So my friend Dan and I have quite the tradition. Every year we meet up to decorate his parents’ Christmas tree. I’m pretty sure the first invite came out of pity that I wouldn’t decorating a tree at my own home – I was in University and we didn’t really do a tree anymore. So given my lack of tree decorating opportunities, I snatched this one up. That was in 1998. We’ve been doing it every year since then.
The context is variable. Sometimes we do the decorating in the afternoon. Sometimes in the evening. Almost always on a weekend if we can manage it. Dan’s mother will make us brunch or dinner, and it is always fantastic. We’ll eat and chat and drink wine. Sometimes friends have joined us, now Dan’s partner Phillipe is there, but the consistent thing has always been Dan and I decorating the tree. This takes several hours as Dan’s parents have many, many ornaments.
And there are traditions of course. We exchange gifts every year. And my favourite one is Hiding the Airplanes. Dan’s mother has these two small pink and blue airplane ornaments that are antiques, and were made before the invention of plastic. Every year it’s someone’s job to hide the planes somewhere on/in the tree and the others have to find it. I am wretched at both the hiding and the finding, but it’s always, always fun.
So that is what I was up to this weekend. Decorating the tree, year # 19.
And it was good.
The story begins about a month ago when I received a random email with the subject “You’re Invited!” I promptly ignored it and figured it was spam. Well, the sender was persistent and followed up with a second email. I googled her company Jesson + Company Communications Inc. and it turned out they were a legitimate company. So that made me pay a little more attention to the email. Would I be attending the event they invited me too? Looking through my junk mail I found an invitation to the launch of the 2017 Canadian Whisky Awards. This included a tasting session. Hell yes, I wanted to go!
So on December 1st I did just that.
The event was held at the Association of Canadian Distillers office, and I was in for a treat. On my way in I discovered that I was invited in my capacity as a blogger and freelancer. That surprised and pleased me. And not only was there whisky, there was an amazing array of food as well. Too bad I had eaten beforehand.
There were four whiskies we were tasting that night were all previous Canadian Whisky Award winners and they were:
- Canadian Club 100% Rye
- Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye
- Gooderham & Worts
- Lot 40 Copper Pot
Now I love some whisky, I really do, but I am hardly a connoisseur. I wouldn’t be able to write you tasting notes on what I had because I am a casual whisky drinker. But I know what I like. The Gooderham & Worts was the smoothest to my pallet, and therefore my favourite. The ryes were far, far spicier. The Lot 40 somewhere was solidly in the middle. At least to me.
Besides the whisky and the food, we also got to hear from Davin de Kergommeaux, the head judge of the Canadian Whisky Awards! He told us about the origins and how they function. I did not know that it was 100% blind tasting. That’s pretty cool.
To top off the evening they sent me home with a free bottle of Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye! That was very generous of them.
All in all, it was a really lovely time, and although I felt a bit out of my depth the organizers were incredibly welcoming. I’m still not sure how they found me but I am glad they did!