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  1. #1
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    Jan 2011
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    Duty Free options - specifically Toronto, London

    I will be traveling to both Toronto and London this fall, and am curious if anyone has the latest scoop on available exclusive/overseas items, like Wild Turkey 8yo, Blanton's barrel proof, etc.

    I'd also be curious about Scotches worth picking up, or maybe even one of the 12-18 yr Canadian Whiskies in Toronto.

    I've been digging around the Internet, but would welcome any current insights.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Northern Ontario, Canada
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    Re: Duty Free options - specifically Toronto, London

    Hello bmajazz,
    this is my first post.
    I reside in Northern Ontario and have been a longtime follower of StraightBourbon.com; however, today I'm responding, hoping that I can give you a 'leg up' for your trip to Toronto.

    Forty years of enduring traditional Canadian whisky has positioned me well to embrace the current 'renaissance ' in Canadian whisky that is being led by John Hall of Forty Creek and Don Livermore of Corby/Wiser's.
    I believe that you should look for super-premium expressions from the above mentioned distilleries.
    Forty Creek has an annual 'Reserve' very limited release, two of which are now standard offerings: Double Barrel $60 and Confederation Oak $70....also available is a sipper/mixer, FC Copper Pot $40 for a quart.
    Wiser's/Corby has Lot 40 Rye (10 Years), Red Letter (13 Years) $100, and Legacy (10 Years) $50.

    There will be a limited release of Forty Creek Evolution ($70) in Ontario - late September. The 'best' Toronto LCBO store is located at Summerhill and Young. Also, you can't go wrong with Wiser's Legacy, 1 liter at duty free, or 750 ml at LCBO $50 - this expression is the benchmark for Canadian whisky. Legacy is a ten year-old blend of column and pot still corn, rye, and malted barley, all aged individually in new American Oak and blended masterfully by Dr. Livermore and his talented group - absolutely delicious at 90 proof...you might want to get two.

    Below is the 'old' search engine web address for LCBO - simple usage by entering into "Quick Search" window the brand name or something generic such as whisky or canadian whisky and sort by 100/page etc.
    http://foodanddrink.ca/lcbo-ear/jsp/...sp?language=EN

    I hope this is helpful.
    Mark

  3. #3
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    Apr 2014
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    Re: Duty Free options - specifically Toronto, London

    I have family in Canada and have been up there a few times this year.

    I second paddockjudge's post, although I think Lot 40 is HIGHLY overrated.

    My fave of the bunch would be Wiser's 18, which wasn't mentioned above. Not impossible to get in the States, so look before you go - if your local liquor store has it, then why bother, you know? Try these at home instead. Odds are they may have the 18 and the Legacy. The legacy is drier and spicier with a slightly higher proof than the 18 (don't remember the numbers). The 18 is a REALLY nice sipper with a very nice round flavor. I never tried the Red Letter @$100. The 18 is about $65.

    Everything that I have tried that has been double barreled has been too sweet for me, but that's me.

    If you go to one of the premium stores in Toronto (sumerhill was mentioned. The other one is on King or Front St, not sure).

    No matter what, don't expect to be blown away. You're used to better selection in the states, and that's that.

    While you are there though, you will have your chance to try some Cuban rum or cigars. That's the only real area I can think of where Canada has an edge.

    In London, whisky stores are easy to find. Just don't rely on duty-free stores. They rarely cut the mustard with offerings you can't get at home anyway.

    tbt

  4. #4
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    Re: Duty Free options - specifically Toronto, London

    Quote Originally Posted by The Black Tot View Post
    I have family in Canada and have been up there a few times this year.

    I second paddockjudge's post, although I think Lot 40 is HIGHLY overrated.

    My fave of the bunch would be Wiser's 18, which wasn't mentioned above. Not impossible to get in the States, so look before you go - if your local liquor store has it, then why bother, you know? Try these at home instead. Odds are they may have the 18 and the Legacy. The legacy is drier and spicier with a slightly higher proof than the 18 (don't remember the numbers). The 18 is a REALLY nice sipper with a very nice round flavor. I never tried the Red Letter @$100. The 18 is about $65.

    Everything that I have tried that has been double barreled has been too sweet for me, but that's me.

    If you go to one of the premium stores in Toronto (sumerhill was mentioned. The other one is on King or Front St, not sure).

    No matter what, don't expect to be blown away. You're used to better selection in the states, and that's that.

    While you are there though, you will have your chance to try some Cuban rum or cigars. That's the only real area I can think of where Canada has an edge.

    In London, whisky stores are easy to find. Just don't rely on duty-free stores. They rarely cut the mustard with offerings you can't get at home anyway.

    tbt

    Comments further to tbt's post.

    I concur with tbt; Wiser's 18 is indeed a very nice whisky. Look also for Gibson's Rare 18 Years if a creamy and sweet whisky is to your liking. I have a bias towards rye forward expressions and also those correctly aged in good quality sherry/port/wine/ casks....but I don't discriminate, I love a good wheater too!

    The expressions I listed in my earlier post are seldom found outside Canada, but distribution is now reaching across our friendly border into new jurisdictions. The Forty Creek releases have been available in Texas for a few years and I suspect that the new owner of Forty Creek, Campari, will distribute the FC bottlings on a global basis.

  5. #5
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    Re: Duty Free options - specifically Toronto, London

    I'll keep my eye out for the Gibson's Rare 18. I would have bought it if I saw it when I was up there in May.

    Roger on the rye forwardness of the Legacy. At the duty free in Windsor I saw liter bottles cheap.

    I like liter bottles because that's usually the universal personal limit on bringing spirits into a country. I hate bringing a nice 750ml home and thinking "agh, I could have brought another 250!" 1Ls are not always an option, but I love it when they are.

    I got to Texas only to find both the Legacy and the 18 on the shelf at our local Goody Goody store, a few blocks from where I was staying, and at about the same price. I also found about 4 dusty bottles of Wiser's 18 for about $30-35 each. Score.

  6. #6
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    Re: Duty Free options - specifically Toronto, London

    Quote Originally Posted by The Black Tot View Post
    I'll keep my eye out for the Gibson's Rare 18. I would have bought it if I saw it when I was up there in May.

    Roger on the rye forwardness of the Legacy. At the duty free in Windsor I saw liter bottles cheap.

    I like liter bottles because that's usually the universal personal limit on bringing spirits into a country. I hate bringing a nice 750ml home and thinking "agh, I could have brought another 250!" 1Ls are not always an option, but I love it when they are.

    I got to Texas only to find both the Legacy and the 18 on the shelf at our local Goody Goody store, a few blocks from where I was staying, and at about the same price. I also found about 4 dusty bottles of Wiser's 18 for about $30-35 each. Score.
    Duty free is attractive and usually a bargain, but with regulations so tight these days it is often difficult to bring back the airport purchases unless they are purchased on the way into a visiting country and then packed with regular luggage for the return trip. The bring back limit into Canada is 1.14L (one quart) - this allows for a bottle (750) and a mickey/half-pint (375).

    Definitely makes sense to buy what is not obtainable at home when abroad. On a recent visit to Houston brought back from Spec's (approx. 2 miles from Minute Maid) a bottle of Bushmill's Rare 21 Years; you just can't get this stuff in Ontario. I was hoping to get some Balcone's but passed when I saw the BM21....btw, nice score on the Wiser's 18, that's half the price we pay in the jurisdiction where it is produced.

    I hope this is helping bmajazz
    Nice chatting with you tbt.

    Mark

  7. #7
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    Re: Duty Free options - specifically Toronto, London

    Check out a Rye Whiskey called Wisers Small Batch...Good Canadian stuff!

  8. #8
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    Nov 2010
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    Re: Duty Free options - specifically Toronto, London

    Just spent some time in Pearson and Heathrow a few weeks ago, they did have a lot of Canadian and Scotches (of which I know nothing about), the bourbon selection was very disappointing....limited to JD, Woodford and others that I can find locally.

    I told my wife that if we found WT 8, we were going to be carrying a bottle or two across Europe.....she was quite happy I struck out.....
    .
    .
    Rye whiskey makes the sun set faster.

  9. #9
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    Re: Duty Free options - specifically Toronto, London

    Wow, this is exactly the info I was hoping for. All the threads I had seen were several years old. This will be a great help. If I have the time, I will try to visit one of those premium stores in Toronto. Unfortunately I won't have a car, and am part of a performing show, so my options may be limited.

    tbt, I was well aware of the cigar availability up north! I hadn't recalled the rum option though. I may explore that as well.

    I imagine we need a duty free thread on here. I think that might be good, keeping up to date with what people are seeing. Thanks again for the options!

  10. #10
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    Re: Duty Free options - specifically Toronto, London

    Quote Originally Posted by bmajazz View Post
    Wow, this is exactly the info I was hoping for. All the threads I had seen were several years old. This will be a great help. If I have the time, I will try to visit one of those premium stores in Toronto. Unfortunately I won't have a car, and am part of a performing show, so my options may be limited.

    tbt, I was well aware of the cigar availability up north! I hadn't recalled the rum option though. I may explore that as well.

    I imagine we need a duty free thread on here. I think that might be good, keeping up to date with what people are seeing. Thanks again for the options!
    canadianwhisky.org will give you good reviews on Canadian juice.
    Cabs are cheap and LCBO stores are plentiful in the downtown core.

 

 

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