Early Admission 5:30pm


The most popular feature of the show, Spirit of Toronto is pleased to present no less than a dozen 45-minute tutored tastings in closed rooms on the lower level of Roy Thomson Hall.

Whether you consider yourself a novice taster or a seasoned connoisseur, this is your opportunity to sample and learn more about rare and unique spirits in a quiet and unhurried setting.

These sessions may only be attended by those purchasing a ticket to the main showcase.

Patrons with Early Admission tickets to attend a 5:30pm session enjoy priority entry into the main hall at 6:30pm.

If you are attending the 7pm or 8:30pm classes, please note that your seat is guaranteed until 5 minutes before start time; all empty seats will then be assigned to patrons on a stand-by basis.

No reservation but still interested in attending a masterclass on stand-by? Please check with the ushers at the top of the classroom stairs; they will seat patrons if space is available.

A Kentucky Derby Social—$49
with Matt Jones

What's the Kentucky Derby without a mint julep? This year whiskey ambassador Matt Jones asks that question as he kicks off the festivities on Roy Thomson Hall’s poolside terrace. Matt will be hosting a relaxed session of mint juleps and live blues music with Matt Morgan, complete with a Derby-inspired menu of fried chicken, pulled pork and devilled eggs, with some pecan pie for dessert! Take advantage of Matt’s Southern hospitality to don a fancy hat, sip a julep outdoors, and learn more about the “most exciting two minutes in sports”.

American Whiskey: A History Lesson—$75
with Angus MacRaild

Whisky writer and rare bottle specialist Angus MacRaild returns to Spirit of Toronto with his Tardis as he presents a review of the last century of American whiskey. This is the latest in a series of once-in-a-lifetime tastings presented by Spirit of Toronto, and fans of American whiskey will not be disappointed as Angus starts his lesson in 1916 with pre-Prohibition whiskey, teaches us the difference between bourbon and rye, and takes a look at some of bourbon's most legendary figures.

John Dewar's Fine Whisky Emporium—$35
with Gabriel Cardarella

Steeped in storied history, John Dewar & Sons has been creating fine whiskies for over 160 years. Join Brand Ambassador Gabe Cardarella as he shares the true stories of Dewar’s whiskies and samples some of the Last Great Malts of Scotland being released to the public for the first time, including Aberfeldy, Craigellachie, Aultmore and The Royal Brackla. Trained by Dewar’s Master Blender Stephanie Macleod, Cardarella has spent the last ten years teaching people around the world about the special taste of Dewar’s and the depth, complexity and beauty of Scotch Whisky.


From Vine to Glass: Armganac Delord—$35
with Joëlle Lamarque

Lovers of bold, rustic flavours are in for a treat as this year's Spirit of Toronto welcomes the House of Delord, here to teach out guests all about armagnac, a 700-year old distilling tradition that has changed little over the centuries. Joëlle is here from France to explain how Delord combines their unique terroir, distillation techniques and blending into some truly superlative barrel aged brandies including Delord 25 Year Old and L’Authentique, a blend of some of the estate’s oldest armagnacs.


You say Rum, I say Rhum Agricole—$35
with Wayne Curtis

Spirit of Toronto welcomes Wayne Curtis, author of “And a Bottle of Rum”, as he introduces guests to the joy and subtlety of rhum agricole. Whereas most rums are distilled from molasses, “agricole rhums” are typical of the French West Indies and start with freshly pressed sugar cane juice, resulting in a grassy aroma and taste. The result? Fine rums with distinctive flavour profiles that will open your eyes as to what rum can be. Wayne looks forward to sharing their history and production as he gives guests a taste of island life.


7:00pm Masterclasses


Old Pulteney, A Maritime Malt—$15
with Gord Stevenson

Learn all about Old Pulteney, one of the oldest and most northern distilleries in the Scottish Highlands in a tasting that explores the distinct coastal flavours which makes Old Pulteney the definitive Maritime Malt. Spirit of Toronto is excited to have Gord share a truly stellar line-up from one of our favourite distilleries, including the 21 Year Old, Jim Murray's 2012 Whisky of the Year, a limited edition 1989 vintage recently named 'WWA World Whisky of the Year', and the last remaining bottle worldwide of Old Pulteney 30 Year Old. Suffice to say that this is a masterclass that lovers of coastal malts will not want to miss!


The Legend of El Dorado Rum—$15
with Shaun Caleb

Learn about the legend of El Dorado, the gilded city of gold, that led explorers to the fertile lands of Guyana where sugar and rum quickly shaped a nation. Spirit of Toronto is honoured to have Master Distiller Shaun Caleb share with us his country's heritage as bottled in the prestigious range of El Dorado Demerara rums. Shaun will be explaining what makes Demerara unique—the soil, the climate, the species, the stills, the people, the processes—as he guides guests through the El Dorado portfolio including a single barrel from the Enmore Estate, and the rarely seen El Dorado 25 year old.


Benromach, Past and Present—$15
with Richard Uquhart

Benromach was purchased by Gordon & MacPhail in 1993 and over the next 5 years the distillery was restored and production recommenced in 1998. This masterclass will look at the current whiskies produced at Benromach, explaining why we make a pre 1960 style of Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky and then look at the newest addition to the Benromach Heritage range — Benromach 35 Years Old — a whisky distilled prior to the distillery closing in 1983 and Gordon & MacPhail's ownership.


The Malt Distiller’s Collection—$15
with Ken Lindsay

United by their passion and dedication to producing the world's finest Single Malt whisky, the Master Distillers of Aberlour, Longmorn, and Scapa find inspiration in each other's expertise and the nuances of their different distilleries. Join Single Malts Global Brand Ambassador Ken Lindsay on a journey through this diverse selection known as The Malt Distiller's Collection which includes the Aberlour 12 Year Old, Aberlour A'Bunadh, Longmorn Distiller's Choice and Scapa Skiren.


8:30pm Masterclasses


Tomatin, The Softer Side of the Highlands—$15 with Scott Fraser

A warm welcome goes out to Scott Fraser, Regional Sales Manager at Tomatin Distillery and storyteller par excellence, joining us for the first time at Spirit of Toronto. Scott will be bringing to life the many stories of this 120-year-old distillery as he presents five of their finest expressions. Much of Tomatin’s identity is born from the community of distillery workers that still live on site, the meandering water of the Allt-na-Frith burn and its isolated position among the smooth rounded peaks of the Monaliadth mountains. Scott looks forward to explaining how these elements and more helps craft the spirit that is known as ‘the Softer Side of the Highlands’.


Canadian Whisky Trailblazers—$15
with Dr. Don Livermore

“Canadian Whisky is the most innovative whisky category.” – Dr. Don Livermore
Discover the bold whiskies behind this bold statement in a unique tasting with the Master Blender of North America’s largest distillery. Dr. Don Livermore is proud of his arsenal of award-winning whiskies and he looks forward to illustrating the mastery behind the highly-revered, Lot No. 40 Rye (awarded Canadian Whisky of the Year), and the four-grain classic Gooderham & Worts. Dive deep into still more history as brewers with J.P. Wiser's Hopped, learn about the power of distillation with Double Still Rye, and enjoy a sneak preview of the yet to be released Last Barrels, an LCBO-exclusive.


Legends of Bourbon—$15
with Matt Jones

Take a journey through the last two centuries of bourbon whiskey and meet the legends that took a failing industry from its knees to greatness: Jim Beam, who reinvented the industry after Prohibition, Bill Samuels Sr. who shook up the status quo with Maker's Mark, and Booker Noe who resurrected classic styles and created the “Small Batch”. Along with E.H. Taylor, Elmer T Lee, and Jimmy Russell, these are the much vaunted ‘Legends of Bourbon’ who honoured tradition, embraced change, but always moved forward...


Glenfiddich Single Malt Whisky—$15
with Beth Havers

A virtual tour of Glenfiddich from grain to glass with a particular emphasis on our prized malt, Glenfiddich 21 Year Old.