Igloofest 2014 lineup highlights include electropop artist/DJ/producer/electronic music's latest greatest hope, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, otherwise known as Orlando Tobias Edward Higginbottom. Chris Jackson / Getty Images
The Igloofest 2014 lineup is ouuuuuuut!
The best part? Organizers booked the delightfully deadpan Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. If you think Orlando Tobias Edward Higginbottom's original compositions are fabulous, wait until you hear his DJ mixes.
Bonus points for tacking on Pete Tong the same night as Higginbottom. If you're a seasoned electrohead, you'd recognize Tong's voice anywhere. He's been the host of the Essential Mix for BBC Radio 1 since 1993, though he first debuted on the station back in 1981, spewing weekly gossip on the dance music scene. As a producer and/or DJ, making it on his show is huge. It's no secret that you spin the top of your game if Tong comes knocking at your door requesting a two-hour guest mix. Some of the best DJ and/or producer compilations I've ever heard were on the Essential Mix. So imagine what one of electronic music's leading figureheads will pull out of his hat come January 23, 2014, which brings me to the worst part.
Tong and Higginbottom are booked on a Thursday, Igloofest's notoriously slowest day of the fest, which I suppose isn't such a bad thing considering how sardine-packed Fridays and Saturdays can get. Whatever. You probably thought the worst part was the weather ;-)
*Don't worry about missing out on tickets. They only go on sale next week, December 10, 2013. I'll have all of your must-sees covered well ahead of time.
Above: Jack Daniel's Sinatra Select Whiskey, slated for a global launch in 2015. In the interim, a handful of cities have access to the $300 spirit, including Montreal. Photo courtesy of Jack Daniel's
When I spotted an invite in my inbox welcoming me to join a small group of journalists at Auberge St. Gabriel for an exclusive tasting of Jack Daniel's Sinatra Select Whiskey, my first reaction was "but I hate whiskey."
My second reaction? At $300 a bottle, could this whiskey really taste that bad? Could it really make me cough, gag and lunge for the closest glass of water like Jacky D's good old fashioned Tennessee standard?
According to Brown-Forman national sales director and Jack Daniel's brand ambassador John Breckon, the reason straight whiskey would induce a cringe in the first place is because I'm doing it wrong.
Downing it like a shot? Wrong.
Drinking it fast like it's water? Wrong.
Taking a significant gulp of any kind from the get-go? Have I learned nothing.
According to Breckon, if you find yourself recoiling, it's because your tongue completely missed out on the sweetness. Chances are the whiskey went down so fast, it barely mingled with the taste buds. So the drinker would only feel a rough kick from the alcohol but miss out on all the flavor. Rather, one must gently savor whiskey, at least at first, making sure the first sip is a small one that "touches the tip of your tongue," he insists. As for sip number 2 and 3? "Go for it," says Breckon.
Frank Sinatra certainly did. A longtime fan, the famed crooner apparently dubbed Jack Daniel's whiskey the "nectar of the gods,", allegedly displaying an overt fondness for the brand throughout most of his career.
Above: Frank Sinatra with actress Lauren Bacall having a drink at Musso And Frank Grill around the time of his divorce from his second wife, actress Ava Gardner 1957 in Hollywood, California. Any bets on what's in the glass? Hulton Archives / Getty Images
So in honor of Sinatra's upcoming birthday centennial in 2015, Jack Daniel's is releasing a special edition whiskey setting back mere mortals a piddly $300 a bottle. Available in limited quantities until its global launch in about a year's time, Montreal is one of a handful of cities --New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles-- offered a head start on tasting the single-barrel, 90 proof spirit. Raising the proof above 80 is a big deal for the brand since they dropped their regular down to 80 over what Jack Daniel's claims is a customer preference for a gentler whiskey over the boldness of 45% alcohol.
So with all things considered, including the high proof, how does it taste to a whiskey hater like myself? Rather glorious, actually. It goes down so smooth and has a pervasive vanilla aroma. It's really quite lovely. And for the first time in my adult life, I actually finished a glass of whiskey straight, let alone took a second sip. If I had an extra $300 lying around, I'd snap up a bottle pronto.
Breckon compared the flavor of Jack Daniel's Sinatra Select to Cracker Jack's candied popcorn and peanuts, claiming that there is "so much more caramel, so much more butterscotch" permeating courtesy of the deep, spiraling grooves carved on the inside of the Sinatra oak barrel staves, barrels which are toasted and charred prior to the maturation process. No other whiskey barrels get this treatment at Jack Daniel's. And the Sinatra barrels are only used once.
Last I checked, there are a mere 15 bottles left at the downtown Signature SAQ at Complexe les Ailes on Ste. Catherine Street in downtown Montreal.
One last thing. While I was at the event, there were four whiskey cocktails being served and the one I chose - the Bunker-- was so good, I just had to have the recipe. Its creator, Auberge St. Gabriel bartender Axel Boivin happily and generously obliged. What I loved so much about this cocktail was not only its elegant presentation but its bold, but not too bold, and sweet, but not too sweet appeal. It's perfect for the holiday season.
Above: About.com's Evelyn Reid
in a rare non-work related moment involving heart-warming holiday decorations.* Photo © Clint Lewis
Quick note folks: your Montreal December 2013 events are posted! From free holiday fun to must-see events and activities, I've got you covered.
And do come back every week for updates. Or better yet, join my community on Facebook.
*That was like the 30th take. It was a long day.
And you thought the Uber free taxi week deal was already up... Image courtesy of Uber
Unless you've been recently avoiding all forms of social media --can't blame ya there-- you must have known about Uber Taxi's three free $20 cab trips which many a Montrealer cashed in on the week of November 13 to November 20, 2013.
It was an introductory promotion offered to users new to the GPS-based taxi dispatching service which just set up shop in Montreal, more than a year after its debut in Toronto.
Good news, folks. In a totally unexpected email, management claimed Uber wanted to make up for the fact that I didn't have a chance that week to take full advantage of the free taxi week promo. So they extended the promotion for me until November 30.
AND... they gave me a nifty promo code to spread the joy. In other words, if you sign up via the link in my just-published Uber Taxi article, YOU TOO can get access to three free $20 cab rides on Montreal soil now through November 30, provided you're a new user who hasn't opened an account yet.
So to reiterate, if you're curious about how Uber Montreal works, what I thought of the service, or if you just want those free cabs, then click here for the scoop.