Whiskies of the World

Whiskies of the World

As the ‘Social Stylist’ here at Vine Styles I get the pleasure of developing our tastings, and guilty as charged, sometimes they’re skewed my personal preferences, like whiskey. My love affair with brown liquor began with bourbon. I’d been a long gin kick, but when an agent tasted me on a few bourbons, namely Four Roses Small Batch, I knew I’d found a new drink. Like wine, whiskies are so diverse, and I wanted to share that with our customers and get to know the nuances better myself. We tasted 7 very different whiskies from 5 different countries, and here is the (long winded) low down…

Park Distillery, Unaged Glacier Rye (Canada)

If you haven’t heard, there is now a distillery in Banff! Park distills with Six Glaciers water (high in minerality) and grains from family farms in the Alberta foothills, they hand-mill, hand-mash and hand-distill their products to preserve purity. Releasing an unaged spirit is a common move for young distilleries to generate capital while the others age. Bear in mind, the unaged spirit is very different from the final product! It pours crystal clear, and had you not known you were at a whiskey tasting, I doubt the average nose would guess it’s a rye! The most obvious element on the nose (to me) was red licorice, but as you dig a little deeper you find citrus and floral notes. I definitely recommend giving this a try, or better yet, visit the distillery!

Glendalough, Double Barrel Whiskey (Ireland)

A main point of differentiation for Irish whiskey is that is must be triple distilled, this results in (generally) a lighter style spirit, but some more muscular expressions exist. When you think Irish whiskey, I’m sure you think Jameson or Teeling but the big boys are going to get a run for their money from Glendalough, Ireland’s first craft distillery. This whiskey is aged for 3.5 years in first fill American oak and then finished for 6 months in Oloroso sherry casks – hence ‘double barrel’. The American oak imparts toasty notes with chocolate and caramel, while the Oloroso finish gives the spirit a nutty (almond) and fruity quality with very pleasant softness. If you enjoy Writer’s Tears, you’ll enjoy this!

Templeton, “Small Batch” Rye Whisky (USA)

Al Capone’s drink – legend has it that the “good stuff” even found its way into Alcatraz when Capone was arrested. The distillery recently ran into some legal trouble with their labelling and recipe, but this is a close to the original recipe as legally permissible (see the story here: Templeton Legal Struggles). Capone and legal struggles aside, this is a great whisky! The ryegrass used gives the whisky a distinct grassy nose as well as more bitter taste and oily mouthfeel. There is caramel, butterscotch and allspice with a pronounced orange rind note. Wonderfully balanced and the biggest surprise of the evening for me!

Nikka, From the Barrel (Japan)

I’m always surprised to hear that people don’t have Japanese whisky on their radar, if you’re not up to speed, here is a very short history of Japanese whisky: it made its debut in 1937 under the Suntory label, an importer (Shinjiro Torii) wanted to make whisky, he met the incomparable Masataka Taketsuru. Taketsuru studied chemistry in Scotland and developed an affinity for distillation, he worked at Hazelburn and Longmorn, and even married a Scot before returning to Japan! After working with Suntory he left and opened Nikka. Today, Nikka has a quite a reputation for world class whisky, some we can hardly keep in stock. From the Barrel is a blend of malt and grain that could silence any Single Malt purist. This whisky has character and depth, with notes of fresh cut flowers, oak and plum. The palate is full bodied with notes of winter spices, caramel and long warming finish – if you had a long day at work, you need a dram of this!

Talisker, Storm (Scotland)

Talisker is a distillery that needs no introduction. Storm was distilled to pay homage to the wild seas that characterize the Isle of Skye, and it does so impeccably! This single malt has no age statement but the quality of the spirit speaks for itself. The nose has an unmistakable brine backbone, complimented with smoke and white pepper. It has a wonderful mouth coating texture with campfire smoke, brine and red chilli on the finish. While this is likely the style I’m least likely to reach for at home, I was seriously impressed by the balance and finesse on the palate. If you can imagine the taste of standing on the rugged coastline during a storm, this is it!

Tullibardine, 225 Sauternes Finish (Scotland)

Much like wine, whiskies from one country can be wildly diverse, and leave it to the Scots to have perfected stylistic differences. Tullibardine has excelled at finishing their Single Malt, Tullibardine Sovereign in various casks, each showing unique and expressive character. The 225 is finished in Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes casks. If you’re not sure, Sauternes is a lusciously sweet white wine produced in Bordeaux with notes of honey, peach and apricot. The Scotch aged in these barrels takes on those same notes of honey, tropical fruits and orange peel. This is an excellent Scotch to pour for someone just getting into brown liquor, for bourbon lovers and enthusiasts alike!

Cabot Trail, Maple Whiskey (Canada)

Before you stop reading because we included a flavoured whiskey, trust me when I say, this one is different! Cabot Trail is a mix of whiskey and pure, premium maple syrup, that’s it, that’s all. The maple trees are even on the company property, Domaine Pinnacle, so all production processes are closely monitored. On the nose, it may smell a touch cloying, the maple shines through but upon first sip you’ll see that the alcohol balances the sweetness and you’re left with a creamy whiskey, rich with baking spices and of course – maple!

To my delight, each of the whiskies were a favourite for at least one guest at the tasting. We’re looking forward to our next whiskey tasting and when we announce it, I suggest you move quickly to get a ticket as our last event did sell out!

– S. Gaudet

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Whites with snappy acidity and vibrant flavours that will awaken your senses

Our crisp whites offer lovely refreshing acidity and a nice citrus punch; these wines will revive you and make you feel like you’re enjoying fresh fruit in an orchard in the middle of July. Think about of the last time you were out somewhere in the heat of the summer; one of those days when the pavement was melting, the paint was peeling off buildings and all you could think about was how badly you wanted something to quench your thirst. When you stumbled onto a lemonade stand and took that first sip, you were cured.

We can’t say our wines will cure dehydration but they are a great option while you’re enjoying patio weather.



You’ll find varietals like Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Riesling and Vinho Verde and more!



Loved for their understated qualities these whites are beautiful and exotic

Talking about mellow wine is like talking about a classic film star. She’s a lady with international acclaim and classic appeal. Mellow wines don’t jump up and down screaming for attention; instead they prefer to lure you in with their quiet charm and feminine wiles. Swirling a nice Viognier or Pinot Gris is all about soft, intricate and attractive flavours that might make you think about your favourite perfume, stepping into a flower shop or leaving a patisserie where they’ve just taken almond pastries out of the oven. This is Sophia Loren in a glass.



If you enjoy varietals like Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer or Chenin Blanc you’ll love this style!



Whites that ask to be a muse. This is Claude Monet’s water lilies’ in a wine glass.

Lavish and luxurious wines with all the razzle-dazzle. Think about the things in life that make you feel like you’re living large. Imagine yourself wearing layers of pearl necklaces, leading a ticker tape parade, eating popcorn laced with truffle oil and lounging on the king bed of the Ritz Carlton penthouse all at the same time. Lush wines are what we drink when we’re feeling on top of the world and when we want to celebrate life. This is 4th of July fireworks and the clock striking midnight on New Year’s Eve all rolled into one beautiful gold package. Bottoms up!



Varietals like Chardonnay, Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier are found here.



Ruby reds with a timeless style and appeal; wines that will never go out of fashion.

Elegant reds ask you to dig a bit deeper. Some people enjoy them for the romantic ideas they conjure while others enjoy the subtle nuances that each bottle possesses. We can’t think of a better way to describe elegant reds than talking about Coco Chanel. Think about No. 5, the little black dress or the most importantly the iconic Chanel suit, a true couture item that is well lined, carefully crafted and something that will always be in vogue. An elegant wine is like a nice stroll along the promenade in the seaside town of Biarritz or a day at the ballet in red maillot.



Here you’ll find Pinot Noirs, Gamays, Chiantis and more!



Reds that are pleasant from start to finish

Supple and velvety, smooth reds are a real crowd pleaser; something that everyone loves. Like a popular jazz standard, the best way to sum up these wines is to think about hearing Miles Davis on vinyl. Everyone has heard those tunes and when the horns come in on the track you can’t help but connect over the sheer universal joy in hearing something so incredibly smooth and pleasing to the senses. Miles Davis was one cool dude and that’s how we feel about the wines in this section. You’ll feel like you’re slipping on a new pair of driving gloves every time you pour yourself one.



Varietals such as Grenache, Merlot and mouth-watering blends can be found here.



Our deepest most complex reds; these wines make a statement

Full and flavourful with an intense fruit core, these reds are the talk of the town. Bold wines have an intensity about them that not only commands your presence but also asks you to stay a while. Pretend for a minute that Clint Eastwood has just walked into a bar, stared at you for a long hard second and proceeded to put out a cigar out on his forearm before challenging you to an arm wrestle. You’re heart might skip a beat but you’ll be happy that you tried it. That arm wrestle might be one of the best things you ever do in your life. That’s how we describe a bold wine.



Food friendly varietals like Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are right at home here.



There’s nothing quite like hearing that cork pop!

Call us crazy but the sound of a cork being popped just makes everything better. Headaches dull, clouds seem to part and even the sound of crying children can be drowned out by the wonderful thought that you’ll soon have a stem in hand and an effervescent treat to tickle the end of your nose. A glass of bubbly just spells a plain good time. It might be a celebratory drink with friends, an excuse to get all gussied up for a fabulous night out or it might just be a date with the couch to watch Sex and the City re-runs solo.



Here you’ll find everything from Champagne to Cava, Prosecco, Lambrusco and everything in between!



Wines made with a little extra TLC

What are you going to find in this section? You’re going to find late harvest nectar, ice wines, delectably sweet Rieslings and 5 puttonyos worth of sweetness. And why are you going to love these wines? The grape juice that you’ll find in our Rich section took a lot of extra TLC to make the transition from vine to glass and can be used to make some of the most magnificent food and wine pairings known to man. We just have 3 words for you: Oysters and Sauternes.



This style houses dessert wines like Sauternes, Ice Wine and Tokaji.



Simple and Straightforward

When you think of simple and uncomplicated you can’t help but think of a guy in his college freshmen year. The beers that we’ve categorized as Clean are straightforward and unassuming with bright flavours and not too much complexity. You’ll enjoy these beers more than a keg stand and find them to be about as fresh as a 19 year-old guy at an all girl frat party. Big time!



Light and easy, simple Lagers, Pilsners & Blonde Ales.



Find your zen on our beer wall

Life Coaches and self-help books will tell you that balance is the key to a happy life. That may true but when we’re talking about a balanced style of beer we’re talking about the merits of a good pale ale with well integrated hop and malt flavours. Balanced beers won’t help you understand the deeper meaning of life but they’re still worth sampling for their easy-drinking quality. Take that Deepak Chopra!



Brews such as Brown Ales, Red Ales, Cream Ales, Black Lagers & Dunkels.



For your fun side, beers not meant to be taken too seriously

There is fruity like the Village People and there is fruity like wonderfully citrus kissed Hefeweizen, warm kirsch Belgians and bubbly orchard fruit ciders. While there is no denying the fun of disco and flamboyant cowboys, our Fruity section will give you options to keep you singing and dancing all year long. This is an amiable selection to accompany garden time, dinner parties and of course they pair wonderfully with dessert.



If you’re after a Cider, Radler or any fruit infused brew, you’ll find it here alongside Wheat beers.



The safe way to have an intense experience…

Here’s a short list of things that are truly intense: squirrel suit jumping, big wave surfing and the insane ramblings of Gary Busey. While our Intense selection of beers could be described as big and loud, they certainly won’t lead to death on impact, shark attacks or being verbally abused on Celebrity Apprentice. You’ll love the IPAs and scrumptious Trapist ales. Gary agrees.



Some like it hopped! Here you’ll find IPAs, DIPAs, Trappist brews, Sours & Barleywines.



Beer that leaves an impression

Powerful, sturdy and strapping are all great words to describe the Robust section. Everything you find here possesses strong brawny flavours that leave a lasting impression. Just think back to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s version of Conan the Barbarian; despite the horrifically bad acting that comes with those 80s classics we just can’t help but love the brute force and thick accent. Conan would call you an infidel for drinking anything else.



Home to heartier brews like Stouts and Porters & some Barrel Aged offerings.



We have many amazing wines in our online shop.

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Effortless and exhilarating in any season

It’s undeniable, Rosé is in vogue. It’s enjoying a renaissance following the White Zinfandel craze that swept North America in the 70’s. Today, Rosé is the queen bee. Rosé is your ever fashionable friend. It’s the timeless accessory you can turn to in any season. In the spring it’s like wearing peeptoe shoes on a warm day. In the summer, a breezy dress. In the fall it’s the perfect boots and in the winter, a cozy knit scarf.



Rosés are the product of a myriad of varietals, some of the most common are: Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Cinsault.