Spirit of Toronto 2004
Spirit of Toronto, a showcase of single malt whisky, bourbon and premium
Friday, October 29, 2004 7:0011:00PM
Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto
$95 advance/$115 at the door, available from Roy Thomson Hall
Once the domain of bootleggers and hardened men, whisky has finally come
into its own with a proliferation of vintage bottlings, publications and
consumer shows dedicated solely to the "water of life."
As these whisky shows flourish in London, Tokyo, New York and Paris,
tickets go on sale today for the Spirit of Toronto 2004, Toronto's first-ever
showcase of single malt whisky, bourbon and premium spirits from around
the world. Admission includes sampling of more than 100 whiskies, a blender's
nosing glass specifically designed for whisky tasting, the Mark Eisenman
Jazz Trio, and the highlight of the show, a series of twelve masterclass
tastings hosted by whisky distillers and blenders, including Richard Paterson
from The Dalmore, Jim Cryle from The Glenlivet and Evan Cattanach from
"This event is about bringing together whisky enthusiasts and the
people who make these fine spirits, about discovering the heritage, romance
and passion of whisky," enthuses John Hall, proprietor of Kittling
Ridge and Forty Creek Whisky, and a self-described "first-generation
Canadian whisky maker," who will be hosting one of the masterclasses.
He observes that whisky is undergoing a renaissance guided by the axiom,
"drink less, drink better." The Spirit of Toronto is the brainchild
of Johanna Ngoh, editor and publisher of Single Minded, A Single Malt
Whisky Journal. Fiercely independent and opinionated, Ms. Ngoh has
been educating consumers for the last two years through articles and product
reviews that aim to inform and entertain with commentary that draws analogies
to Katharine Hepburn, neutered dogs and bananas Foster.
"This is no longer the drink of old men in the middle of winter,"
according to Ms. Ngoh, an aficionado who enjoys a personal collection
of over 300 whiskies. "Premium whiskies are attracting a growing
number of women and thirtysomethings whose palates have evolved beyond
vodka and coolers. And these are zero carb treats so how can you go wrong?"
Ms. Ngoh acknowledges that first impressions are hard to break and that
the industry has a long way to go towards changing the perception of whisky
as a hard man's drink that leaves a burn in the back of the throat. "So
many factors influence the final product: whisky taste descriptors run
the gamut from red roses to a pair of leather boots and that's
a good thing to some people's palate! People who say they don't like whisky
just haven't found the one that suits their taste. With more than a 100
whiskies on offer, the Spirit of Toronto is guaranteed to feature something