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Visiting Calgary need whisky tips.

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@cricklewood
cricklewood started a discussion

I know this is a very specific thread to start but perhaps could be useful to others. Im heading to Alberta (Calgary and Banff specifically) for 10 days and other than sightseeing and shedding work stress I want to maximes my potential whisky purchases.

Other than the known big players KWM and Devine wines and such is there any places I should be looking out for that have interesting selection or good deals? I am going to try and have a few things delivered to me during my stay but like the thrill of the hunt too in store too.

Also last question.what's the most anyone had brought back on a domestic flight? Note I am travelling solo, so can't shift some ot my stash to another person.

6 years ago

22 replies

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

Such great questions.

If you're going to Banff you should be leaving and returning to Calgary from the North West, where there is a rich concentration of high end stores. if you're looking for anything specific I recommend using liquorconnect.com to see if it has been available and shipped to stores recently.

Crowfoot Liquor is mid to high range of price but some of their stores have huge variety and some good prices. COOP has a number of excellent stores, including World of Whisky downtown. They HAD Wiser's 35 and Lot 40 CS in several stores. For great prices on stuff like Uigeadail (mid $80s) Real Canadian Liquor Store chain is good. And Liquor Depot has mostly competitive prices and some good variety. There are smaller chains like Solo, and Olympia (or something like that) where you can occasionally find something interesting or dusty. We found 2 Springbank Claret wood one year, and last year 2 Nadurra 16 YO at original retail price at this one little store...

Further South or central there is Willow Park (a chain) and CSN Wine and spirits (where I saw some farclas family casks).

As to bringing back... I brought back 6 bottles (2 were 500 cc) in a carryon size suitcase in 2015 from Vancouver. Last winter I think I broke that record by getting 14 bottles and 3 minis in 2 suitcases (8 in one suitcase) from Calgary. Not a drop was spilled.

If you have room for an extra bottle I know someone in Montreal who might appreciate some mulage...

Please let us know what you find and how it goes.

6 years ago 0

@cricklewood
cricklewood replied

@Nozinan as always a wealth of ressources. Thank you so much for the roundup and tips...14 bottles is quite a haul. I may work myself up to that. If you time and have any other recommendations like restaurants or things to do I would gladly accept them in a PM.

I will keep an afternoon free to go dusty hunting in those smaller chains. I have a few things earmarked already (Lot 40 CS, octomore 7.3) I'm going to have to control myself and may well use up a good chunk of this coming years whisky budget on this trip. No worries I already have a a space or two earmarked for our local friend wink

6 years ago 1Who liked this?

@cricklewood
cricklewood replied

So I thought I would update the post. Day one and I had some time to kill before checking in to my air bnb which just happens to be in spitting distance of Kensington Wine market.

They are having a sale all weekend astonished there are good markdowns on lots of IB's, many from some of the more obscure distilleries. I overcame my stupor and picked up a 20yr old Arran malt from a single sherry cask bottled for the store's anniversary. Reduced down to 124$ it was a no brainer and it received good reviews on Quebecwhisky.

Later on in hit a co-op store that had a few good things for example they had ample stock of Nadurra for about 80$ octomore 6.1 at 125$

Then at liquor Depot my head exploded, they are also having a sale but it's a blowout. Lots of things 20-30-40$ off or even slashed in half...it was a wet dream of sorts. I'll give a rundown later but let's just say I'm already 6 bottles in

6 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@cricklewood I remember my epic whisky adventure a few Decembers ago where I found such treasures.

The Nadurra is a good find. Care to share which batch? Surprising you found them in a COOP, but well done!

6 years ago 0

@Robert99
Robert99 replied

@cricklewood A good buy would be PC 10 yo. But you may take advantage of those sales to get product you usually would not buy because of the price. Have you seen some Caol Ila CS among the IB? The Arran is a nice grab.

6 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@Robert99 My brother in law showed me a photo of a G&M Caol Ila CS at one of the COOPs I believe.

6 years ago 0

@Robert99
Robert99 replied

@Nozinan Do you know which barrel and which vintage? In any case that is interesting. I hope @cricklewood will read this and my previous comment about PC 10 yo.

6 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

@cricklewood,

My personal best is two suitcases, four bottles in each plus a large quantity of mini bottles and some clear viles of 100 ml each as carry-on...allowed carry-on of 1 liter of liquids as long as they are in clear plastic bottles not greater than 100 ml.

Others have muled more than that amount, but I also declared this at customs and didn't pay a cent. CBS protect our borders and our whisky explorers. Job well done CBS!

Most airlines have a maximum allowable limit of 2 litres of spirit per checked bag....Dangerous Goods legislation limits abv to under 70% abv on flights.

6 years ago 0

@nooch
nooch replied

KWM has some deals this weekend. Zyn has the cheapest prices in regular prices that I’ve seen. Some stuff you buy online to pick up in store. It’s not all stocked on shelves. I had a few bottles I compared prices with between them and 3/4 of the above mentioned retailers. Glendronach 21, PC 10 were cheaper there. They also had springbank 18 in stock. They beat the other stores by 10% or better.

6 years ago 0

@nooch
nooch replied

Just looked - zyn’s prices have gone up! Too bad.

6 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

@Robert99 _

I don't think the limits are strictly enforced. I believe it is more about packaging _ breakage _ security....and Dangerous Goods (safety)....deceitful behaviour is punished _ honesty goes a long way. My bottles are always doubled-bagged in large ziploc bags, clearly labeled, and well protected. I always get flagged for secondary inspection . Nothing of any consequence has ever happened. ...if the rules were enforced the product would be confiscated and possibly fines levied. The Canadian Reality television series 'Border Security' doesn't focus on that issue...I've seen many episodes _ it is my favourite show...I don't watch much TV _ but for this one I make an exception.

6 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor replied

@paddockjudge, I am laughing out loud! Canadian reality show Border Security is your favourite TV show. You are always gathering intel on how to up your game, I see.

6 years ago 2Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

@Victor _ Always trying to improve! ...we belong to the same International Union....(truly brothers In arms)

6 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

I think if you pack poorly and the baggage handlers see something that smells like alcohol dripping from your luggage, it might get inspected and you might get in trouble on a domestic flight in Canada, though I haven't seen any limits posted.

@paddockjudge I know you are an expert in these things but ignorance is bliss so it is not necessary to point us to any links....

6 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

@Nozinan - Agreed , Ignorance is bliss...if you read the detailed regs on baggage, both Canadian and U.S airlines have a 2 liter limit on spirits per bag....most jurisdictions allow for larger volumes.

Be prepared to pay or lose your stuff if you get caught...or both....and wind up on a list. Be honest _ cooperative _ polite.

6 years ago 2Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@paddockjudge

There's a difference between honest ignorance and dishonest ignorance. By clarifying airline rules I no longer have the choice to be honestly ignorant. now I would have to lie about not knowing the rules...

Unless I say my wife packed the bags and she didn't know the rules. That would be true on both counts! laughing

6 years ago 1Who liked this?

@cricklewood
cricklewood replied

Ok I'm back and first off I want to thank everyone who offered some assistance, it was really helpful.

@Nozinan I don't think I beat your last haul but I did pretty good.

I ended up with an eclectic mix of things, mainly because I focused on the criteria of good pricing and lack of availability back home. Also there's just such abundance and the prices in general very good that I could have filled 3 suitcases and still have had FOMO. In hindsight I probably should have diversified some but well I was there for other things than whisky shopping.

10 bottles (11 if you count the bottle of Lag 8 that made the round trip). Highlights include 2 teen Benriach single casks, because they were priced less than a bottle of JW Black at SAQ.

A bottle of Lot 40 CS and...why is that a magnum size bottle of Peat Monster cask strength in your pants or are you just happy to see me? I couldn't resist it was a 100 clams.

The best price/choice was at Liquor Depot, on one visit an employee was super helpful and invited us to try a few different whiskys. KWM has a nice selection for a small store and the staff will really go out of their way to help clients. On my visits there they seemed to greet most clients by name which is nice to see.

As always that was long winded, my apologies.

6 years ago 5Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@cricklewood OMG! Cask strength PEAT MONSTER, the size of 2 bottles for just over the price of one non CS bottle? Wow.

Congrats on your haul. Some great stuff there. Please let us know how it all tastes...

Which Amrut is peaking there in the background?

6 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Robert99
Robert99 replied

@cricklewood Nice haul. What would have been your trip if shopping whisky would have been your main goal? wink

6 years ago 2Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor replied

@cricklewood, that's a very cute Peat Monster Cask Strength. Is that in the 1.75 L size, or the UK 1.5 L size? I have a 1.75 L bottle of Peat Monster Reserve, bottled not at CS but at 48.9% ABV. It would be fun to taste The Peat Monster standard, Reserve, and Cask Strength side by side. It has taken me 5 years to go through half of my 1.75 L bottle. It won't take you that long, will it?

6 years ago 2Who liked this?

@cricklewood
cricklewood replied

@Nozinan I know bonkers, I laugh everytime I look at that bottle it's just ridiculous. Oh it's a peated CS from one of the first batches it seems. I definitely look forward to not only letting you know how it tastes but also sharing should the occasion present itself

@Robert99, if my trip would have been only whisky I would have been epic. I would have needed to drive a U-Haul back.

@Victor it's the 1.5L bottle CS 57.3% ABV. I would love the chance to try it as a head to head against other editions. I was thinking of opening this on my birthday next year and try to put a big dent in it with a bunch of folks. Otherwise it will be a decade of peat monster CS.

6 years ago 4Who liked this?

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