How many times have you let a label or brand dictate your action to purchase? This is certainly how I choose all of my spirits at the liquor store. For the majority of us without the skills or the refined palate to discern between nutty notes and one of florals, the SIP&Share Collective is a great opportunity to learn a thing or two about what it is we are sipping on, neat.
This is essentially a monthly whisky tasting club, where ticket holders try their way thought 8 different types of themed whisky. On its debut, guests in attendance converged at an open space loft and we began our whisky journey close to home: Canadian Whisky.
You sit in groups of four, and if you are as lucky as we were, our table immediately clicked. We rode the same wave length, which was to try all the whiskies and go for seconds, if not fourths. Each place setting includes a place mat with 8 tasters of whisky, the necessary educational paperwork to allow you to walk yourself though the experience, a bottle of water, and mini pack of Pringles. The latter two is helpful in refreshing your palates in between sips.
Each session is 90 minutes long and broken down into 3 components. So be sure to pace yourself and take smaller sips, as you will revisit each taster a couple of time. Although if you get too excited and/or thirsty your host, the “Whisky Muse” herself, Reece of @reecesims is more than happy to fill your cup.
Part 1 is the Whisky Blinds. You taste each whisky and use the provided tasting wheel to identify if what you are tasting is sweet, woody, spicy, grassy, or floral-like; along their subcategory of notes. For instance if your beverage is grassy is it a grassy-grain like hay, straw, or rye or is it a grassy-herbal like sage, mint, or tobacco?
You are encouraged to discuss and write your honest opinions, exchanging thoughts with those around you, so should you feel comfortable to. Which glas do you like the most and why? The session doesn’t call on people to engage. It is a safe and fun space, where regardless of your experience level, you are sure to learn a thing or two; while connecting with likeminded individuals!
Part 2 is all about brand perception. Here they unveil the list of participating brands and have you rank which ones you like best and why. Today our line up included Swear Jar, Forty Creek, JP Wisers, Ancient Grains, Steelhead, Piggy Back, Canadian Club, Lot 40.
And finally Part 3 is the reveal. You learn which sample pertains to which brand, and are able to taste each again in a mind blow and study of how perception isn’t necessarily reality
I won’t be reviewing each of the whiskies here. As one, the reviews are based on personal preference. And two our table drank double the amount of whisky it started off with. So things aren’t as clear as I would like them to be, if reviewing a product.
But I can definitively announce that Canadian Club was the one that surprised us. We gave it top marks blind, yet it would not be the bottle we reach for first.
In conclusion, I am already looking forward to the next session in April, featuring bourbon (US whisky).