The Oprah Winfrey of Whiskey

Back when Oprah had her regular television show, she would have a regular feature where she would do a show-and-tell of things she liked. For better or worse, what would inevitably follow was a tsunami of purchasing, the peak in demand created solely by one person’s endorsement. One person’s opinion. Well, it’s now official, the world of whisk(e)y has it’s own Oprah.

Yes Jim Murray, I’m looking at you.

My wife brought to my attention last Friday an article on the CBC website about Mr. Murray’s proclamations for the coming year about what he considered to be top notch whiskies. At the top of the list was a stunner. Like last year when he anointed Yamazaki -as if it needed any more attention- creating a furor that anything other than a spirit from Scotland could possible enjoy such status, he follows suit this year with a Canadian whiskey. Crown Royal Northern Harvest.


I live in Toronto. We have dozens of LCBO outlets in the city. I’ve tried and enjoyed various releases from Crown Royal, so I decided to go buy a bottle or two so I could try this apparently stellar dram. I failed.

Friday there were many thousands of bottles available in Ontario, according to the LCBO app. Sunday morning there were 1500 bottles available. Today, Monday morning, there are 496, with less than 20 showing in Toronto. (Edit: Tuesday morning the provincial inventory is now 97 bottles, but likely much less than that as most stores show only a single bottle which usually means it has been lost, stashed or broken.)

I’ve talked at length in this blog about supply and demand and the effects on whisky pricing. I dread the thought of what Mr. Murray has wrought. This hitherto humble bottle retails for $32 CDN at the LCBO. Now that the supply has withered, will prices jump? I truly hope not. The idea of a great whiskey at an affordable price, that (gasp!) is domestic just makes me happy. I hope I haven’t missed my chance on this one.

PS: Keep an eye on the LCBO Alerts page of my blog, I will make note when we receive more stock into Toronto.


Happy foraging!





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Whisky Forager

I collect whisky. I like good prices for whisky. Living in Toronto doesn’t often allow for both but I'm lucky enough to travel a lot for work. I get to shop around for whisky and I want to share the good buying opportunities that I come across. That’s the premise. I’m not writing about tasting or grading whisky, there’s plenty of other sources for those opinions. I just want to share opportune finds for quality bottles at below market prices. A couple of years ago after discovering a pricing discrepancy at LCBO that provided a few deeply discounted bottles for my collection, I realized that there are lots of opportunities to purchase good single malts at a discount price. And not just outside of Canada but also sometimes in Ontario. It may be hard to believe, but the LCBO can be your ally just as often as it’s your nemesis. This is not a commercial site, I only share my finds based on my own opinions of good prices and good bottles.

3 thoughts on “The Oprah Winfrey of Whiskey”

  1. I’d love to try this myself but for some strange reason here in the UK, we seem to only get a very limited supply of Canadian whisky. So it will be a case of purchasing online and most probably at a very inflated price.
    Please let me know how you get on with this and if you believe it will be worth the price I’ll have to pay.


    1. No problem, I’ll be sure to let you know if or when I can get ahold of a bottle. In the meantime, if you can find Lot 40 Single Copper Pot Still Canadian Whiskey (from Hiram Walker) I think this is probably the best balance of quality and price that you will be able to find.


      1. Thanks I’ll keep my eye out for that. I’ve just recently found a local store that deals a lot with the US and Canada. So I’ll ask them if they can get hold of a bottle or two for me.


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