Tag Archives: scotch tasting

The Highlands and Lowlands of Macallan Scotch Tasting

Solo Scotch
7:43 Arrive at Macallan scotch tasting at 99 Sudbury. Free parking is nice, though a central location and not having to drive to an event celebrating alcohol would have been even nicer.

7:44 Handed a silver Macallan coin, told to exchange it for a drink. Instead reminded of Super Mario Bros. 3.

7:45 Exchange coin for drink. Apparently tonight, a drink is defined as “a tall, thin glass containing just enough scotch to wonder whether or not there’s actually any scotch in there.”

7:46 Move to charcuterie buffet. Surprisingly well-stocked with four types of cheese, several cured meats, and a selection of bread and olives.

Charcuterie Buffet

7:48 Note to self: cheese with fancy names distracts crowd from lack of alcohol… Must increase cheese budget for next party.

7:50 The line at the buffet is now 30-people deep, compared to the three surrounding it minutes earlier. I’ve still only had one drink.

7:51 Getting frustrated at lack of alcohol at this scotch tasting

Scotch Set

7:52 Noticing a lot of attendees do not look like they are influential bloggers. This suspicion is confirmed after talking with staff… “They wanted to cram in as many people as they could fit…”

7:53 Random cute server surreptitiously offers me another drink, despite my lack of a silver coin. I wholeheartedly accept.

7:54 Starting to feel like a scotch cattle call

7:59 The event is scheduled to start at 8PM, but organizers show no sign of moving people into next room

8:05 Handed a second silver coin from a friend just as drink service stops. I have somehow angered the scotch Gods.

8:08 Ushered into second room; stage and screens in front, as well as Macallan bottles on display; tables and seating all around.

Ice maker

8:10 Sitting with three others. Nothing on the table except bottles of water and a glass full of nuts.

8:14 If walnuts and cheese were scotch, I’d be enjoying this tasting a lot more right now.

8:19 The Macallan rep tells us we were served 10-year old scotch to start, and will be getting into older scotches now. Sounds promising!

8:21 While Macallan rep goes into history of brand, I can’t help notice a lack of scotch on my table and the tables of others

8:24 The first audience question is asked, and the audience member receives a full bottle of scotch as a prize. Dozens of hands shoot up immediately.


8:28 Jealously eyeing plate of cheese the guy across from me brought from the other room. Even more jealously eyeing bottles of scotch in front of room.

8:31 Servers (finally!) appear with trays of 12-year old scotch, while a video montage screens highlights from 1998 (including clips from Titanic and A Bug’s Life) set to a Wallflowers tune. Really, Macallan?

8:37 Macallan rep describes making of 15-year old scotch while audience members tweet frantically.

8:41 Servers appear with trays of 15-year old scotch, while a video montage screens highlights from 1995. Really, Macallan? Really?

8:46 Servers appear with trays of Macallan Sherry Oak Cask Strength and individual Lindt chocolates. I am momentarily appeased.

8:47 Drink finished. Appeasement over.

8:48 Realize that Macallan encourages, facilitates, and condones tweeting under the influence of alcohol.

8:49 Note to self: On drive home tonight after scotch tasting, tweet @MADDOnline to alert them of dangerous drinking/typing epidemic sweeping our youth.

8:50 Looking around the room, I’m reminded of the lyrics to Kanye West’s Runaway:
Let’s have a toast for the douchebags,
Let’s have a toast for the assholes,
Let’s have a toast for the scumbags…

8:51 Macallan rep breaks out the patented (or maybe not) Steel Macallan Ice Ball Maker 2500 SCT (note, I made that name up).

Scotch Ice Ball

8:53 While Macallan rep discusses the merits of Ice Balls vs. Ice Cubes (cubes have larger surface area, therefore melt faster), I prefer to discuss merits of Ice Cube vs. Ice-T vs. Vanilla Ice (Ice Cube wins this round, with an honourable mention going out to Iceberg Slim).

8:54 Servers appear with trays of 18-year old scotch, while a video montage screens highlights from 1992. Seriously?! To be fair, crowd cheers for 1992 Toronto Blue Jays team photo, boos vociferously at following still of Ottawa Senators logo.

8:56 Macallan rep informs us that 18-year old scotch is best drank neat, and that ice is best made with bottled water, not tap. Who has time to make ice with bottled water, you ask? Being a Toronto Elitist… I have the time.

8:57 Crowd is thanked, event over. I search in vain for taxi chits, giftbags or takeaways, to no avail.

8:59 I steal a block of cheese.


Thanks Macallan, Matchstick and Praxis PR for a good time, and a special shout-out to Macallan for your goddamn fine scotch.

Too Much of Anything Is Bad. Too Much Good Scotch Is Barely Enough.

Three weeks. It’s been three weeks since I was last home. A lot happens to a man in three weeks. His whole life can change in three weeks. Mine did.


Three weeks ago, discreetly invited by Matchstick for a private scotch-tasting event, I strode into One Hazelton, a trendy restaurant in Toronto’s Yorkville district. The staff greeted me by name and took my coat, not an uncommon occurrence. After a quick glass of brandy with the manager – and a lively, though abbreviated, discussion on the merits of a program proactively providing guests with a choice of “dates” for the evening – I was ushered into a private room toward the back. Lined with tables, the room was buzzing with activity, and I found myself sitting among the most influential members of the city’s online community. A little out of place, I felt like Number 6 in the Village. But with a scotch in hand, and several more on the table before me, I was prepared for a hard night’s work.

Tasting Again

Within an hour, I had devoured no less than six glasses of fine Macallan scotch… 10-year old Macallan, 12-year old, 15-year old, 21-year old. I couldn’t stop myself. A presentation on the Macallan brand and its history described in great detail its methods of barreling and aging. Our affable host then held up a small vial of clear liquid, explaining it was Macallan scotch aged only one day. I never imagined such imbibitions existed.

Fuelled by scotch, alcohol raging through my veins, I leapt to my feet and bolted toward the front of the room. Racing toward our host, I zeroed in on the panic in his ever-widening eyes. Swooping in, I grabbed the small vial of day-old scotch, opened it and drank it down, all in one quick motion.

Indescribable. It’s the only way to describe the feeling. It was the fix I’d been searching for my entire life. Standing there, all eyes affixed on me with looks of fear and contempt sweeping across the sea of faces like a tidal wave, I felt invincible. Unleashing an other-worldly roar, my voice sounded like nothing I’d ever heard in the natural universe. Men and women around me began to sob, quivering with fear as I felt the scotch coursing through my body.


I quickly grabbed the bottle of 21-year old Macallan scotch from our host’s paralyzed arms, as he stood transfixed by what I’d become. Within 20 seconds, I had gulped down two-thirds of the bottle, and shattered it on the table before me. Holding half the broken bottle, dripping with sweet, sweet scotch, I saw myself start swinging wildly. People climbed over one another to get out of my way, crying and screaming madly as they dove for cover. Men were even throwing women in my way in order to save themselves. Cowards. Before long, I found myself outside. Snarling and frothing at the mouth, I had managed to get away with several bottles of each Macallan scotch before I escaped the claustrophobia of that crowd, the negative energy affecting my scotch-fuelled spree of sin.

Macallan Years

The next few weeks, I traveled across the globe in a scotch-induced stupor. Using my considerable resources and delusional judgment, I destroyed anything in my path. While in Morocco, half a bottle of 12-year old scotch preceded the severe beating I administered to a camel and its owner after it spit in the vicinity of my Nike dunks. After a stern warning to the camel’s owner, he mumbled some anti-Semitic remarks under his breath. I used the remaining half-bottle of booze to light the fire to heat the branding iron I needed to brand his forehead with a Star of David. Then I kicked his ass. And that of his camel.

Climbing the mountains of Nepal, I was enlightened after sharing two bottles of 18-year old Macallan scotch with a clan of Buddhist monks. Having spent the previous six years in complete silence, we communicated through an intricate series of hand-gestures, eye-movements and breathing patterns. They considered me a deity, and I shared with them the warmth and comfort of Macallan scotch. In return, they taught me karmic self-control, and the deadly ancient martial arts. I hadn’t the heart to tell them I was already well-versed in both.

Sailing the Black Sea, I boarded a stolen ship crawling with Somali pirates. After a few bottles of Macallan 15-year old scotch, and a violent but rousing game of Backgammon, I surprised my hosts by physically overpowering the entire crew, one by one. After returning the ship to its rightful owners, I stole a helicopter from a Greek military base and, before long, touched down in Haiti.


Having saved the best for last, I quickly consumed half my remaining stash upon landing – three bottles of 21-year old Macallan. My killing power increased exponentially, I staged a one-man bloody coup and seized control of the island within a day. Once my buzz faded, I grew weary of the responsibilities associated with running a brutal dictatorship and decided to return home.

I built a crude rocket of only monkey bones, coconut shells and palm fronds. Using just one ounce of 21-year old Macallan scotch, I was able to fuel my vessel across the horizon and back to Toronto. With only two bottles remaining, I decided to sacrifice them for the good of this blog posting, and finished them both before sitting down to recount my adventures.

Three weeks. That’s all it took for Macallan scotch to change my life. Thank you Macallan. (and thank you Mark Twain)Ice Ball Glass

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