What’s Under Your Tree? (A Story of Whiskey Karma)

A month ago when all the Crown Royal Northern Harvest commotion began (or was it more of a frenzy? a furor? all of the above?) there was a spike in demand so large that could have completed many, many railways. And while the availability of Northern Harvest continues to be elusive as the LCBO continues to sell out, sometimes within minutes of opening, of its daily release of 500-1000 bottles, some of us lucky enough to have captured a bottle or two are be content with our good fortune.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote how, out of blind luck, I stumbled across a non-empty shelf of Northern Harvest at my local LCBO. There were precious few bottles remaining on the shelf and while the collector in me wanted to clean out the shelf, my better nature resisted and I bought two bottles. I left the remainder, hoping that some other fortunate souls might share in the joy of finding some Northern Harvest right where they least expect it. So I felt good about finding the whiskey, felt good about sharing the bounty, and happily went about my day.

Four weeks later, the good karma that I had unwittingly set in motion returned.

Under the Tree

My wife and I are spending Christmas at her parent’s place this year, and much, much to my surprise, I found this delightful bottle in a present from my mother and father in-law. They had been reading my blog and knew the value of this whiskey but had, unsurprisingly, had zero luck finding a bottle whenever they checked the LCBO’s around where they live.

My mother in-law, inspired by how I had made a point of leaving something on the shelf for the next guy, became determined to find a bottle for me. Further inspired by how I had found my bottles by simply looking for bottles hiding in plain sight, she had a plan. She began to call each of the local stores to simply ask if they had any available. After a few stores replied with fatigued and understandable “no’s”, one store whose online inventory showed zero, said that yes, they were showing 80 bottles in stock yet the clerk she was speaking to was certain there was none on the shelves. Sensing opportunity, my mother in-law forged ahead, asking the clerk if they could please go back into the store room and physically check if the product was actually there.

A few minutes later she was rewarded with a “yes it’s here, but we can’t hold any for you”. Indeed it was there, hiding in not-quite-so plain sight.

“So if we come down to the store you can pull a bottle for us?”

“Sure, I can do that.”

No concern she thought, there was almost no chance that 80 bottles that weren’t even on the shelf yet would sell during the twenty minutes it would take to drive to the store. Mother and father in-law were off to the store and a few days later, I found something wonderful under the tree for me on Christmas, along with a wonderful story to accompany it.

Thank you, Patricia and Dennis.

So what was under your tree this year?


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.

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