January 27th, 2024- Victoria Whisky Fest  & Canadian Whisky Awards

Victoria Whisky Fest  & Canadian Whisky Awards





“Friendship is like Whisky – the older the better”

 Yes, my friends its our annual trek to Victoria’s inner harbour for the 18th annual Victoria Whisky Festival and the Canadian Whisky Awards.

It was founder of the awards Davin de Kergomeaux who whispered in my ear wondering why I wasn’t attending or tasting or writing about his Whisky Awards.  On second thought I think the voice in my ear was me saying

Davin de Kergommeaux

“how could you possibly miss this?” just after I had missed the events about 6-7  years ago.

I knew almost nothing about Whisky but my thinking was the same as wine – 17 years ago – every interview is going to be a master class. Pay attention and you could learn all about wine and pass it on to the listeners.


I’m pleased to welcome to Tasting Room Radio –


Davin de Kergommeaux – founder of the Canadian Whisky Awards.

The Canadian Whisky Awards, held annually with the Victoria Whisky Festival, is the first and only competition dedicated solely to Canadian Whisky.

The Awards have become the first stop for whisky producers, distributors, retailers and fans looking for the very best Canadian whiskies.

Davin is the world’s leading authority on Canadian Whisky. He also has three books available on Canadian Whisky with a fourth coming in March!

Davin assembled 10 judges and sent them nearly 200 competing whiskies to blind taste.  Davin announces the winner in his interview. We talk to the winners next week.






Dr. Graeme Macaloney PEng, PhD. – Macaloney’s Island Distillery (Saanich)


Proud owner of 5 world whisky awards including Worlds best Potstill – Kildara. They are a non-chilled, filtered, no colour added distillery.

In our 8-10 minute interview I think I asked 3 perhaps 4 questions – Dr Graeme handled the rest.

It was like a masterclass. A charming man in a Cameron Kilt.

He won Gold for his 54ppm Peat Project.





Tish Harcus –  Manager Canadian Club Whisky  since 1988.  Canadian Club itself since 1858.


Tish Harcus

James Neil – Bowmore Distillery. The oldest distillery in Islay. On the shores of Lochindaal since 1779. Also home to one of the world’s oldest Scotch maturation warehouses – The No 1 Vault.

James poured Bowmore 22 Aston Martin

Bowmore Ultimate Rare Collection



They took part in the Great Whisky Debate with

Micah Dew from Maker’s Mark.

Words flew, one liners were exchanged and they still remain long time friends. Micah was busy with a masterclass but we thank Tish and James for coming by.



Chris Read –Shelter Point Distillery. Campbell River.

Distinctly Vancouver Island. Uniquely Shelter Point.

By the time Chris sat down we knew Shelter Point had won 2 Bronze medals for their Oak Cask Single Malt  (smoke, spices, honey, leather and a wiff of ocean)

Shelter Point Distillery wins big at Canadian Whisky Awards - My Comox Valley Now

and their flagship Evans Family Reserve.

(vanilla, tannins, dark chocolate, coconut, citrus, berries, cloves.)

Chris explained the unique influences in their island location. It was like poetry.





Rob Carpenter.  Holyrood(Edinburgh)

Calum Rae –  Holyrood Distillery Manager

Bob Baxter – Two Brewers Whitehorse.

Irma Joeveer and Michelle Debus –

Co-founders of Paradigm Spirits

London Ontario –

2022 Heritage Collection  Canadian Whisky of the Year

A 19 year old  cask strength single grain Whisky.

From already filled casks they bought to start their distillery. Their oloroso sherry blending was brilliant. “sublime complexity and elegance” (davin)

Made in the former Kellogg’s factory using some of the same grains for their future Whiskies.

What a story.





Van Wine Fest

Township 7

Fort Berens

The provincial politics of  BC Wine