Bourbon Tasting Toronto And Ontario – In Person or Virtual

Are you someone who relishes the sweetness and spice of bourbon? Who loves the taste of warm vanilla and caramel? Well, then, you should not miss out on our bourbon tasting experience!

If you’re a true-blue bourbon enthusiast, we encourage you to explore our bourbon class, which is a part of our array of whisky experiences. Specially crafted for ardent bourbon lovers, we offer a carefully put-together bourbon samples for your tasting that engage the senses, and present various flavour profiles and aromas. And no, you don’t need to go all the way to Kentucky for this since  we service the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Ontario!

Can’t make it to our class on location? Check out our virtual bourbon tasting experience! Tasting at home in the comfort of your living room is a fulfilling experience that’s personalized down to the T. Whether it’s you and a group of friends or just you and your partner, we guarantee a deeply memorable experience.

The following is an overview of what we cover, the formats we offer, and frequently asked questions.

What We Cover During Our Bourbon Classes

Curious to know what we cover? Bourbon lovers can expect education and entertainment in our bourbon-tasting classes.

Bourbon Appearance

Did you know that getting bourbon-tasting right starts from the glass? Appearance is everything, and a bourbon-tasting glass is key to a perfect experience. The glasses must be the right weight and crystal clear to allow you to see the colour.

Whether it’s an in-home bourbon-tasting or private bourbon-tasting experience, it all starts with the right glass. But what are the visual characteristics of bourbon?

Check for these:

Colour: Bourbon colour can range from light amber to brown. Colour is also dependent on the length of time bourbon has spent in an oak barrel: the longer the duration, the darker the colour.

Viscosity: Is the thickness of Bourbon. Think of the difference between maple syrup and water. You can assess the viscosity by swirling the bourbon in the glass and watch how thick the tears are that fall down the side of the glass.

Clarity: Is the bourbon appearing hazy or cloudy? Chances are, it may not be the highest-quality bourbon. It means that the bourbon wasn’t stored properly, or worse, may have inferior ingredients.

Bourbon Tasting Toronto
Private Bourbon Tasting

Bourbon Aroma

Got your glasses? Checked for the colour? Next is to identify the aroma.

Bourbon can have many distinct aromas. Two of the most common aromas are caramel and vanilla.This is typically from resting in the charred oak barrels, where the liquor can combine with the notes of wood.

Because bourbon is aged in oak barrels, oak is another strong flavour you can immediately identify. This woody flavour is often the easiest to spot.

Spicy aromas such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or clove can be commonly found as well.

Bourbon Taste

If you know your whisky, you would know that bourbon is often sweeter when compared with other whiskies. This is often due to the heavy presence of corn used in its production process. But there’s more to a bourbon-tasting event than just identifying sweet.

Identifying the different flavours of bourbon can be challenging. For example, let’s say a bourbon is considered spicy. Well is it brown spices like cinnamon, clove, or nutmeg? Or is it a black pepper spice? During your tasting you will learn to discern these flavours.

Bourbon can also take the woody flavour of the oak barrel it is aged in. Surprisingly, it can also have floral flavours such as lavender, rose, or jasmine.

Bourbon Experiences
Bourbon Production

Bourbon Knowledge

During the bourbon-tasting tour, we also aim to provide you with in-depth knowledge of your drink of choice! Some of the topics we cover include

Production Methods: Bourbon is made from rye, corn, and malted barley. This mash is fermented and distilled. It’s then stored in oak barrels. While the length of time may vary, most bourbons are aged at least two years.

Interrelationships: This drink in your hand has gone through many stages and processes to reach where it is right now. All the different elements of bourbon: rye, corn, and barley all interact to create complex flavour profiles. The aging in the oak barrels adds an additional layer of complexity.

Use In Cocktails: Bourbon is versatile. It forms the base for cocktails such as the Old Fashioned, the Whiskey Sour, or the Manhattan.

Our bourbon-tasting events are held in a relaxed setting, with a variety of bourbons for you to sample.

In Person And Virtual Bourbon Tasting Formats

Bourbon Tasting Kit

Self Guided

A self-guided bourbon-tasting event is a great way to learn about bourbon without having to go to a formal bourbon class. This is particularly useful for a small group activity or even a great date night idea! For this, we give you a self-guided bourbon-tasting kit.

Each self-guided tasting kit includes:

  • A selection of different bourbons, of varying ages and from different brands.
  • Our tasting guide will provide you with information about the different bourbons in the kit, with detailed notes on the history, production processes, and tasting notes
  • Optional note card, tasting glass, and food pairing

Click the link below to learn more about our self-guided bourbon-tasting kits. We always recommend that you keep water glasses handy during a tasting session to cleanse your palate. A notebook and pen would be handy too for jotting down notes!

Shop Bourbon Tasting Kit

In Person Bourbon Master Class

If self-guided is not for you, then we do have an expert facilitated bourbon-tasting masterclass.

Our mobile bourbon-tasting class will travel to you, or we can host it at the 180 Drinks tasting room.

So, what can you expect from a professionally guided in-person bourbon-tasting class?

  • A collection of bourbons. We offer around 5 samples.
  • Bourbon-tasting guide.
  • Tasting glasses such as Glencairn glasses (also available for purchase).
  • Bottle of water.
  • Optional chocolate tasting and light snacks.
  • Optional table rentals.

Get in touch today for a quote!

Bourbon Class
Virtual Bourbon Tasting

Virtual Bourbon Tasting or Hybrid (In-Person & Online Bourbon Tasting)

Virtual bourbon-tasting events are a great way to get together, especially if you have teams or family or friends in different geographic events. Customers love our virtual sessions because they offer convenience, affordability, and flexibility.

While there’s hybrid work, can hybrid tasting events be far behind? A hybrid event works if you want to have both in-person events and virtual events to include those who aren’t able to make it to the virtual event.

And what’s the difference between virtual and in-person bourbon-tasting events? Practically none! We give you the same experience apart from the Glencairn glasses. You can still purchase them for our site before the event, however.

You can pick up the tasting kits from our office or we can arrange to ship them for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

faq What Is The Difference Between Whiskey And Bourbon?

It’s in the corn! For bourbon to be bourbon, it must be made of at least 51% corn, whereas whiskey can be made from any grain. Additionally, bourbon must be made in the US, while whiskey can be produced anywhere in the world. Bourbon also must have a minimum Alcohol By Volume (ABV) of 40%, while whiskey can have any alcohol content.

faq How Do I Improve My Ability To Detect Bourbon Aroma?

It is impossible to establish what an aroma or odor corresponds to if you have no frame of reference for that specific aroma or odor. If the smell does not exist in your olfactory memory then the smell cannot be identified. The best way to improve your olfactory memory is to become familiar with the smell of individual aromas.

faq Can I Do Bourbon Classes at 180 Drinks?

Absolutely! We are licensed for up to 25 guests at our location: 400 Matheson Blvd E Unit 20, Mississauga, ON L4Z 1N8

If your guest count is greater than 25 guests, we can also travel to your location in Ontario. Please see which areas we serve below.

faq Should I Add Water Or Ice To Bourbon While Tasting?

Alcohol dulls and inhibits your taste receptors. As bourbon typically has a high level of alcohol, at least 40% ABV, it can be worth lowering that level to get the best flavours out of it.

Try adding a little spring or filtered water gradually and preferably using a pipette. Add just a few drops to begin with, so as not to over-dilute your drink. The introduction of water releases the aromas and flavours otherwise locked in by the alcohol.

What about ice? While ice may be preferable when drinking whisky for some, Ice is not recommended for a formal bourbon tasting. This is because it has a double-block effect: it both numbs the palate and “locks in” the flavours of the bourbon, making them harder to detect.

faq Do You Offer A Bourbon-Tasting Bar For Events?

Absolutely! This is a great option for a more high-level bourbon-tasting event. Our bourbon-tasting bars are tailored to your service to your requirements and budget.

Get in touch today for a quote on a bourbon-tasting bar for your next corporate event, party, or wedding!

faq Do You Do Non-Alcoholic Bourbon Tastings?

We offer a non-alcoholic spirit-tasting kit for those who prefer not to drink. Cheers to you!

faq What Platform Do You Use For Your Virtual Bourbon Tasting?

We realize that different customers have different platforms they prefer to use. At 180 Drinks we are platform agnostic, so for your virtual bourbon tasting event we can provide the virtual platform or we can adapt to use your own platform. For example if you prefer to do a Zoom virtual bourbon tasting we can accommodate this. Other platforms commonly used are Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, or Webex.

faq What Areas Do You Serve In Ontario For Your Bourbon Classes?

For virtual bourbon-tasting experiences, we serve all of Ontario.

For in-person private bourbon-tasting Toronto and Ontario experiences at your location, we serve the following cities:

  • Ajax
  • Aurora
  • Barrie
  • Brampton
  • Brant
  • Brantford
  • Burlington
  • Caledon
  • Cambridge
  • Fort Erie
  • Grimsby
  • Guelph
  • Halton Hills
  • Hamilton
  • Ingersoll
  • King City
  • Kitchener
  • Lincoln
  • London
  • Markham
  • Milton
  • Mississauga
  • Newmarket
  • Niagara Falls
  • Niagara-on-the-Lake
  • Oakville
  • Oshawa
  • Pelham
  • Pickering
  • Port Colborne
  • Richmond Hill
  • Schomberg
  • Catharines
  • Stratford
  • Thorold
  • Toronto (Downtown Core, East End, East York, Etobicoke, GTA, North York, North End, Old Toronto, Scarborough, West End, and York)
  • Vaughan
  • Waterloo
  • Stratford
  • Welland
  • Whitby
  • Woodbridge
  • Woodstock

Get in touch today for your next in-person or virtual bourbon tasting Toronto event!

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