Company featuring 2 private cask bottlings - Mortlach 18yr old and 10 yr old Laphroaig, the NO.2 whisky of the year - Ileach Cask strength, Finlaggan old reserve and Ileach Peaty. The Chefs at the Mark Restaurant prepared an exquisite meal to accompany the single malts for the lucky few in attendance. An outstanding evening led by Marcus Von Albrecht, limited to 23 seats.

The Jim Murray Head to Head Tasting

The Victoria Whisky Festival was very pleased to welcome Jim Murray, author of the 2010 Whisky Bible, back to Victoria in support of the 2010 Festival. The whiskies in the tasting were presented blind and the participants assessed and rated two samples at a time and the then compared them with each other pairing until an ultimate winner was declared by the participants. This fast paced and highly interactive tasting was great fun for the participants and they were surprised and delighted when the whiskies were ultimately revealed.

MASTERCLASSES - Whisky School!
Saturday, January 23rd, 2010 - Morning

The 2010 Masterclass schedule not only offered increased capacity but we were also very pleased to offer increased diversity with whiskies from Canada, Scotland, Ireland, India, The United States of America and England. The additional capacity was represented by an extra class in each time slot; it is fast becoming a Festival tradition to schedule another masterclass every time we discover another available room in the Hotel Grand Pacific! Featuring whiskies from around the world, a selection of single malts and blends, independent bottlers and distillers presenting their own whiskies, the 2010 Victoria Whisky Festival offered a unique range of quality whiskies for the attendee. A vast improvement on school!

11:15am - 12:15pm

An Examination of the Variations between Peated Islay & Peated Speyside Single Malt Whiskies

We were very excited to offer this new masterclass which is at the other end of the spectrum from the Introduction to Whisky Masterclass. Attendees looked at the differences between peating levels in Islay and Speyside single malt Scotch whiskies with one of the more experienced and disciplined enthusiasts in the world. Davin de Kergommeaux, who is a founding member of the highly respected Malt Maniacs (one of only 3 in Canada and there are only 25 world wide), who live and breathe whisky. Davin has scored more than 2300 different whiskies from around the world and is also a judge in the Malt Maniacs Annual Awards where over 200 whiskies are rated and scored blind. Davin also judges the World Whisky Awards in London.

Whisky 101 - An Introduction to Whisky Production & Whisky Tasting

Richard Cmajdalka, Sommelier and Territory Manager for Charton Hobbs led an informal and entertaining class on the production of Scotch and American Whiskey. Geared toward the novice whisky drinker it also included a segment on whisky tasting. This class featured the Whiskies of Glenmorangie, Ardbeg, Glenrothes, Cutty Sark, Jack Daniels' and Woodford Reserve.

Maker's Mark Masterclass - An evolution of Maker's Mark

Maker's Mark Distillery Diplomat Ron Oliver took participants on a journey from past to present with the bourbon industry as their compass. We discussed the history behind bourbon production in the USA and followed the early settlers to Kentucky. Distillation then and now and an in depth look at Maker's Mark production methods were covered as well. We also tasted Maker's Mark at 4 different stages of its evolution, 1 day, 2 year, fully mature and over mature expressions illustrating why we only make one product at Maker's Mark and why we put the very best in each bottle.

Scotch Malt Whisky Society Masterclass

This special masterclass featured a variety of the famed Society single cask malts. The Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottles and resells to its members single malt whiskies from single casks, at cask strength from active and silent distilleries and thus Society malts, by their very nature, are very rare. The Festival was fortunate to be able to present a selection of these famed single malts.

Companions of the Quaich Masterclass with Ed Patrick

Ed Patrick, President of The Companions of The Quaich, Canada's Premier Malt Whisky Appreciation Society, led the fortunate attendees through seven of his favourite malts from two of the famed Spey valley's premier distilleries. The two distilleries are distinctive in their own right and justly have first-class reputations around the world.

English Whisky Company

Andrew Nelstrop, of English Whisky Co. gave a review of the first 3 years of building and owning a Single Malt Whisky distillery from scratch. Attendees had a chance to taste the whisky in its various ages from new make spirit - through to whisky whilst learning about the trials and tribulations of being the first whisky distillery in England for over 100 years and also learning how whisky is made.

Amrut Distillery

Jonathan Bray led the lucky participants through the excellent whiskies of Amrut Distillery of Bangalore, India. Amrut single malt is made from Indian barley which is mashed and distilled in small batches and matured in oak barrels in a unique tropical environment at an elevation of 3,000 feet above sea level. Jim Murray and many others rate the Amrut single malts very highly; discover Amrut single malt for yourself!

Saturday January 23rd, 2010 - Afternoon

1:00pm - 2:00pm

Murray McDavid Independent Bottler Masterclass

Once again our friends at Murray McDavid presented an impressive range of independently bottled single malts without the addition of chill filtration or any coloring but additionally matured in the finest casks money can buy. This master class was led by Andrew Gray, Co Proprietor of Murray McDavid, and focused on the contribution superior oak contributes to maturation.

Douglas Laing Independent Bottler Masterclass

The Douglas Laing masterclass featured a stunning range Single Cask, Single Malt Whisky. Single cask bottlings are a rarity and Douglas Laing is one of the premier bottlers of such Whisky of superb quality, age and distinction. Bob Kyle of Rare Drams led the Master Class and offered an insight in their Whisky Archive with a selection of some iconic Malts in the history of Scotch Whisky, all Unchill Filtered and at Natural Colour.

Canadian Club Masterclass

This masterclass was a new addition to the Festival line and focused on the rich history of Canadian Club while examining little known Canadian Club facts and the production process that includes blending prior to aging. It was accompanied by a structured and fun tasting of the various Canadian Club expressions from Canadian Club Premium through to the Canadian Club Special Edition 30 year old.

Glenfiddich Distillery Masterclass


We are the most awarded for a reason. Judges from the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) and the International Spirit Challenge (ISC) have rewarded Glenfiddich's extraordinarily high standards and depth of flavour with gold, silver and bronze medals year upon year; since records began. Lindsay Prociw, Senior Brand Manager for William Grant & Sons led our master class to connoisseur status. The class featured a blind taste test of the 12, 15, 18 line of whiskies, and Lindsay's graduates sampled Glenfiddich's 32-year-old private vintage during her special visit to Victoria.

The Classic Malts of Scotland Masterclass

Since their release as a collection in 1987, the CLASSIC SIX MALTS have opened many people's eyes to the joys of whisky and demonstrated the differences of flavour profiles and regional characteristics of Scotland's whiskies. Michael Nicolson, a third generation Distillery Manager and a 36 year veteran of Scotch whisky distillation walked participants through the whiskies from the Highlands, Lowlands, Speyside and the Isles.

Penderyn Distillery Masterclass

Penderyn Distillery is the only distillery in Wales and one of the smallest distilleries in the world. They produce just one cask per day of the finest malted barley spirit, which, when matured, is recognised worldwide as one of the finest malt whiskies. Penderyn Single Malt is so rare that it has to be on strict allocation to markets outside Wales. From the moment when the cooper goes into sustainable American white oak forests to hand select trees from which the barrels are made through to the bottling line at the distillery where every bottle off the bottling line is hand polished the commitment to quality is uncompromising. Penderyn Distiller Gillian MacDonald guided attendees through the award winning single malts from this famous distillery.

Glenglassaugh Distillery

The Festival was very pleased to welcome Stuart Nickerson of Glenglassaugh distillery to Victoria for his first visit. Stuart took the attendees through the rebirth of the distillery, from what was needed to bring it out of mothballs and back to life after 22 years, all in a very short space of time. There was also a tasting of the new products, "The Spirit Drink that dare not speak its name" and "The Spirit Drink that blushes to speak its name", as well as some of the older and very rare single malts. Stuart also talked about the ways that people can purchase a cask for maturation at the distillery.

2:40pm - 3:40pm

Bruichladdich Distillery Company Masterclass

Andrew Gray, Co Proprietor of Bruichladdich Distillery presented some of Bruichladdich's innovative single malts from this famed and maverick Islay distillery. The distillery, loved by consumers, the trade, and discerning experts but generally disliked within the scotch whisky industry, showcases and discusses what's cutting edge at Bruichladdich and invites attendees to wake up to flavour, innovation and provenance. It was an event not to be missed!!

A. Dewar Rattray Independent Bottler

Jonathan Bray of A. Dewar Rattray Independent Bottlers led attendees through the company's excellent line of single cask bottlings. The Dewar Rattray line featured a variety of ages from active and silent distilleries, examining single cask bottlings first hand. If you missed the A. Dewar Rattray Grand Tasting on Friday night then this was your chance to catch up!

Highland Park Distillery Masterclass

In a day and age when "hand-crafted" is as rare a word as any, this Orcadian Single Malt is a stand-alone with collectors and consumers alike.

Join J. Wheelock, Brand Ambassador for Highland Park took attendees back in time to speak to the illicit beginnings of Highland Park and what evolution it has experienced as a response to an ever-demanding global market.

Paul Pacult has proclaimed Highland Park 18 to be "The Best Spirit in the World", twice. We think you will agree.

Highwood Distillery Masterclass

Highwood Distillers was proud to present master blender Glen Hopkins as Highwood's spokesman for the 2010 Victoria Whisky Festival. Glen is the Vice president of operations at Highwood and comes with over 20 years of distilling and blending experience. He presented Potters Century Reserve 21 year old, Century 15 year, Highwood Centennial 10year old and a new specialty whisky release from Highwood Distillers.

The Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky Masterclass

When a fifteen-year-old farm boy took over a small Kilmarnock grocery store in 1820, he was taking the first step in the journey that led to the creation of an iconic global whisky brand. The boy was called John Walker, and he passed a thriving business, along with his drive and dedication to excellence, onto two generations of his family who built a high quality international whisky company. The journey continues today; with JOHNNIE WALKER a recognized icon of personal progress; a sophisticated, high-status and dynamic brand that is sold in almost 200 countries around the world. Michael Nicolson, a third generation Distillery Manager and 36 year veteran of Scotch whisky distillation walked attendees through the JOHNNIE WALKER line-up, in the way only Mike can. A class not to be missed.

The Cooley Distillers Irish Whiskey Masterclass

The Festival was very pleased to offer a masterclass dedicated to the whiskies of Ireland featuring Cooley Distillers, the only independent Irish whiskey distillery in Ireland. Irish whiskey is gaining stature around the world; the whiskies in this class were no exception and Cooley Distillers were pleased to present their Award winning range of single malts (Tyrconnell and Connemara).

The Morrison-Bowmore Distillers Masterclass

Jamie MacKenzie, the Ambassador for the famed Morrison-Bowmore Distillers took participants through the single malts from the Lowland distillery of Auchentoshan, that triple distils their whisky and the newly launched Glen Garioch (pronounced 'Geery') including the brand new Glen Garioch 1797 Founders Reserve; those present were amongst the first in Canada to sample this new single malt!

3:35pm - 4:05pm

LIVE episode of WhiskyCast

We were joined for a LIVE episode of WhiskyCast, the cask-strength podcast focusing on whisky news and interviews.

Mark Gillespie hosted a discussion on the state of the whisky business with several of the distillers and whisky experts attending this year's Festival. The entire show was webcast on the Internet through the VWF website.

Visit WhiskyCast at

4:20pm - 5:20pm

Angus Dundee Masterclass - Tomintoul & Glencadam Distilleries

The Festival was extremely pleased to host the British Columbia launch for the excellent single malts from the Scottish distilleries of Tomintoul and Glencadam. The whiskies from these distilleries are highly prized by connoisseurs and enthusiast alike. We were joined by Bob Kyle of Rare Drams and he leds us through the delights from the two different regions of Scotland that these single malts represent.

Tullibardine Distillery

James Robertson of Tullibardine Distillery in Blackford, Perthshire, Scotland led attendees through the single malts of this independent distillery. James focused on the very successful wood finish program including single malts matured in Sauternes, Moscatel, Sherry and Port casks. Attendees were able to examine how wood finishes compliment the elegant, soft and fruity style of Tullibardine and James brought some unusual and very new cask samples!

The Macallan Distillery Masterclass

We took a virtual journey to the lush landscapes of Scotland's Speyside district and embrace the most precious whisky in the world - The Macallan.

J. Wheelock, Brand Ambassador for The Macallan, was our guide to exploring the inner workings of this world-class malt from conception in Scotland to the partnerships that have been forged in Kentucky's Bourbon industry and the heart of Spanish sherry making in Jerez.

Participants explored a range of whiskies with a history as rich as the liquid that is inside.

Inver House Masterclass with Jim Murray

Inver House Distillers was delighted to be once again holding a Masterclass at the 2010 Victoria Whisky Festival. With 5 highly regarded distilleries, including An Cnoc, Balblair and Old Pulteney and the award winning Catto's Blended Scotch Whisky a selection of their award-winning single malts were featured. As in previous years, those present were informed and entertained! Jim Murray, the author of the 2010 Whisky Bible led the class.

Crown Royal de-Constructed Masterclass

The iconic crown-shaped bottle and purple velvet bag have long been a part of our nation's history since it was presented to the King and Queen of England in 1939. When Sam Bronfman began blending whiskies, he tried out six hundred different blends before he finally settled on the one that was to become CROWN ROYAL. Kris Steed, Brand Educator for Diageo, joined us to de-construct Crown Royal and helped us understand its key blending components. Participants sampled some of the blending whiskies on their own that are used in the quintessential blend, and then were guided through a tasting of Crown Royal's five very different offerings. It was a jam-packed session with a few surprises.

Isle of Arran Distillery Masterclass

From Scotland's Distillery of the Year 2007, Céline Têtu presented several crackerjack, award winning whiskies from the Isle of Arran Distillers Limited, the company that was established in 1991. Work started on the distillery in late 1994 and distilling commenced in 1995. Isle of Arran Distillery has gone from strength to strength consistently rolling out some grand very well made single malts. As always the Arran masterclass was not one to miss.

The Springbank Distillery Masterclass

The Festival was very pleased to see the return of Peter Currie from Springbank Distillery in Campbeltown, to the Victoria Whisky Festival. Attendees had the opportunity to examine the unique Campbeltown style evident in Springbank whiskies from new make spirit through the range culminating with the new 2010 Springbank 18 year old. The effects of aging on the Springbank single malts were a key component of the masterclass.

Compass Box Whisky Company Masterclass with John Glaser

It's traditional at the Victoria Whisky Festival to sneak in one more masterclass prior to the start of ticket sales to the general public and the 5th Annual Victoria Whisky Festival was no exception. After years of begging, pleading and cajoling the Festival was very pleased to announce that John Glaser of Compass Box Whisky, renowned for making high quality award winning whiskies, would be attending the 2010 Victoria Whisky Festival and was holding a special masterclass for invited guests of the Festival.

Dine & Check into the Festival Prior to the Consumer Tasting! Avoid the Line Ups!

Not fans of line ups and discover that you're hungry at dinner time? We had the answer for you in the form of a time saving option for Victoria Whisky Festival guests in 2010! Guests could check in with the Festival first (Where they had their hand stamped, were handed their engraved Glencairn nosing & tasting glass and their program. Participants were also able to check their coats and book their safe ride home at the same time). The next stop was the Pacific Restaurant just off the lobby of the Hotel Grand Pacific for a sumptuous dinner.

At the start of the Consumer Tasting at 7pm (6pm for VIP Consumer Tasting Ticket Holders) it was possible to simply enter the Festival avoiding any line ups!

To speed up the dining process the Chefs at the Hotel Grand Pacific designed a sumptuous buffet dinner to ensure that everyone was finished dinner in plenty of time to start the Festival at 7pm (6pm for VIP Consumer Tasting Ticket Holders).

Please click here to see the menu.

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010 - Evening

The VIP Tasting 6:00pm to 7:00pm

The VIP Tasting was open to special guests of the 2010 Victoria Whisky Festival and VIP Ticket holders. It was held in the Vancouver & Pender Island Ballrooms prior to the Consumer Tasting and featured the full line of whiskies as with the Consumer Tasting. VIP Ticket holders were able to explore the range of whiskies being presented for a full hour prior to the Consumer Tasting (Ticket price includes VIP Tasting & Consumer Tasting).

The Consumer Tasting 7:00pm to 10:00pm

The heart of the Festival was the Consumer Tasting being held in the Hotel Grand Pacific's Pender Island and Vancouver Island Ballrooms featuring a myriad of distilleries and whiskies including Canadian whisky, Scottish single malts and blended whiskies, Irish whiskey and a variety of whisky & whiskey styles from the United States of America.

Attendees had their choice of over 100 whiskies for their enjoyment. Each attendee was provided with an engraved Glencairn whisky nosing & tasting glass, a Festival program, a Malt Advocate whisky magazine and assorted product information.

The Hotel Grand Pacific provided the best Hors d'Oeuvres from their award winning kitchen and Chefs using local ingredients including the very popular & elusive haggis tarts created especially for the Victoria Whisky Festival! Here participants were able to satisfy their whisky curiosity by sampling over 100 whiskies, the largest selection available for such an event in British Columbia.

Sunday, January 24th, 2010 - Evening

The Companions of the Quaich 10th Anniversary Dinner

The Hotel Grand Pacific's Executive Chef Rick Choy paired exceptional local ingredients with the single malts being presented. This exceptional evening, in the highly acclaimed The Mark restaurant, featured single malts from many of the finest distilleries in Scotland and was a celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the Companions of the Quaich.

Click to view the menu and whisky pairings

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