By Patrick Thompson
The different colours of McCallan scotch set out on the table tempted me incessantly while I waited to try each one in turn with the paired delicacy of chef Craig Vieira’s five-course dinner. No one told me that I had to wait to drink at a scotch tasting. Experience brings maturity, as they say, and I could feel my inner teenager screaming to hurry up and drink the delicious, slow burning, wonderful scotchy scotch.
I would like to say that I grew more patient as each dish was served, but alas, this was not the case. In fact, it got worse. After the steamed coconut bun with hoisin pork, grilled scallion, cucumber and bourbon soaked cherries that was paired with a 12-year-old Highland Park Old Fashioned, and the smoked whitefish and barley salad that was paired with McCallan Gold, I was ever more excited to get working on the salmon, braised rib, and chocolate and salted caramel tart that were paired with the Amber, Sienna, and Ruby McCallan scotches.
Each course was introduced by McCallan’s own scotch ambassador, Marc Laverdiere, who provided insights, such as what time of day is best for which scotch (my favourite insight: early morning to 1:30 pm is a good time for drinking Gold), and also taught us a bit about McCallan itself—a company run by a trust fund whose profits are donated to various charities. Laverdiere’s insights and humour added to what must surely have been one of the best nights of the year for all who attended. By the end, not many wanted to leave. To paraphrase Laverdiere, we were at least able to tell our significant others that, though we were drinking scotch, we were supporting charities. It’s nice when it is actually true.