2019 MASTERCLASS SERIES
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 pre-show 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.
EARLY ADMISSION 5:00pm
Spirit of Toronto 15th Anniversary Celebration with Regis Lemaitre — $85
Spirit of Toronto is excited to be celebrating fifteen years as Canada’s premiere tasting event! As a thank you to our many loyal fans, we invite our friends — new and old — to join us for a relaxed, pre-show session that digs deep into the Spirit of Toronto archives, and sip and savour some of our personal favourites from Scotland, the United States and Japan. Joining us to host this special tasting is none other than Regis ‘WhiskyMad’ Lemaitre, an adopted Scot and long-time friend of Spirit of Toronto who will regale and delight with his Gallic charm and unmitigated passion for all things whisky. (Please note that this session starts at 5:00pm.)
EARLY ADMISSION 5:00pm
The Jim Murray Method of Nosing and Tasting Whisky with Jim Murray — $55
The Penderyn Distillery from Wales is pleased to present a singular tasting of its range hosted by none other than Jim Murray, arbiter and commentator on all things whisky. An English critic and journalist who has been writing about whisky since 1985, Jim Murray is best known as author of ‘Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible’, an annual guide that currently includes 4,600 detailed tasting notes, and infamously crowns the ‘World’s Best Whisky’ each fall. We are excited to have Jim join us for a rare Canadian tasting that will introduce guests to the wonders of Welsh single malt whisky, as well as an education in the Murray Method of Nosing and Tasting Whisky. In the words of the inimitable Jim Murray, get set for a witty, uncompromising and possibly controversial masterclass designed to both entertain and educate... (Please note that this session starts at 5:00pm.)
EARLY ADMISSION 5:00pm
Gordon & MacPhail: A Scotch Whisky Dynasty with Bill Somerville — $55
We look forward to welcoming back fan favourite Bill Somerville, who will be tasting and talking guests through the storied history of family firm Gordon & MacPhail. From a quartet of single cask bottlings under the highly regarded Connoisseurs Choice range, to the 2019 releases of the Benromach distillery in Speyside, Bill will be chronicling the family’s generational journey from 19th century grocers to Scotland’s foremost independent bottlers of single malt Scotch whisky, and now one of Speyside’s most esteemed distillers. (Please note that this session starts at 5:00pm.)
EARLY ADMISSION 5:00pm
No Italy, No Cocktail with Tad Carducci — $55
From Aperitivo to Digestif, Italy has long influenced the culture of mixology and drinking. Imagine your favourite cocktails without the flavour of Italy – where would that leave the Negroni, the Manhattan, or the Aviation? Join us on a journey that explores the origin and variety of Italian liqueurs, amari, and vermouths that have influenced the history and tradition of drinks. (Please note that this session starts at 5:00pm.)
EARLY ADMISSION 5:30pm
Crown Royal: The Art of Blending with Stephen Wilson — $35
Join Stephen Wilson, Crown Royal’s Director of Whisky Engagement, for a behind-the-scenes look at Canada’s top-selling whisky. This masterclass will focus on the history and craftsmanship of Crown Royal, and how its current blenders carry on a tradition dating back to 1939. Stephen will be sharing a few of Crown Royal’s core blends along with a couple of surprises hand-picked from the warehouses of Crown Royal’s Gimli distillery in Manitoba. Get set for an evening filled with good conversation, good people and even better whisky!
Bearface Deconstructed: The Art of Oak Finishing with Alexander Bohman — $15
Bearface brand ambassador Alexander Bohman invites guests to learn how winemaking techniques have been applied to Canadian whisky in the blending and maturation of Bearface 7 Year Old Triple Oak Whisky. Distilled in Collingwood and matured in three kinds of oak — ex-bourbon, ex-wine and Hungarian oak — guests will be guided through a step-by-step tasting that follows the original whisky through its maturation in various casks before its final bottling. This is a rare opportunity for whisky geeks to taste firsthand how seasoning and toasting of oak in the winemaking tradition can radically alter a spirit, and open new doors for Canadian whisky!
Johnnie Walker: Walking with Malts with Dante Concepcion Jr — $15
Get set for a unique, integrated tasting that samples the signature blends of the Johnnie Walker family alongside some of the malt whiskies — Cardhu, Mortlach, etc — from their blending portfolio. This class will be rich with historical facts that celebrate the quality and craftsmanship behind each Johnnie Walker blend, interspersed with a discussion of how single malts play an integral role in the Johnnie Walker range of blended Scotch whiskies, dating back to its origins in 1820. Be ready to surprise your mind and delight your palate!
The Glenlivet: It’s All About The Cask with Frank Biskupek — $15
Led by The Glenlivet Brand Ambassador Frank Biskupek, join us and explore different expressions of The Glenlivet Single Malt range, showcasing how each is unique based on the different effects of types of casks used in aging and their finish.
Forty Creek Whisky from Past to Present with Chris Thompson — $15
Forty Creek ushered in a new era for Canadian whisky with a spectacular selection of flavourful, award-winning whiskies that redefined the category. Hosted by North American Brand Ambassador, Chris Thompson, this session will include a selection of Forty Creek classics from today alongside a few hand-selected favourites from the past.
Jura Revisited with Louis-Jérôme Doise — $15
Spirit of Toronto extends a warm welcome to Jura’s very own Single Malt Specialist, Louis-Jérôme Doise, as he takes guests through a comprehensive tasting of one of Scotland’s lesser known island whiskies. Louis-Jérôme looks forward to introducing guests to the distillery’s namesake, the Isle of Jura, alongside the new range launched in 2018, four unique expressions that set Jura apart from other island whiskies, concluding with a taste of the limited edition Jura Tastival 2017.
Northern Border Collection with Dr. Don Livermore — $15
Dive into the world of Canadian whisky and learn firsthand from Dr. Don Livermore, Blender of the Year (Canadian Whisky Awards 2019). Explore the range, embrace the versatility, and take part in this exclusive educational experience to learn more about Canadian whisky in a tasting that will preview the latest special releases of Gooderham & Worts, Pike Creek and J.P. Wiser’s, alongside some of Dr. Don’s recent hits.
Bowmore and Laphroaig: Sip the Whisky, Drink the History with Matt Jones — $15
Spirit of Toronto heralds the return of perennial favourite Matt Jones, Beam Suntory’s World Whisk(e)y Ambassador! This year Matt looks forward to taking guests on a tour of Islay through a tasting of Bowmore and Laphroaig, two legendary distilleries from Scotland’s ‘whiskiest’ island! Learn how Islay’s proximity to Ireland made it the first place the medicinal waters were distilled in Scotland, influenced by 500 plus years of cultural maturation by two island nations of Celtic ancestry, with a whole lot of Viking!B
Old Pulteney: Launching a New Fleet with Lukasz Dynowiak — $15