What a frickin' time I've just had! My head's just shrunken sufficiently to climb off the couch and write this blog as I listen to Canadian tenor, Peter McCutcheon singing Scotland the Brave.
Last weekend your Humble Deacon attended (as a competitor for Team Thurles) the World Bocce Championships at Allen's. Although we didn't actually win, we played so well that we would have won, if the other teams, most notably the team captained by one Jono Kuhling wasn't just a little bit better on the day in question...
Well today your Deacon was back at Allen's in response to an invite by Toronto's best-loved bon vivant, John Maxwell. John set up an amazing whisky event, by arranging lunch for 3 of us with Ian Millar, the Glenfiddich Global Brands Ambassador and Distiller, the other 2 attendees being Grano's Roberto Martello and Whisky Maestro Mark Bylok, from Spotlight Toronto. We began promptly at 12:30 with splashes of scotch (and yes I've forgotten which one) followed by flutes of McEwan's Scotch Ale, to prepare us for the incredible onslaught to follow. Now you need to understand; Although your Deacon is the World's Foremost Authority on the combination of wine and hand to hand combat, whisky is an unknown and unexplored territory. At least until today, in which I got the education of a lifetime...
We sat down for lunch as soon as Ian arrived, and it was served with the usual attentive perfection of Allen's remarkable wait staff. We began with a bottle of Grant's Best Procurable Scotch Whisky, circa late 1930's. Yes, my friends, it was over 70 years old! John Maxwell took it from his formidable personal collection, and Ian Millar ascertained the age from the style of the label and cracked it open. It was insanely good. Not being a Scotch drinker, I knew I was doomed. It was like taking your first drive in a Lamborghini Countach. You know damn well that every other car you drive, no matter how good, will be a let-down in one way or another. Then we got into lunch. We started with Roasted Root Vegetable Soup with South Asian Spices, paired with an 18 year old Glenfiddich, which was a flawless combination. Then it was on to Linguine with Lemon Zest, Chardonnay and Cream, served with a Jean-Pierre Colas 2009 Sauvignon Blanc Essence; probably the best SB I've ever had anywhere. Here's a winemaker with all the savvy in the world, who can make world-class wines when he's let loose. Bravo, Jean-Pierre, you've got the New Zealanders running scared with this magnificent white. Then it was the next course: Filet of Angus Beef Poached in Grant's Family Reserve Whisky with Turned Potatoes and Carrots, so tender you could cut it with a spoon. John gave us another magnificent VQA wine with this course; a Cabernet Merlot Misek Vineyard 2002 Malivoire. A warm, lush red, It turned out to be a perfect pairing again, and prepared us for more Glenfiddich from various years, and I was astounded to discover how different they all were; including the rare Snow Phoenix, and a $1,000.00 bottle from 1974. We ended with Whipped Cream, Toasted Oatmeal soaked in Glenfiddich 12 Year Old Whisky. Unbelievable. And all through this near-cosmic feast, Ian regaled us with fascinating whisky trivia and the amazing history of the Grant family and their remarkable brand.
Then it was on to coffee, served with a teaspoonful of Glenfiddich 12 year old and we retired to the bar for more whisky as we prepared for the trip home. Thank God none of us were driving. We ended with another dram of the 70 year old Grant's Best Procurable, and I bid farewell to my brothers in arms, and dragged my enormous head out the door of Allen's and out onto the hyper-reality of Danforth Avenue, having had possibly the best lunch of my life.
Here's my conclusion: Scotch is awesome! Especially Glenfiddich, and Ian Millar is the perfect spokesman - erudite, encyclopedic and engaging. And John Maxwell is still the Undefeated Greatest Host in the Effing Universe. The man is so gracious, generous and genuine, this city is not worthy of his magnificence.
Thanks for the invite, John. We love and appreciate you.
Deacon Dr. Fresh
Back to wearing a kilt