Canadian Club #WhiskyWhisdom Tasting Event by Praxis PR Lacked All Common Sense

Rob Campbell, SMOJoe, CC whisky tasting at Hart House

Tish Harkus holds CC whisky at apr 18 tasting, The Great Hall

I feel sorry for Tish Harkus, Manager at Canadian Club Whisky for it’s obvious she has a real passion for this beverage, and a powerful gift for communicating the essence of the Canadian Club experience, but sadly, even her professionalism and compelling stage presence couldn’t cut through the lunacy of the Apr 18 tasting event.

On April 18th 2013 Praxis PR invited me to join the Canadian Club Chairman and share his Whisky Whisdoms at the inaugural #CanadianClub national meeting in the Great Hall at Hart House.

It was a boondoggle.

Honestly, I would like to report nice things, and ‘give back’ to the PR community, but it was like this gathering was organized by people who had never thrown a party before.  There were so many rookie mistakes.

wide shot, CC whisky, tasting at Hart House, Praxis PR

The huge Twitter wall was impressive, and I liked the Prezi style presentation. Congrats @TheDanLevy who won a nice prize for composing a clever tweet.

CC whisky tasting at Hart House, Praxis PR

The tasting tables were given no additional lighting, so i couldn’t read any of the literature provided, or even see the ‘tear drops’ after swirling the whisky in my glass, as Tish instructed.

Rob Campbell with Pabs at CC whisky tasting at Hart House

It was really hot in the Great Hall that evening – because the heaters were on behind us! They were going full blast and everyone was sweating buckets.

Here is myself Rob Campbell and my pal at the tasting. Pabs collects whisky and really enjoyed the spirit of the show.

CC whisky tasting at Hart House, Praxis PR

Tish had to hold her mic directly in front of her mouth and speak loudly to be heard, and everyone at the tasting had to really listen to pick out her words against the DJ’s music, which was far too loud and acoustically perverse in that huge auditorium.  I heard Tish tell an organizer that if she had to talk over the music all night she would be gargling with CC before the end… Her throat is sore today I’m sure, because the music volume didn’t change.

The Chairman was terrific. He was the high point of the night.

President speech, photographer blocks slideshow while president talks

Look how the photographer in the burgundy shirt stands directly in front of the projector and completely eclipses the slideshow during the Chairman’s speech. Its comedy.

CC whisky tasting at Hart House, Praxis PR

There were four bartenders at this event – each specialty drink order takes about two minutes to complete. There were over two hundred guests. Do the math.  Both bars were positioned directly across from each other which resulted in a room-dividing log jam, and mass line-up confusion that was never remedied.

Behind this crowd, outside in the hallway, there was a food vendor serving hot meat sandwiches and doing cooking demos while fifty people lined up to wait for his wares. The smokey scent of congealed beef was not ventilated, and so it lingered above the crowd for everyone to inhale. And it was a thoroughly revolting smell.

Corbies at CC whisky tasting event

Above is Sean from Korries clothiers in Toronto on Danforth Ave.

Here’s a bacon ceasar, beside a maple flavoured Manhattan.

Bacon garnish cocktail, maple whisky flavoured Manhattan CC whisky tasting at Hart House by Praxis PR

The gift bag was probably the most generous collection of items I have ever seen or received free at an event. It included a high quality shaving kit, two fashion magazines, metal CC cufflinks, two ounces of whisky in tiny plastic bottles, real glassware and a flash drive emblazoned with the Canadian Club name and logo. There was however no literature about the CC brand, or any printed takeaways from April 18th tasting event in the bag, which was odd because there was lots of printed material at the event. None of the printed material from the occasion made it into the gift bags to help people like me compose tweets or blogs afterwards.CC thumbdrive menu

When I tried to access the flash drive that was provided, this is what I saw, and subsequently couldn’t open or make any use of on my PC.  Is that what’s supposed to happen?  Perfect.

A further UPDATE

whisky compliments of CC from Praxis PR humbles meTo their great credit Praxis PR sent me a note alongside the Canadian Club support literature that should have appeared on my thumb drive, and a complimentary gift after reading this post, and I am humbled by their great generosity.