October 1, 2010

l’Ordre Mondial – The Fairmont – Chateau Lake Louise – October 1, 2010

Well, your Vice-Chargé de Presse really blew it this time.  He was so totally looking forward to the Friday events that he forgot the camera.  Should he be fired?  We will take a vote at the AGM – which is coming shortly!

Mark totally out-did himself this weekend.  He arranged one event on Saturday (check out the separate write-up).and two events on Friday.  The first was a double set of tastings – six single malts followed by six very special micro-beers.  The second event was a pub night in the Glacier Saloon.

Bryce Koates of Willow Park did the narrative for the Scotch tasting.  He led us through six very lovely glasses of spirits.  They were:

Auchentoshan 12 year old
Dalwhinnie 15 year
Balvenie single cask 15 year
Bruichladich Sauternes 16 year
Glen Dronach 18 Year
Bowmore 15 Year.

His technical knowledge and passion for the “Spirit” was obvious.  He led us down several trails of memories which were echoed by one of our passionate members – Don Watt.  We wandered through the brambles and over the Isles and into the Highlands for sipping and tasting.  Into castles and under dungeons, through distilleries – both legal and not-so-legal, we tread, until we came to the end of our journey.  A great pleasure for all.  Should you wish tasting notes, then I suggest that you approach Bryce for a personalized set of tastings down at Willow Park – it would be a most pleasurable evening.

Then Kenton stepped up to the bar.  He led us through a sampling of various specialty beers.  All of which were brewed in Western Canada.

The first was Yukon – Fireweed Honey.  From the name, I expected a sweetish brew – and was most pleasantly surprised when, although the nose was highly aromatic, the taste was crisp and just a slight tart!.  Bonus!.

Following that were samples from five well known local micro-breweries:
Wild Rose – Velvet Fog – a partially filtered hefeweisen
Amber’s – Pale Ale – fruity taste with a very dry finish
Alley Kat – Pumpkin Pie – flavours of nutmeg, allspice and cloves.  This would make a great beer float with Mackay’s vanilla ice cream
Big Rock  – Ed’s Black Amber Ale – a very stout ale for sure
Tree Brewing – IPA – as our Bailli Provincial pronounced – “a REAL beer”.

At the end of the tastings, Bryce produced a cylinder of magic – a bottle of 30-year-old Bunnahabhain – number 127 of 300 that was especially bottled for Willow Park and this was the last of its kind.  He held a drawing and unbelievably, it was won by your Vice-Chargé de Presse.  This is probably one of the only things he has ever won in his entire life!.  Such a bonus.  Unfortunately, for the rest of the weekend, he was subjected to a merciless inundation of requests to sample the special prize.

Fortunately, however, a few days later, a very high ranking member suggested that the requests were in jest and that the bottle should be opened in front of a low burning fire during our winter, with a few favoured guests and sampled in the full spirit of a pure Scottish winter evening.

I must admit, that I have a very special memory burned into my brain of being in a small Inn on the north coast of Scotland in the village of Strathy.  We wandered into the pub.  There were only a few tables there.  I listened to the locals talking and then said to my better half: “close your eyes and try to figure out where we are”.  We both agreed that the accent was very much like Newfoundland!

However, we were feeling like we would like a bit more privacy, when the landlady appeared.  We expressed our thoughts and so she showed us into the Library.  It was a small room – no bigger than 12 foot by 12 foot, with a small peat fire burning in the fireplace.  We slowly melted into the room, a wee glass of something for each of us.  I drifted into a small oblivion.  The warmth of the fire and the peat aroma drifting around our heads – it was the perfect end to a wonderful day.

Wake- up!  Our evening was still ahead!  Mark had arranged a Pub night for all.  We headed down to the Glacier Saloon.  Well, it was advertised as starting after our tasting.  Unfortunately, we got there about an hour late.  The thirsty patrons were a bit whatever, but after hearing of our amazing journey, they relented.  Then Chef Felix began to unravel his wonderful buffet for us to devour.  An amazing selection of delights was presented.  Especially for the tummies that were waiting for us to arrive.  Everyone dug in.  Felix and his staff provided a perfect selection   We dug into the food, some of the beers and scotches that were tasted and then a few other beverages that had been discussed that would complement or contrast to those we tasted.

In all it was a perfect evening.  The event was to end when the last guest left.  We are not sure when that would have been, for we left at a late hour and yet, it appears that some patrons were there for a considerable time later.

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