Virginia Black Whiskey – A Preview Tasting With Drake At The LCBO

Walked into the tasting room expecting to hear a representative talk about the aromas and flavours but instead of the representative, there was Drake standing in front of us.

Walked into the tasting room expecting to hear a representative talk about the aromas and flavours but instead of the representative, there was Drake standing in front of us.

Last weekend, on my way to a bridesmaids dress appointment for one of our Muskoka wedding couples, I sent her a message saying ‘hey, do you mind if I stop off at the LCBO Summerhill Store at Yonge and St. Clair to grab a wristband for tasting Drake’s new whiskey next week’ to which she responded “so you’re coming drunk, is that what you’re saying? *winky face*” and so I joked about how important first impressions were and how her friends were going to like me. The tasting wasn’t that day but in my hands was a free ticket for me to come back the following Tuesday at 6:45pm to “Be one of the first people in North America to taste Virginia Black Decadent American Whiskey, the long-anticipated collaboration between Brent Hocking, founder and creator of DeLeón Tequila and award-winning artist, songwriter, rapper and actor, Drake” as the LCBO website said. Not being a scotch or whiskey drinker myself I was more intrigued at the idea of having Drake behind a product that I could use with some of our millennial wedding clients in light of how popular this spirit seems to be but I certainly didn’t expect to have the experience I had!

Only 100 tickets were given away for this exclusive preview tasting of Drake's Virginia Black Whiskey.

Only 100 tickets were given away for this exclusive preview tasting of Drake’s Virginia Black Whiskey.

Traffic was great getting from Muskoka to Toronto and free parking is always a bonus. I arrived at the LCBO Summerhill at the specified time and joined the line-up of other ticket holders. I aynswered a bajillion people who walked by asking ‘what are you lined up for?’, had the opportunity to speak to a representative on camera about why I was there, and chat with some of the others in the line with me. A catering team of servers came out and kept us warm in line by feeding us various hot hors d’oeuvres which was such a nice touch. When the doors opened we were welcomed inside by one of the LCBO Customer Service Representatives, Stephen, who shook everyones hand. Also very nice. Though there was a delay, I still didn’t think that Drake was in the building and boy was I wrong!

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So, the whiskey. I want to LOVE whiskey. I know that there seems to be a noticeable increase in popularity for scotches and whiskey. Maybe it is because of Netflix and shows like SUITS (oh, Harvey …) Madmen, Scandal and more and everyone seems to be sipping on one of these spirits. I haven’t been a fan. I find that the ones that I’ve tried burn so much that I don’t enjoy even sipping on them. Perhaps I’ve been tasting the wrong ones and maybe I’m a biased Drake fan however what I tried tonight was much easier to drink which made me very happy. Those around me with varying amounts of knowledge on what we were drinking seemed intrigued by it and seemed pleasantly surprised. Speaking of surprises…

So armed with the sample and having had the first sip as I walked into the next room, I came face to face with the man behind the brand, Mr Drizzy, Drake, Champagne Papi (I know that doesn't make sense now with the launch right?).

So armed with the sample and having had the first sip as I walked into the next room, I came face to face with the man behind the brand, Mr Drizzy, Drake, Champagne Papi (I know that doesn’t make sense now with the launch right?).

There was eye contact. He seemed quiet, approachable and good thing because there was only a table between us. 12 of us in a group, we came into this room with cameras and Drake. We were able to ask questions and a few people did. Someone jokingly asked Drake ‘So what will you call the Canadian Whiskey brand you launch next? Victoria Black?’ and everyone laughed. I am glad to see that Drake didn’t just slap his name on a bottle. It sounds like he was quite involved in the process and proud of the outcome. The cost of the 750ml bottle will be $39.95 and Drake said he wanted this to be a whiskey that was part of all of those life moments, not just on super special occasions, when you could afford it or for the rich. That reminded me of the Tim Horton campaign awhile “Some of life’s best moments are shared over a cup of great coffee.”

Why did this Wedding Planner go to a whiskey tasting? Wedding parties are getting more creative in terms of curating an experience for the couple getting married and looking for different, unique things to do. At weddings we have seen whiskey / scotch tastings incorporated into cocktail hour or post dinner moments. We’ve seen lounges dedicated to the idea at a few wedding shows hoping to  occupy those who aren’t interested in visiting with vendors but had to be there. I think also with Millennials and even some of the older folk – Drake seems to be doing great things for the 6IX (Toronto) and I’m excited to know this will be on the shelves and accessible for wedding gifts, wedding day toasts, tastings and much more.

Love the bottle design. Drake said something about it is the shape of his head? I wondered if the bottle was solid in one part with the liquid resting on top because of what looks to be two tone. Is the bottle half empty or half full. Now that I've seen it up close, it fills the entire bottle.

Love the bottle design. Drake said something about it is the shape of his head? I wondered if the bottle was solid in one part with the liquid resting on top because of what looks to be two tone. Is the bottle half empty or half full. Now that I’ve seen it up close, it fills the entire bottle.

Drake was awesome to meet in person. Check out the video I was able to grab of my encounter on Holly Matrimony Weddings Facebook Page by clicking here.

Thank you to the LCBO for such a great experience! Thank you Drake for stopping by even though the Raptors were in town. PS: the last words I said to you were ‘Heading to the Jay’s Game’? I was joking. I knew you’d be heading to the Raptors game though the look on your face suggested you thought I was confused over which team you’re repping ! HA!

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