January 26th, 2019 -Victoria Whisky Festival and Awards

2019 Victoria Whisky Festival and Awards –  Year 14

“This year’s Victoria Whisky Festival occurred just as Canadian officials were conducting prohibition-style raids, confiscating whisky bottles in bars in Vancouver and Victoria.

Beyond this, however, the festival features top-level whiskeys and master classes, and serves as a focal point for the latest revival of Canadian whiskies from large and smaller independent operations alike now gaining momentum.”

Forbes Magazine ( 10 Whisky Festivals that you have to go to if you love whisky)

 This special is another journey of discovery for me.

Growing up I had no idea that whisky even existed and now I’m trying to discover what makes whisky such a favorite to millions of people worldwide.

It helps that there are no dog whiskeys in Victoria. Quite simply they showcase some of the very best whiskeys ever made.

Canada is right in the middle of the whisky boom. They have retaken their place in the whisky world after years of so-so releases.

A number of our guests are directly responsible for bringing back Canadian Whisky to World-class levels.

 My thanks to Heather Leary for her support with this project.

 Our pal Corey Wood recorded all of the interviews and bottle shots As seen below:

Iain Hooey

Iain Hooey is a founder and organizer of the Victoria Whisky Festival.

Davin de Kergommeaux

Davin is Chairman of the Judges for the Canadian Whisky Awards and author of Canadian Whisky: The New Portable Expert. A certified Malt Maniac he has been writing and talking about whisky for over two decades.

Don Livermore    

  J.P. Wiser’s Master Blender Don Livermore has an MS and Ph.D in Brewing and Distilling from Edinburgh’s Heriot Watt University. Don’s whiskies received numerous medals at the  Canadian Whisky Awards and J.P. Wiser’s was awarded Distillery of the Year

John Hall

Master Distiller John Hall founded Forty Creek Distillery, pioneered Canadian Whisky’s return to prominence in the United States and Canada. Hall was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Canadian Whisky Awards in 2015.

Tish Harcus 

Tish Harcus is brand ambassador for Canadian Club, marking 30 years of bringing this whisky to the world. Canadian Club was a finalist for Canadian Whisky of the Year – their 41-year-old received the award for best Connoisseur Whisky Domestic at  Canadian Whisky Awards. They also took home several medals.

Allisa Henley        Distiller –  Sazerac  Tennessee

Sazerac  owns Buffalo Trace and Barton 1792 in Kentucky

Just a few years ago Henley was employed as distiller at the George Dickel Distillery in Tullahoma, Tennessee, a facility still capable of making more than two million proof gallons of whiskey each year.

But in 2015, Allisa accepted a position at a new distillery in northeastern Tennessee, built to make Popcorn Sutton’s whiskey.

There, Henley and partner John Lunn made distillate according to a recipe developed by legendary moonshiner Popcorn Sutton, essentially a bourbon mash bill (corn, rye, malt) augmented with sugar.

No name yet for this new label but expectations are high.


  • Vancouver Wine Festival
  • Kutastas Vineyards – Salt Spring Island
  • Aquilini Wines – Red Mountain, Washington
  • The Californians