Written by Jen Kirsch
Relationship expert and gal about town Jen Kirsch headed out to Calgary before the JUNOs as Addicted’s JUNO correspondant, where she hosted a party for some famous Canadian faces. Here are the deets and how you can throw a fete like the one she pulled off.
This year, the JUNO Awards were hosted at the other end of the country in the wild, wild west known as Calgary. Since many view Calgary aka Cowtown as less of a big city and more of a place where rodeos are held but once a year, there was a sentiment that JUNO weekend would be less than stellar. That’s why I flew down a few weeks prior so I could source the top bars, restaurants, vinyl + vintage stores and all other things music lovers love, to make sure I could give those heading out for the weekend a heads up of what up.
In an industry where musicians and managers are often gifted with open bars, there isn’t much time to kick back and enjoy a great scotch. With that in mind, I decided to host my JUNO nominated friends The Elwins and Diemonds, and other industry pals for An Evening with Johnnie Walker, an intimate get-together for a sit down tasting and premium experience with the most popular scotch brand world wide.
On the Friday of JUNO Weekend, I had about 20 people or so come to an exclusive event at Cleaver, a rustic bar in a bustling, hip area in Calgary. Guests included the aforementioned nominees as well as Jake Gold, Vincent Law and Nathan Head, amongst others. They were greeted with welcoming cocktails that I curated with the handsome and talented Cleaver bartenders.
I knew Johnnie Walker had some great experience partnering with influencers and scotch-lovers alike (free of charge) for a tasting at your home (or venue of choice.) Which is why it was the perfect opportunity for me to host my friends while on the road. I simply reached out to Johnnie Walker’s dedicated concierge via email, and within 36 hours my soiree was approved and I was assigned Rob Rondinelli, a brand ambassador from Calgary to come set up and walk my guests and I through our tasting.
When we arrived at Cleaver, a long table was set up with 5 empty snifters on a branded place mats in front of each seat, ready for a tasting of: Red Label, Black Label, Gold Label, Platinum Label and Blue Label. We also had cans of the new Perrier flavours L’orange and Lemon for guests to sip on if they weren’t inclined to imbibe.
Also on the table were bowls of fresh strawberries and organic chocolate, which we were encouraged to taste alongside certain varietals to bring out different flavours in the scotch. This was my favourite part because my guests (mainly Feurd and Matthew Sweeney of The Elwins,) got really into it. They were shouting out the different notes they tasted, and we’d all high five and raise a glass when Rob informed us our delicate palates were bang on. Bottoms up!
The tasting lasted just under an hour and was a fun way for us all to have an interactive and memorable experience together, as opposed to the usual shouting-over-music and being interrupted by fans and media types for interviews. We snapped pics for social, took some great videos of the experience, like this epic one by Calgary socialite and boy about town, @Binzento, and kicked off JUNO weekend on the best note possible.
After the tasting was over, we all chatted amongst ourselves, and sipped on delicious Perrier-infused cocktails (one with a tequila base, a Johnnie Walker base, obviously, and a vodka base.) Rob, the ambassador was a really passionate, fun guy that we all fell in love with, so he joined us too to raise a glass and unwind before we all ran off to the official JUNO kick-off party at the National Music Centre.
An Evening with Johnnie Walker tastings are available in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver until July, 2016. Tastings can take place within 30km of the downtown core of any of these cities and is available to influencers and scotch-enthusiasts alike for groups of 12-15 people.
*photos by Jen Kirsch