John Maxwell, owner of Allen's, was the ever meticulous host presiding over a rather special lunch in honour of Ian Miller – Glenfiddich Global Ambassador and a true gentleman of the industry. The talk of the day was of Scotch and Ontario wine, and considering what we were about to be served, I rarely have felt as spoiled as I did that day.
Upon Miller's arrival, Maxwell produced an old bottle of Grant's Best Procurable Scotch, a bottle stored in his cellar for quite some time. Miller helped date the bottle (since none was printed) to sometime in the late 1930s. Imagine tasting a drink that had been produced in the old way of blended Scotch, undisturbed since the 30s. Ian Miller had the honours of opening the bottle (with the help of a rubber-band tied around the neck of it, as it was being quite stubborn) and having that first whiff of air from the 1930s. This was a truly unique treat, and comparable to my experience tasting Glenlivet's 70 Year Old. Visually, it was cloudy and dark coloured.
The cloudiness was evident because, back in the 1930s, they weren’t using the current common practice of chilled filtration, which gives Scotch a sharper colour (and some argue, alters taste). On the nose it was soft, slightly peaty, and vaguely sweet. It was beautifully balanced on the palate, with a vibrant sweetness and mild but long finish. A truly complex and balanced drink that we all admired.
Maxwell continued to spoil us by serving Jean-Pierre Colas Sauvignon Blanc with spicy vegetable soup, and a 2002 Malivoire Cabernet-Merlot Misek Vineyard. Both were delicious with their pairings, and even though I was missing out on the steak due to #spotlightveggie, the kitchen staff was able to create a delicious veggie dish that went well with the bold, steak-y Malivoire Cab-Merlot.
For dessert we returned to Scotch, in this case the Glenfiddich 21 year old that's aged in a secondary process with Rum Casks. You may have read about my love for Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14 year old (Balvenie is owned by Glenfiddich) so this 21 year old was a fantastic treat. It was fruity, slightly smoky, with a long and warm finish with hints of rum sweetness. Other drinks we had over the course of the afternoon included the Glenfiddich 1974 Reserve (only 1000 bottles made), Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix and Glenfiddich 12 year old.
It was a fantastic way to spend a Friday afternoon, and Ian Miller's passion for Scotch was apparent throughout the lunch. What I found particularly interesting is he feels his influence in the making Glenfiddich 12 Year Old gives him the greatest sense of pride. This is Glenfiddich's number one seller by far, and it’s great to see that, rather than resting on their laurels, they are continuing to tweak and improve this drink.
A big thank you to John Maxwell for hosting the event and ensuring it run smoothly. Allen's recently tweaked their already fantastic whisky menu, and they also carry an excellent selection of local Ontario (and Canadian) wines.