By Howaida Sorour-Roberts
It has a long history of its own, making it a perfect pairing for a museum fundraiser. Whisky anglicized from the Gaelic ‘uisge beatha’ (water of life, as all alcohol was once called) started out as a medicinal concoction that has, over the centuries, developed into a prized recreational alcoholic beverage enjoyed by millions around the world. On Sept. 17, the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario (REMO) is hosting a single malt Scotch tasting evening in partnership with Ouidram, an Ottawa event planning company that specializes in whisky tastings.
“We’ll be offering four different expressions of single malt whisky that will be sponsored from the Glenmorangie and Ardbeg distilleries. The particular expressions are still to be determined but we are hoping for one of the new releases from Ardbeg for the guests,” said Theresa (Terry) McGoldrick, director at Ouidram. “Since this is a fundraising event the whiskies are being sponsored by Charton-Hobbs, Inc. of Toronto.”
The evening event is divided into two seatings, one starting at 6:30 and one at 8:30. Aiming for an intimate atmosphere, each seating will only accommodate just under 50 guests. The main hall of the museum will be set up like a railway dining car, with carefully chosen food samples catered by Magnolia Catering in Smiths Falls, explained Anne Shropshire, museum curator.
“Amy [Rensby, owner of Magnolia Catering in Smiths Falls] will be working with Terry to come up with food samples that compliment the different whiskies,” said Shropshire.
The evening promises to be entertaining, enlightening and educational, according to McGoldrick.
“Brian McQueenie, who was born in Scotland will introduce each of the samples. He’ll talk about how to nose and taste the whisky, and then he’ll give a brief history of single malts, and he’ll have the four bottle in front of him and he’ll talk a bit about the different regions of origin,” said McGoldrick.
While it sounds like a lot of talking, McGoldrick clarifies that McQueenie spiel is full of entertaining stories and humour delivered with a pleasant dose of the Scottish burr.
“The food pairing also brings the experience to whole a new level,” said McGoldrick, pointing out that most people don’t think of whisky and food pairings, but after experiencing a Ouidram evening they leave with a whole new appreciation for the art.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Ouidram has hosted countless whisky tasting for private, corporate and fundraising clients.
“Whisky tastings are infinitely adaptable, and are often layered onto parties and even weddings,” said McGoldrick.
Most clients find Ouidram through word of mouth, because their events are memorable enough to warrant that kind of buzz. The RMEO was no exception, and the idea simply grew for its novelty.
“We’re always exploring new ways to bring people to the museum,” said Shropshire. “This was an opportunity for a different crowd to experience our museum in a different way.”
Tickets for the event are $70 per person, $60 for members and $45 for designated drivers and can be purchased online at www.rmeo.org, by phone at 613-283-5696 or in person at the museum at 90 William Street West, Smiths Falls.
Photo Submitted: Brian McQueenie, director at Ouidram and the storyteller for the evening holding two bottles of single malt; one from Glenmorangie and one from the Ardbeg Distilleries, both of which will be featured at the upcoming RMEO Scotch Tasting on Sept 17.