Malt Messenger Bulletin – New Year – New Virtual Tastings! – Whisky News

Kensginton Wine Market’s Whisky E-Newsletter

Malt Messenger Bulletin

New Year – New Virtual Tastings!


A belated Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and Joyous Holiday Season to all!

It’s been almost exactly a month since the last Malt Messenger, but it feels like months have transpired. December was busy, very busy, crazy in fact, quite possibly the busiest month we have ever had, which is saying something. In the last Malt Messenger, I promised that our annual last-minute Christmas Gift Guide would be out mid-month. If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard much from us over the last few weeks, it’s because the Christmas rush was even busier than what we had expected.

The Malt Messenger Christmas Gift Guide was started but never completed. There simply wasn’t time, but even if there were, you know that old saying about not pouring gasoline on a fire? Well, it certainly applies here. We made the decision to delay the release of some of our 2021 virtual tastings and a few newly arrived products so we could focus on getting through Christmas. It has been a crazy month within a bizarre year; full of change and challenges, but we did it. This is in no small part because of the support from our customers and community. But it is also because of the extraordinary efforts of our team!

We’ve been fortunate as overall it has been a good year at KWM. We’ve managed to keep our staff safe and we have been able to continue operating and serving you our friends, customers and community. We know others have not been so fortunate, especially other small businesses, charities and those who count on them. So we also made a point of increasing our support for organizations like the Calgary Foodbank and Brenda Strafford Society.

Thank you for your continued support of our business, and all the other small businesses in Kensington, Calgary, or wherever you live. Thank you for adapting with us to the challenges imposed by Covid-19 this year, by wearing a mask, patiently waiting in line, ordering online or picking up at the curbside. Thank you for being patient, courteous, understanding and for helping us keep everyone safe and healthy. Thank you for helping us make the best of 2020 and most of all thank you for making us feel part of an integral community!

Wishing you and yours a Safe, Healthy and Very Happy New Year… see you in 2021!

As always, please let me know if you have any comments, questions or requests. In the event of a discrepancy in price, the Point of Sale at KWM will be taken as correct.


Andrew Ferguson

Kensington Wine Market

In this Edition

1. New Virtual Whisky Tastings

2. Our Glenfarclas 25 Year KWM “Ferg in Homage to George Grant” is Here!

3. Introducing: Dumangin Whisky

4. Springbank Single Malts Are Available Once More – But For How Long?

5. Two 25-Year-Olds From Diageo On Sale


Andrew Ferguson

Kensington Wine Market


In mid-December, the AGLC finally put forward a policy change allowing us to pour samples for the purpose of virtual tastings. We had been lobbying and advocating for this change for months, half a year in fact. We had loads of tasting ideas waiting in the hoper, but the store was too busy to roll them out. Plus, there are logistics to consider, including ordering thousands of sample bottles, labels, and tamper-proof tops, plus the time and organization required in filling the bottles.

You will see more and more tastings rolled out as the month of January progresses. Some of these tastings, like our very exciting Ardnamurchan Launch Tasting with Connal Mackenzie, are with bottled 50mls. Others like our SMWS December and January Outturn Tastings are with filled sample bottles. Some will be a mix. The flexibility will allow us to do a lot of fun things!

·     A Zoom link for each of the tastings will be emailed 24-48 hours prior to the tasting.

·     A pick-up date for the samples is indicated for each tasting!

·     Tasting samples can be delivered in Calgary city-limits for a $10 fee, which will be waived for orders over $100.

·     Date: January 7, 2021@ 8PM

·     Cost: $50.00

·     Pick-up: Available Now!

NOW OPEN TO NON MEMBERS (Until Jan 5)! – Join the KWM whisky team for a belated virtual tasting of the December 2020 Scotch Malt Whisky Society Canada Outturn, which featured a couple of whiskies that disappeared very quickly. There are just 40 spots open for this tasting, and they are limited to one per member. No exceptions. The tasting will consist of 15ml samples of each of the 7 whiskies from the December Outturn. The tasting will be hosted on Zoom at 8 PM on Thursday, January 7.


SMWS January 2021 Virtual Outturn Tasting

·     Date: Thursday, January 14, 2021 @ 8PM

·     Cost: $40.00

·     Pick-up: Available Now!

NOW OPEN TO NON-MEMBERS – Join the KWM whisky team for a virtual tasting of the January 2021 Scotch Malt Whisky Society Canada Outturn. Registrations are limited to 2 per member. No exceptions. The tasting will consist of 15ml samples of each of the 7 new releases from the January Outturn. The tasting will be hosted on Zoom at 8 PM on Thursday, January 14.


Ardnamurchan Single Malt Virtual Launch Tasting with Connal Mackenzie

·     Date: Saturday January 16, 2021, @ 5PM

·     Cost: $55.00

·     Pick-up: Available Now!

We are thrilled to have Connal Mackenzie Sales Director for Adelphi Distillery as our special guest for the launch tasting of Ardnamurchan Single Malt. Connal will lead participants through a range of 4 single malts from a 4x50ml Ardnamurchan Gift Pack:

1. Ardnamurchan Single Malt 46.8%

2. Ardnamurchan 2015 Peated Bourbon Barrel 59.2%

3. Ardnamurchan 2015 Peated Oloroso Hogshead 59.5%

4. Ardnamurchan 2014 Champagne Finish Single Cask 57.9%

·     Participants in the tasting will also be given the opportunity to purchase a bottle of the Ardnamurchan Single Malt Batch 01.

Bourbon or Bust

·     Date: Monday January 18, 2021 @ 8PM

·     Cost: $35.00

·     Pick-up: Wednesday, January 14th

Evan, our resident Bourbon lover, has been chomping at the bit to run an online Bourbon tasting. Log in and taste your way through some of Evan’s recent favourites – and a few he has not-so-patiently been waiting to open and taste himself! Five bottles will be sacrificed for the shared enjoyment of all who pay to participate. The tasting will consist of 7 15ml samples. A Zoom link and password will be emailed to all registered participants 24-48 hours before the tasting.

KWM Casks Recap Tasting

·     Date: January 22, 2021 @ 8PM

·     Cost: $55.00

·     Pick-up: Sunday, January 10

We’ve launched some pretty cool single cask whiskies over the course of the last 9 months. In normal times we would have put them into a tasting or two, but we are not in normal times. Thankfully, the AGLC has changed the rules and is allowing us to pour samples for the purpose of virtual tastings, so we’re going to recap 7 of the great KWM exclusive whiskies we’ve launched in 2020. The tasting will consist of 7 20ml samples including our new Glenfarclas 25 Year KWM “Ferg Hommage” bottling, our 12-Year-old Kilchoman and the two new Whisky Agency mystery Speyside whiskies. 8 PM Friday, January 22

Dumangin Whisky with Gilles Dumangin

·     Date: January 23, 2021 7PM

·     Cost: $50.00

·     Pick-up: Monday, January 11

Gilles Dumangin is best known for his fabulous Champagnes and his award-winning Ratafia Champenois (a fortified wine). But Gilles also loves whisky, and he’s been a busy chap… Gilles sourced whisky from a number of distilleries around the World, and then finished it, in Champagne, in his own Ratafia seasoned casks. We think he’s on to something… We’re are thrilled to have Gilles join us live from France for a virtual tasting of six of his whiskies, as well as his Ratafia. This tasting includes 6x20ml samples of the whiskies and a 50ml of the Ratafia Champenois. 7PM Saurday January 23.

Boutique-y Whisky Roulette Double Header with Dave Worthington

·     Dates: February 13, 2021 5PM & February 27, 2021 5PM

·     Cost: $160.00 (2 Tastings & 7 Whiskies)

·     Pick-up: Monday, January 11

The boys are back with another Botique-y Double Header tasting. This time we will be tackling the “Boutique-y Greatest Hits Collection Vol. 1” in a virtual trans Atlantic game of spin the bottles (the Greatest Hits Collection Spins). The tasting will take part over 2 nights, Saturday February 13, 5PM MT and Saturday February 27, 5PM MT. On each night we will sample 5 of the 10 50ml bottles in the Greatest Hits Collection, selected at random. Call it Whisky Roulette or Spin the Bottle… We will also sample two bonus drams each night, 28ml samples filled by KWM of 4 other Boutique-y whiskies. Dave Worthington will be our guide, and with a little luck Sam Simmons will crash the party. 5PM Saturday February 13 & 5PM Saturday February 27.


This is our 6th exclusive bottling of Glenfarclas, and the 3rd in what has become known as the “Ferg Series.” The Ferg Series started with the Glenfarclas 21 Year KWM Cask Strength aka “Ferg in the Spey”, which was itself inspired by a bottling called Ferd in the Spey.

We followed that up earlier this year with the Glenfarclas 15 Yea KWM Cask Strength #2 “Ferg in Front of the Store.” This bottling tied in to the “Ferg in the Spey” with some inspiration from the bottling for a shop called Robbie’s Drams, which featured the front of their business.

Continuing in this vein I wanted the third bottling to be even more whimsical or if you prefer, ridiculous, than the first two. It takes its inspiration from an advertisement for Glenfarclas circa 10 years ago featuring a reclining George Grant in kilt with a selection of whisky in front of him. This has long been one of my favourite images of anything to do with whisky. So…

So it is with great pleasure, and probably a lack of humility or shame, that I introduce you to the third KWM exclusive bottling of Glenfarclas in the ‘Ferg Series,’ “Ferg in Homage to George Grant!” I’ve taken George’s place and in front of me are the five previous KWM exclusive Glenfarclas bottlings: the 1997 Family Cask, the 25th Anniversary 25 Year Cask Strength, the first 15 Year Cask Strength, the 21 Year Cask Strength “Ferg in the Spey” and the 15 Year KWM Cask Strength #2 “Ferg in Front of the Store.”

One of our customers said, and I quote: “the Glenfarclas 25 YO Ferg Edition bottle bears one of the most magnificent labels that was ever made for a whisky. ;)” Another referred to it as “Lounging Ferg” and suggested it might secretly be an homage to a lounging Burt Reynolds in his prime. Either way, it is just a bit of fun… and as I’ve said before, my ego is bigger than just a trilogy!

The whisky is not a single cask, nor is it cask strength, but rather it is a bottling of Glenfarclas 25 Year at 50%, rather than the usual 43%. It is exclusive to KWM, and there are just 300 bottles.

Glenfarclas 25 Year KWM “Ferg in Homage to George Grant” – 50% – My Tasting Note: “Nose: bread n butter pudding, fig jam and mincemeat pie and Christmas spices; candied orange peel with green mangoes, grapefruit and lime zest; earthy with chocolate, leather and tobacco. Palate: big, rich and fruity; loaded with dark and tropical fruits: more pineapple, mango and papaya; dark chocolate, leather and tobacco; more Christmas cake-y than mincemeat; fig jam, medjool dates drizzled with honey and treacle sauce; thick, oily and coating the spices provide a firm backbone of cinnamon, clove and anise. Finish: long, coating and spicy with a delicate warmth; very sherried but balanced with more of all of the above. Comment: unlike our single casks, with which we are very choosy, we don’t get to pre-sample our Glenfarclas exclusives; but in return, we get something special that is also very good value; thankfully they have once more teed up something lovely for us; five for five; if you can see past the silly label, you’ll find much to love here!” – $275


These may be some of the most interesting independent bottlings we’ve seen in a while. They are produced by our friend Gilles Dumangin, who’s better known as a Champagne maker. We’ve been working with Gilles’ Champagnes for as long as I’ve been working at KWM. Dumangin is a small family owned Premier Cru Champagne producer located in the Montagne de Reims. In addition to Champagne, Dumangin is one of the most respected producers of Ratafia Champenois, a fortified wine.

In addition to being a Champagne maker, Gilles is also a connoisseur of Whisky. He’s managed to blend his business and his passion with the release of whiskies he’s finished in his own Ratafia Champenois casks. The idea started over 20 years ago when he sampled the legendary Glenmorangie 1984 Tain L’Hermitage Finish. He’s done something similar here sourcing whisky from Scotland, the US, Wales and the Netherlands, which he has finished in his own Ratafia casks in France.

In addition to the whisky, we also sell Dumangin’s Ratafia Champenois.

Ratafia Champenois – % – Is a fortified wine from the Champagne region of France typically made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Brandy or a nuetral grape spirit is added to the grape juice before fermentation. Gilles Dumangin, a fourth generation Champagne producer (Champagne Dumangin), made his first Ratafia Champenois in 2002 with a very specific idea in mind: to make the fruit sweat. To achieve this, he decided to use a Fine Champenoise (PGI) rectified with a very high alcohol content. The Ratafia has a lovely tawny colour and rich, complex dried fruit flavours. Gilles recommends serving it with melon, cheese and chocolate desserts. – $65

Because of our relationship with Gilles Dumangin, we have been offered a small quantity of six of theses whiskies. You can tell Gilles is a proper Whisky Anorak (Geek), as he has bottled all his whiskies at 46%, without chill-filtering and no added colour. Only 24 bottles of each have come to Canada, exclusively to KWM. They are as follows:

1. Dumangin Balcones 2014 Texas Whisky – 46% – Finished 12 Months in Ratafia Champenois – My Tasting Note: “Nose: oily and spicy with dark fruits; if I hadn’t known this was a single malt I’d have suspected rye from my first impressions: rye bread and big dill notes; quince paste and grape extract; singed orange peel and brown sugar… Old Fashioned territory; dried hay bales and freshly coopered oak. Palate: there those intense spicy notes again… more rye bread, more dill, and so oily… I would totally have guessed this was rye blind; the spirit is complex, layered and very enticing; there is a smokiness I can’t quite put my finger on, Cuban cigar tobacco and salted Dutch licorice; Demerara sugar and more orange notes, both candied peels and orange bitters. Finish: long, drying and spicy; still in the rye notes wheelhouse with the softness of a malt spirit. Comment: love it… this is like a finely crafted cocktail in a whisky; nice balance, lots of layers; youthful but complex.” – $195

2. Dumangin Bourbon Whiskey – 46% – 28.5% Rye – Finished 8 Months in Ratafia Champenois – My Tasting Note: “Nose: brandy soaked cherries dipped in chocolate; Snickers and crème caramel; flambéed banana, dried cranberries and tarte tatin; vanilla and toasty oak beneath. Palate: toasty, and nutty with shelled peanuts; the rye spices from the mashbill are at the fore with vanillans and toasted oak trailing; the Ratafia finishing has added Wine Gums and the brandy soaked chocolate cherries; more tarte tatin and fresh dill. Finish: warming, spicy and dominated by the toasted oak, shelled peanuts and spicy rye backbone; later some fruits. Comment: not your classic Bourbon, but reminiscent of some others we’ve had finished or matured in wine casks; I might have left this a little longer in the Ratafia barrel… but its good, and I’m not a Bourbon guy!” – $140

3. Dumangin Cambus 1993 Single Grain – 49.9% – 26 Year – Finished 9 Months in Ratafia Champenois – My Tasting Note: “Nose: decadent, honeyed and silky with quince paste and bright fruits; orange and grapefruit pith, strawberry jam and cooked raisins. Palate: soft, toasty and very fruity with some subtle earthy dunnage warehouse tones; more quince paste, fig and strawberry jams and grape-y fruits; more orange and grapefruit with building spices; clean, fruity and toasty. Finish: light and silky smooth but with good length; fresh, toasty and fruity with soft spices. Comment: I was least excited about trying this one, partly because it is a grain (damn bias) but unfairly so it would seem, as it is a great start; the Ratafia cask has added a lovely character to the spirit, without pushing the whisky over the top; it is light, fruity and elegant.” – $320

4. Dumangin 100% Dutch Rye (Zuidam/Millstone) Whisky – 46% – Finished 6 Months in Ratafia Champenois – My Tasting Note: “Nose: jammy from the word go: strawberry jam, quince paste and marmalade; pumpernickel bread and oily rye spices; candied fennel and Panda brand licorice; toasted oak and vanilla bean. Palate: big, rich, fruity and spicy; the rye whisky coast your mouth in silky oils while the Ratafia has added fruity notes of strawberry jam, marmalade and yes quince paste (seems to be a theme here with Ratafia); charred oak, toasted almonds, more French vanilla and drying spices: candied fennel, anise and a touch of clove. Finish: warming, with the oily spirit continuing to caress the palate; late spices and some dark chocolate. Comment: this is among my favourites here, which is not such a surprise… Patrick van Zuidam aka Millstone is a fine distiller, and rye whisky is bold enough to work with the Ratafia cask; really like this one, dare I say I love it!” – $138

5. Dumangin Mystery Okney (Highland Park) 2007 – 46% – 12 – Finished 7 Months in Ratafia Champenois – My Tasting Note: “Nose: honeyed, milky, waxy and fruity: Starburst candies right off the bat, melons, mango and Sun-Maid Raisins; Strawberry Twizzlers too. Palate: soft with chewy malt, gentle ashy peat and soft milky mouthfeel; the waxy-creamy oak tones roll in with white chocolate, Malted Milk bard and more waxy Starburst fruit candies and Twizzlers; the soft honeyed ashy peat comes back to the fore after a few passes; salty, I didn’t catch it at first, but the maritime notes are there. Finish: long, coating and creamy with lingering soft ashy peat, sea salt, honey and more waxy indulgences. Comment: once again the Ratafia cask has a light touch on the spirit; while it has the classic creamy honey and subtle peat which Highland Park is famous for, I think I would have been hard pressed to identify this blind as being from Highland Park distillery; very balanced for a 12 year old.” – $115

6. Dumangin Penderyn Welsh Single Malt Whisky – 46% – Finished 18 Months in Ratafia Champenois – My Tasting Note: “Nose: crème brulee and grape KoolAid; Hubba Bubba, grape extract and quince paste; silky leather and firm spices eventually make way for some grassy malt. Palate: rich, fruity and very spicy; grassy but chewy malt with some delicate tropical fruits struggling to pop up: mango and pineapple; the grape notes are there, more Hubba Bubba, but after a strong coffee and quince paste with cloves; firm leather and tobacco leaf; late Dutch licorice and fennel seed. Finish: dominated by spice; the grape and malt notes are still there, but the long warming finish is lorded over but hot cinnamon, fennel seeds, clove and Dutch licorice. Comment: comes across almost like a dark sherried single malt, spice heavy, but without the nuttiness; a decent malt, but not my favourite of the six!” – $145


Due to a combination of rising popularity and dwindling supply, Springbank Distillery bottles have become more difficult to come by over the past two to three years. We have seen our ability to keep what used to be regularly available bottlings from of both Springbank and Killkeran Single Malt Scotch challenged because of this. A new shipment of the Springbank 10 Year, 15 Year and 18 Year have arrived, but they likely won’t last long. Accordingly, we have limited how many of each of these bottles can be purchased by a single customer. If you haven’t yet, you might want to grab a bottle while you can!

1. Springbank 10 Year – 46% – Matured in 40% Sherry & 60% Bourbon – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Orchard fruit (pear) with a hint of peat, vanilla and malt. Palate: Malt, oak, spice, nutmeg and cinnamon, vanilla essence. Finish: Sweet, with a lingering salty tingle.” – $91 – Limit 2 Per Customer

2. Springbank 15 Year – 46% – Producer Tasting Note:Nose: Demerara sugar, dark chocolate, Christmas cake, almonds, toffee, oak. Palate: Creamy, raisins, dark chocolate, figs, marzipan, brazil nuts and vanilla. Finish: Oak and sherry notes sustain and mingle with hints of leather.” – $130 – Limit 3 Per Customer

3. Springbank 18 Year – 46% – – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Lemon meringue pie, pear skin, olive oil, almonds and digestive biscuits. A typical Kintyre coastal brininess comes to the fore. Palate: In the background; dried bananas, coconut shavings and butterscotch. The more prominent; carrot cake, treacle and freshly squeezed limes engulf the palate. Finish: Very delicate; liquorice, gingerbread and Madagascar vanilla. Closely followed by mint, trinity cream and vanilla milkshake.- $220


Diageo seems to be clearing their house of old stock these days… at least locally. You might have noticed we had a large number of Diageo whiskies on sale earlier this month. That’s because they were being cleared out. They seem to be trying the same trick on the premium level too… But maybe if they had priced them reasonably in the first place, we wouldn’t find ourselves here, some of them were still priced out to lunch, even when discounted, but the Strathmill and Pittyvaich seem to be the most reasonably priced to me.

1. Strathmill 25 Year Old – 52.4% – Refill American Oak – $520 Currently 25% off for $390

2. Pittyvaich 25 Year Old – 49.9% – Refill American Oak – $525 Currently 25% off for $393.74


We Are Offering Some Great Deals


Free City-Wide Delivery for Orders Over $50

FREE DELIVERY – We are offering free delivery for orders over $50 placed online or over the phone, and will do our best to deliver within 72 hours.

CURBSIDE PICKUP – Place an order, we’ll let you know when it is ready. Call us when you are out front or parked in the back lot and we’ll bring it out. Simple as that!

GIFTING – Want to send someone a care package? All gifting options are still available. Quarantined parents and closed schools qualify as a “wine emergency”. Gift cards are also available and can be used over the phone.

If you are able, please submit your order online. We will answer any questions you might have before finalizing and processing your order. You are not automatically billed when you submit your order.

We will do our best to answer and process as many phone orders as we can. Call us at 403-283-8000.

COVID-19 Precautions at KWM

To protect our staff and customers we have implemented some policies!

Please do not enter the store if:

·     You have returned from Outside of Canada in the last 2 weeks, or you live with someone who has!

·     You are showing symptoms of COVID-19, or if you have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with or suspected to have contracted COVID-19.

If the above applies to you, please order online or by phone and we can deliver!

Precautions we are taking in-store:

·     All of our staff are wearing masks, and we’d appreciate if you would do so too!

·     We are only allowing 6 customers in the store at any given time.

·     We have hand sanitizer throughout the store for the use of customers and staff.

·     We kindly ask that you do not to pick up products unless you intend to purchase them.

·     We are frequently disinfecting commonly touched surfaces and high contact areas within the store.

·     We are also not accepting cash payment at this time.

·     Staff are frequently washing and disinfecting their hands.

·     We have cancelled all in-store tastings.

·     We are monitoring our staff for symptoms.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we all try to navigate this challenging time!



Store Hours

Sunday: 11am – 6pm

Mon – Wed: 10am – 8pm

Thu – Fri: 10am – 9pm

Sat: 10am – 8pm

*All Prices Quoted here are subject to change and do not include GST. In the case of pricing discrepancies, the price at our point of sale will be taken as correct.*

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