Eau Claire Distillery, Laphroaig provide perfect whisky thaw for long winter nights

A chinook?


Or perhaps Old Man Winter got his hands on a nice bottle of whisky.

Nothing thaws the mind, body and soul better than a wee — or not-so wee — dram of the good stuff.

Looking for some fine options?

Well, normally my tastes tend towards the peatier single malts from the Islay region of Scotland, with Lagavulin being the usual go-to.

That may change, though, with an introduction to Laphroaig Select from the same island. 

The single malt Scotch whisky, which takes its name “from the special selection of American and European casks chosen for their unique character they give during maturation,” they describe as being “a handshake with peat” compared with the more traditional Islays. It’s also slightly more mellow, sweeter than the aforementioned Lag — making it a good introduction to those looking for a way into the smoky stuff — but it still brings the heat that any mind, body and soul craves on those long winter nights.

You can and should pick up a bottle for around $75-$80 at many of the local providers of good whisky, including Liquor Depot and Calgary Co-op.

How about something a little closer to home? Like, say, Turner Valley?

On Dec. 8th, with a great deal of pomp and ceremony (a parade of pipers, draft horses, etc.) Eau Claire Distillery, known more for gin and vodka, launched its very own single malt — or as they trumpeted, “the first single malt whisky produced in Alberta in modern times.”

The initial limited run of 1,000 sold out immediately and, as described by Eau Claire’s master distiller, Larry Kerwin, “(had) the complexity, flavour notes and finish of a whisky far more senior than its years. It has fruity notes, spice and a subtle influence of sherry casks in a smooth, approachable character.”

You can judge for yourself, by booking a tour and tasting at the Distillery, which take place Friday to Sunday,  at 1 p.m. or 3 p.m.

Or, if you want to make it something a little more special, you can buy a ticket for their Miss Mary Campbell Day Saturday, Jan. 27. The $90 evening, in honour of the mistress of Scotland’s most famous wordsmith Robert Burns, includes transportation from Hotel Arts to the Eau Claire Distillery, where there will be a formal Scottish dinner and samplings of the single malt, before guests are returned back to the point of departure.

Tickets for the evening, as well as the weekend tours, are available from

Enjoy. And stay warm this winter.