Whisky Advent 2018

Edmonton (Alberta) has an enthusiastic whisky scene that seems to have really grown in profile over the past few years (hat tip to the folks at the Edmonton Scotch Club for playing a big part in that). It’s given many people (myself included) the opportunity to connect with other whisky enthusiasts and share our passion for the aqua vitae. Looking back over the year, I’ve sampled a lot of whisky at tastings and other events and I can’t believe it’s already time to crack open the 5th Edition of Secret Spirits’ Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar. As always, Jonathan Bray publishes his tasting notes over at singlemalting.com so please head over there to see what he has to say about each one. Also, you can check out Instagram and Twitter for…
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Scotch Tasting on November 24, 2018

What a solid tasting on Saturday night! There were 10 of us who sat down and explored: Aberfeldy 16Bunnahabhain 12Wemyss Treacle ChestSpringbank 15Distiller’s Art Fettercairn 14The Sovereign Invergordon 27 The Springbank 15 was the group favourite as a first or second choice. The nose started with peat and maple or brown sugar. Dark fruits on the palate with walnuts. Oaky in the finish surrounded by peat and a hint of floral. The middle of the pack was the Bunnahabhain, Treacle Chest, and Fettercairn. The Bunnahabhain 12 smelled of a sweet and salty caramel, its palate had a seaside sweetness with dried fruit, and it finished slow by coating your tongue. The Treacle Chest smelled of plums and sweetness. Cinnamon, raisins, and nuttiness on the palate into a long, sweet sherry…
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Give back, stand up, have courage. Thanks Mom.

A question was posed to a team member network at work about the woman who inspires you. There are so many women I'm honoured to have in my life today but there was one woman who started it all: my mom. My mom was a single mom who raised my sister and me from when I was 4 to when I was almost 13 (it was around then when she met my step-dad). As I look ahead towards Christmas, one thing really sticks out is that we always had food, presents, and family at Christmas time. Growing up I never had this sense that we went without; my mom found a way to keep us from ever having to worry about that. Now, with a family of my own, I…
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Old Pulteney Scotch Tasting – 12yo vs Navigator

Old Pulteney 12yo Region: Highlands Age: 12 years ABV: 40% Nose: Bananas, salty air, lemon wafersPalate: Heavier than expected on the tongue, coats it with honey and spices, not that salty early on.Finish: Spices come later into the medium-length finish and I’m left with a brine - almost medicinal - in the back of my throat.Overall: The nose sets the stage but the taste doesn’t really deliver for me. The honey is nice but I’m left looking for more to follow from the nose. Old Pulteney Navigator Region: Highlands Age: NAS ABV: 46%Nose: Clean, crisp sweetness with iodine notes. A wee bit of vanilla with a woody apple in there.Palate: Woody notes with the sweetness of honey. A little tingly as it sits nicely on my tongue.Finish: Spice as the…
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The Arran Malt – Amarone Cask Finish

I tasted this two weeks ago at the Father’s Day scotch open house at Vines in Riverbend. It was one of my top two that I purchased because it was unique, damn delicious, and an incredible price. I opened my bottle this evening to revisit the whisky and I’m still blown away. Nose: Dark fruits and chocolate. Palate: Rich cherry, peppery spices, and heat. Finish: A slow, tongue-coating, spicy and dare I say “dry” finish. Overall: At 50% ABV, this is incredibly smooth. With water it coats your tongue more, you lose a bit of the heat, you pick up a bit of oakiness, and the finish lingers. Holy balls, I better be careful.
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Be a courageous ally

Where I work we talk about changing people’s lives for the better and doing what other banks won't do. We have 10 standards that guide and set the expectations for how we interact with each other and our customers. Recently, we announced an 11th standard (which is a big deal): Courageously be yourself and a true ally for each other. We also have a team member network called Ellevate whose goal is to influence the advancement of women in the workplace by bringing awareness of the reality women face every day, creating a supportive and engaging environment for women, and inviting men to be active allies. I'm part of the men's allyship committee (which is about 60% men and 40% women in case you were wondering) and - in the…
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You inspire others more than you know

A story was run recently in the Sherwood Park News about Hal Souster, the athletics director of Bev Facey High School, who is retiring after more than 30 years of teaching. I had the privilege of being in Mr. Souster’s phys ed class in grade 10. Up to that point I hated gym: I wasn’t as good at sports as other kids, I had no confidence, and I’d pretty much written off phys ed (electing to only take the mandatory minimum 3-credit class for my high school diploma). Then Mr. Souster showed me that sports and phys ed aren’t just about ability, they’re about team work, attitude, and heart. And he made sure our grades reflected that (I got my first 80% ever in gym in his class). I doubt…
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