The Quebec Whisky Club Goes Down Easy

The Quebec Whisky Club Goes Down Easy

Article and photo by Farnell Morisset

Reporting on Québec City’s news and events is not always glamorous work.  Sometimes, sacrifices have to be made for the sake of the hard-hitting journalism you readers expect.  And so, dear readers, it is with this in mind that I bit the bullet and took on the difficult task of enjoying a palette of fine whiskies during one of the Québec Whisky Club’s tasting evenings.  It’s a hard life folks, but someone’s gotta do it.

The Quebec Whisky Club will be celebrating its fourth anniversary next month.  Founded by a trio of whisky aficionados, the club now counts 175 members from all walks of life, who meet a few times a month to indulge in a tasting of a half-dozen whiskies. 

The feeling of fellowship is palpable, with suit-and-ties sitting next to jeans-and-t-shirts to share in their appreciation for fine whiskies from around the world. 

Many of the whiskies sampled are private imports – unavailable at the SAQ – brought in by club members from their travels abroad.

As most members did, I sampled each whisky as selected by Patrick Bourassa and André Girard for the evening, and then noted my thoughts before giving each whisky my personal score.  But first, I needed a briefing on how one should go about best enjoying a high-quality whisky.

“You should take your time, because a great whisky – like those we are tasting tonight – is meant to be enjoyed.  It’s not something you will sip in a single shot, so there are four main steps to enjoy a great whisky,” explained Patrick Bourassa. “The first step is to look at the colour of your whisky,” giving a hint to the origins and the expected taste. “The second step will be the nosing,” Bourassa continued, warning “whisky is quite concentrated, so you don’t need to put your nose inside the glass.” He also recommends opening your mouth somewhat to allow the air to flow through your nose. “Then, the most fun part is the tasting per se,” – stating the obvious here. “You need to compare this to a perfume; you need only a few drops.” Keep the drops on your tongue for a few seconds, and then swallow. “This way, your saliva will coat the whisky, so it will be easier on your throat,” which is also where the warm feeling comes from. Finally, “the difference between an ordinary and a great whisky is quite often the finale,” referring to the residual taste after you’re downed your shot.

Armed with this knowledge, I can say I thoroughly enjoyed a half dozen rare whiskies – most of which I’d never even heard of before.

Club members vary from newcomers curious about experiencing new tastes to passionate experts who enjoy and share their supply with like-minded whisky fans – with absolutely no sense of exclusion. 

For those still unsure about a whisky tasting club, long-time member Elisabeth Lessard explained her interest to me, saying she “loves the kick of whisky, the smell, the many different flavours, the taste of oak and vanilla… and there are a lot of guys here.” 

Lessard recommends that curious members should keep an eye out for the Quebec Whisky Club website for their events at Pub Nelligan’s, which has an excellent selection of whiskies.  These events are free (save for the cost of the whisky, of course) and open to all, making them a great introduction to the club. 

The club’s website and Facebook pages are also a treasure trove of reviews and information on whisky from around the world – enough to get you going until you manage to join them for one of their events, at least.


About the author:

Born and raised in Québec City, Farnell Morisset attended English school throughout his primary, secondary, and CEGEP studies, before ultimately choosing to stay in Québec City and study civil engineering at Laval University.

While at Laval, he served as president of the civil engineering student association. It was there that he discovered his affinity for writing and commentary, preparing a weekly column in the student newspaper dealing with the issues he, as president of the association, felt were important and relevant.

Farnell is passionate about discussing (amongst other things) the issues of modern social identity for many Québecois who, like him, feel deeply connected to the Québecois nation and culture yet do not identify with the traditional francophone non-practicing Catholic nationalist image.

He is also alarmed by what seems to be an invasive and aggressive polarization of complex social issues for which there are no black-and-white answers. This eventual identity crisis, he feels, will only be solved through good faith in, and honest communication with, all sides pulling on our ever dwindling “pure laine” blanket.

It is with this in mind that he contributes to as a valued member of our, in-house, writing team.

Categories: Events

About Author

Farnell Morisset

Farnell Morisset has an engineering degree from Université Laval and common law and civil law degrees from McGill University, where he also studied economics.

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