Whiskybase

I'm in Nova Scotia but all Canadians are welcome.

JimmyLeg
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 06-12-2014 at 14:44 pm

I'm very interested in what's available where you are in Canada and where you order whisky from online.

And, of course, what you're opinions are about whisky.

I'm a Ralfy disciple but I'd be interested to know where you get your whisky reviews.

Charlie don't surf.
morgbug
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 07-12-2014 at 05:52 am

G'day to you and thanks for starting this up.  I had started a thread sometime ago and it can be found here: http://www.whiskybase.com/group/73/topic/13316/ohcanada but a dedicated forum is great too.  


I'm in Manitoba and we cannot get delivery by mail or courier, so I either buy it locally at the outrageous pricing or when I'm traveling to the U.S. which thankfully is 5-6 times a year.  I'm happy to suggest stores in Minneapolis which is where I tend to visit most.  I also try to get to Alberta as much as I can or when I have friends traveling through there I get them to pick me stuff up as well.  

Selection in 'Toba is ok, not great.  I rarely buy here predominantly because prices are atrocious.  An Ardbeg 10 for $94 plus 13% tax when I could pick it up in Minneapolis for under $50?  No thanks.  

I tend to be a Glendronach guy more than anything else.  That's partly the cheap Scotsman in me because the price for Glendronach here and south of the border is fairly comparable.  But it's also excellent whisky.  

I do like Ralfy and many of the other main reviewers but at the same time my taste profile doesn't specifically match anyone else's so I really don't much care if someone rates a whisky as an 87 or a 94 because it may or may not mean much to me.  I respect the opinion and the experience behind it because I definitely lack the latter, but I only use them as guidelines.  There are whiskies I really, really like that generally score quite poorly (Cragganmore 12) so to each his or her own.  
JimmyLeg
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 07-12-2014 at 17:34 pm

Excellent to hear from you morgbug. Excellent thread as well. Good to know that there are some northern North Americans here. The price of the Ardbeg 10 here is $78.25 tax in. I don't know how lucky I am.

Our provincial liquor outlet is called the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission (NSLC). They have a decent selection but they don't keep it where you can just walk in and buy it, supposedly because demand is so low. The have maybe 5-15 in the stores but about 140 can be shipped to any NSLC you want from their online site. Then you just go there and pick it up. Better than nothing I guess.

I haven't looked a lot in the U.S. but I will now. There must be some whisky in Boston. I'll let you know what I find when I get there.

Charlie don't surf.
JimmyLeg
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 07-12-2014 at 17:41 pm

I see we have the Glenfarclas 105 in common. I'm really enjoying it as it's my first cask strength whisky.

Ralfy always bangs on about how much better the cask strength whiskies are and I'm finally finding out that it's true. I thought it would need a lot of water but I've found that it really doesn't. It does numb the tongue neat but just a teaspoon or two and it's amazing.

Charlie don't surf.
Jay Rain
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 08-12-2014 at 04:41 am

Jimmy - cheers for starting the group.


Whisky Connosr has some good reviewers as well and in general has a pretty good social network (WBase has the far superior storage catalogue.

LCBO (Ontario) is a price gouge but as the trips to the US are infrequent, I tolerate - better to have at a higher price than to not have at all).
morgbug
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 09-12-2014 at 05:53 am

We have the MLCC - Manitoba Liquor Control Commission.  Apparently we have 120 single malt Scotch whiskies available to us: http://www.liquormarts.ca/search-products?f[0]=field_category_type%3A715&f[1]=field_category_type%3A519&f[2]=field_category_type%3A478


So you can look through that and see what we have and what the prices are.  I agree with Jay Rain that it's better to have at a higher price than to not have at all.  I am however fortunate enough to travel enough that I seldom rely on the MLCC.  And when you get scenario's like Macallan 12 in the U.S. for $45 or Macallan Amber here for $99.95, I know where I prefer to buy, even to the point of stocking up.  Partly that's why I started drinking the Glendronachs - the price was comparable on both sides of the border.  Given Canadian pricing and no opportunity to purchase south of the border my go to whisky would be the Glendronach 12 (which is now the same price as the 15 y/o Revival was in Manitoba two summers ago - for that I blame Ralfy).  
I can hardly wait for the Albertans to make their way in here to make me weep with their pricing and selection.  But that NSLC price on Ardbeg 10 is quite tolerable in comparison.  
  Edited on 09-12-2014 at 05:56 am
JimmyLeg
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 09-12-2014 at 22:44 pm

Thanks Jay I'll check it out Whisky connosr and thanks to all of you for posting here.

It's good to talk to others who enjoy glass of whisky occasionally. They're few and far between here in New Scotland.

Charlie don't surf.
morgbug
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 10-01-2015 at 07:28 am

Is there anyone around from New Brunswick?  


I'll be heading out there in March for work and I'm wondering if there's anything interesting I can pick up that I might not find elsewhere.  Were you to come to Manitoba for example, I'd point you to the Glendronach single cask that was bottled exclusively for our liquor board.  Anything interesting out that way?
JimmyLeg
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 16-01-2015 at 00:09 am

The NB website is pretty good. http://nbliquor.com

I have a friend from there who picks up whisky for me on occasion. They have more single malts than I have here in NS and the prices are slightly different as well. (usually slightly lower)

I haven't seen anything New Brunswick specific, but of course I haven't actually been in the stores. I may be going up there in early February. If I do I'll look around a bit and see if there's anything that may be New Brunswick-y. 

Charlie don't surf.
morgbug
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 16-01-2015 at 06:59 am

Very cool, thank you sir.  I looked at the website and at worst I'll come home with a 15 y/o Macallan fine oak.  With the dollar dropping like a stone that seems to be a fair price. 

birdie_icmspt
Member Junior Junior Member
Posted on 28-01-2015 at 01:17 am

Here comes an Albertan (transplanted from BC) - I will spare you all on our prices, but suffice it to say, this summer I will probably be driving to BC with a couple cases for family and friends. 

There are some very good stores here in AB that specialize in whisky.  Amazing the selection you will find in regular shops.
That said, I always visit the stores in other provinces/duty free (not always a great deal)/and the USA.  Good to know the prices elsewhere, and will buy the occasional hard to find special bottle.

Question I have is regarding ordering/buying online - how tough is it to actually get delivered into Canada?  I would be interested in hearing various experiences.

JimmyLeg
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 29-01-2015 at 00:31 am

Seems to me that I've read somewhere that you can't legally ship booze into Canada. I've tried a few British sites that say they don't ship to my country.

The Whisky Exchange says:

Important information about your order

Unfortunately we are unable to ship to selected country for the forseeable future. Please change the delivery details..

Charlie don't surf.
morgbug
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 31-01-2015 at 04:20 am

Hi birdie_icmspt,

I'm going to second what Jimmy said, we're sol on the Canadian side of delivery into Canada.  That's the standard across the board as far as I know.  I would make one suggestion and check to see if anything you want can be ordered to Alberta (I know all the rest of the provinces are definite "no's") if it is shipped by courier such as FedEx.  I don't think Canada Post will handle it directly regardless, but the couriers might.  

Just flew through Calgary today and picked up another Glenfarclas 105.  I noticed prices had gone up at Cloud 9 as compared to November.  Not a big amount, but about $5/bottle.  It made me sad.  
JimmyLeg
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 03-02-2015 at 03:01 am

Does your 105 have the 10yo age statement on the back? I heard they were going to be removing it.

Charlie don't surf.
morgbug
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 03-02-2015 at 06:11 am
JimmyLeg wrote:

Does your 105 have the 10yo age statement on the back? I heard they were going to be removing it.


Yes it does.  I checked for it before I bought it.  I've seen the rumor and have no reason to doubt it, but the 105 doesn't seem to move that fast in most locations so it may be a bit before we see it.  


Speaking of out of production I was in a pub that had a Johnnie Walker Gold behind the bar.  I checked to see if they had another bottle sealed and they did but I couldn't convince the manager to swap it out for a Gold Reserve labeled bottle.  Very tragic story.  
JimmyLeg
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 05-02-2015 at 03:43 am

Speaking of tragic stories: Ardbeg Corryvreckan is $169.99 in New Brunswick and $74.99 in New Hampshire.

I love Canada but COME ON!

Charlie don't surf.
morgbug
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 05-02-2015 at 06:11 am

Oh many stories of that abound and I'm sure we're all too familiar with them.  Two hours south of me I can score Oban 14 for $62 where it's $124.99 here plus 13% tax!  Sadly with the Canadian dollar falling like a stone, the value is dwindling in shopping stateside for some items.  I was stocking up while we were closer to par.  


The Ardbegs are a really good example of huge discrepancies.  It's one of the reasons about the only whisky I buy locally is Glendronach as the prices are (or were) reasonably comparable to U.S. prices.  Sadly in just two short years we've seen our local Glendronach prices jump substantially:

Glendronach 12: $48.99 --> $64.99
Glendronach 15: $64.99 --> $94.99
Glendronach 21: $130.00 --> $170.99  this one happened over one day...it was the cheaper price and then suddenly went up $40.  

I was expecting our single cask Glendronach to go on sale too but that never happened.  I talked to our liquor store staff and they said it sat for most of the year but around Christmas sales just completely exploded and there's now only about ten bottles left in the province, none near where I live.   I have three of them, but hope to pick up one or two more in March as I'll be at one of the smaller towns (2 hour drive away) that still has some.  Hoping they last.  
JimmyLeg
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 06-02-2015 at 22:44 pm

These stories are awful so... I have a cheery story to counteract them. A friend of mine took a short notice trip to the US and found a bottle of An Cnoc 12yo on sale for $39.99. I can't even get it here in NS and it's $67.99 in NB. YES!

Charlie don't surf.
morgbug
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 07-02-2015 at 00:37 am

The 12 year old stuff is usually a pretty good bargain.  Not always though.  Some examples of what I find locally and then in Minnesota (Total Wine pricing):


Cardhu 12: locally $74.57 --> $42.99 (I've found it though for under $40)
Cragganmore 12: locally $86.99 -->42.99
Macallan 12: well, not anymore, but the last bottle was $99.99 --> $45.99 (I bought my last bottle in September for $39.99)
Highland Park 12: $74.95 --> $42.99 (regularly goes on sale for around $36)
Glenfarclas 12: $69.82 - $42.99
Glendronach 12 $66.99 - $39.99

Now you have to keep in mind Total Wine is a new player in the Minnesota market and largely a warehouse style liquor store.  So those prices are lower than they used to be in Minnesota.  But all of them are very good deals.  Less so now but I'd been stocking up for the past two years on my U.S. trips.  Those are very good prices too.  Still value to be had, even with a bad exchange rate and with some luck we can climb back up to the $0.90 range for our CAD versus the USD.  Then that pricing is even sweeter.  
Jay Rain
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 10-02-2015 at 22:02 pm

Yep - we all know this to be true...

louich
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 12-02-2015 at 19:24 pm

Hi from Québec (where the SAQ is literally ripping us off).

 

I look foward to future talks with you guys.

 

I am a huge lover of Bruichladdich but sadly not much to be found here so I am returning to my first love (Ardberg and Talisker) more and more.

Drinking alcohol wont solve my problems, but neither will milk !
morgbug
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 13-02-2015 at 04:09 am

Bienvenue louich.  


Not much for Bruichladdich anywhere in Canada anymore I think.  

The SAQ is not great but it can be worse.  At least your selection is pretty good in some of the stores.  Much more variety than I've seen in many other provinces.  Still, the misery is shared.  
MarkSafari
Member Junior Junior Member
Posted on 09-03-2015 at 03:02 am

Another fellow from Quebec here. The SAQ is quite expensive and I get a slight bit of depression after comparing to Alberta's pricing.

The selection at our SAQ Signature stores is actually quite good in terms of quality and variety, and the province's whisky buyers really know what they're doing and choose some real gems. Recently tried a Gordon & McPhail Glen Elgin and was blown away... I had never seen this bottling before. Their customer service has been top notch whenever I've tried to find a new and fun bottle to try.

To answer Jimmy's original questions:
I love all kinds of whiskies from any country. Been a bit disappointed with Swedish whisky, but I've only tried a couple so far.
Ralfy for Prime Minister! He's the man. Otherwise, I like:
http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/ (also run by a Canadian)
http://www.maltmadness.com/ (an absolute classic authority)
- http://whiskysponge.com/ (for a hilarious read that refreshingly cuts through a lot of whisky marketing and hype)
- Malt Whisky Companion, by Michael Jackson. This is my whisky bible...

While I'm at it, I'll add a little "fun fact" into the mix. There seems to be quite a few people who buy their bottles internationally. I travel quite a lot with work and have recently been bringing back more bottles than is allowed (1.14L). I always declare every bottle I bring back, and the border guards seem to appreciate the honesty and give me a break. I've brought back up to 5 bottles so far and have only been charged a minimal amount of duty.
morgbug
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 10-03-2015 at 00:13 am

I'm just envious of Alberta pricing, I can't get too depressed.  They have American pricing and selection in Canadian dollars - that's kind of like utopia for Canadian Scotch addicts.  


Just back from Moncton and was able to pick up a couple of bottles.  Nothing overly spectacular but still a couple I cannot get locally - Macallan 10 y/o fine oak (seemingly the last bottle in NB) and an Arran Cask Strength batch #2.  Was able to get them shipped into Moncton at no cost from outlying stores.  Also a pleasant surprise to see the tax is included in the pricing, as it is in Quebec.  Here in Manitoba we add the tax afterwards so price + 13%.  Ick.  

In other news, Johnnie Walker green label is available again locally.  Supposedly a limited release, it no longer comes in a box and they've changed the bottle to the style of the Platinum.  It's a screw cap now as well and the label is a darker green.  $70 locally.  I know it's on BC's website so it should be widely available.  I find it the most enjoyable of the JW products and it remains an age statement whisky though a blend of malts.  
Jay Rain
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 23-03-2015 at 19:44 pm

Made a presentation in Minneapolis last week and had a chance to stop by Haskell's prior to heading to the airport.


With the currency exchange of 30%, the savings are not as significant.  Variety is still leaps and bounds better but wallet did not feel that much heavier on the price differential.

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