Inside Moët Hennessy’s LCBO pop-up, with rare bottles, guided tastings and lavish dinners
This month, the LCBO is launching its first-ever store within a store, and they’re doing so with a bang. The Luxury Discovery Suite is a stunning collaboration with Moët Hennessy that will make lovers of fine champagnes, wines and spirits swoon as soon as they step inside. Hosted at the Toronto Summerhill location from November 14 to December 8, it’s a seriously elevated way to shop for wine and spirits, whether you’re selecting the perfect bottle for a dinner party or dreaming up a dynamite custom cocktail. As the name suggests, the suite will be devoted to some of the most prestigious products the LCBO has to offer and will provide a series of swanky events, including casual tastings and elaborate four-course meals with industry experts, that are definitely worth attending.
Resembling a high-end apartment, the suite will be outfitted with a kitchen and tasting table, the whole set-up surrounded by bottles of Moët Hennessy’s brands integrated into stunning art pieces. There will be fine wines (like Cheval des Andes and Ao Yun), all the best champagnes (Dom Pérignon, Veuve Clicquot, Ruinart, Krug and Moët), Belvedere Vodka, Glenmorangie Scotch and, of course, Hennessy cognacs.
Shoppers can pop in whenever the store within a store is open (2 to 9 p.m. every day) to peruse the selection and chat to product specialists about various flavour profiles, gift recommendations or the unique brand history and DNA of the products. The suite is a gifting haven where you can rest assured every bottle is recipient-approved. Plus, anyone who makes a purchase will also get to take home a chic branded bottle bag. In addition to the regular programming, there will also be a couple of special calendar highlights for anyone who regularly invests in the very best alcohol.
On select days, the shop will host tastings devoted to particular brands from 2 to 4 p.m. For example, the month kicks off with a couple of champagne tastings: Moët and Chandon on November 14, followed by Veuve Clicquot on November 17. All tastings will be held in small groups in the suite’s kitchen. Specialists will pour samples (including the classics and harder-to-find bottles), talk about the history of the brand and help you pick up on some of the subtler scents and notes. Shoppers will leave feeling like a bona fide champagne expert—and there’s nothing like a few sips of afternoon champagne.
Whisky fans will also want to make sure to stop by. On November 21, you’ll have the chance to try Glenmorangie’s extra-matured range (think: iconic bottles like Lasanta, Quinta Ruban and Nectar d’Or), and on November 24, you can taste the Glenmorangie 18-year-old and Signet. The latter has won numerous whisky awards for its rich aroma, subtly flowery taste and long, enticing finish.
For the full month, an enomatic system will be set up with Estates and Wines products, a division of Moët Hennessy that crafts a range of fine wines from diverse terroirs around the world—the new Ao Yun, for instance, is a red wine produced in a remote corner of Yunnan. The pop-up will finish in December with sessions dedicated to Hennessy XO and Hennessy VSOP—two of the brand’s premium bottles that are best sipped during cozy get-togethers around the holidays.
All tastings are free of charge; details are on the LCBO website at www.lcbo.com/lds. No registration required.
For true connoisseurs and enthusiasts dying to learn even more, a series of private dinners at the Luxury Discovery Suite will offer a one-of-a-kind opportunity to hear the stories and secrets behind some of Moët Hennessy’s most legendary brands. There are four opportunities, each for a different Moët Hennessy brand and hosted by a special guest. For instance, the Hennessy dinner will be hosted by Bernard Peillon, the president of Hennessy Cognac, and the Dom Pérignon dinner will be hosted by Alexis de Calonne, the managing director of Moët Hennessy Canada.
After guests arrive, they’ll receive a custom welcome cocktail and sit down to an extravagant four-course meal in which every dish will be paired with a beautiful wine, sparkly champagne or sought-after spirit. Guests will get to chat with the host and ask all their burning questions, from grape-growing tips to how to identify an age-old scotch by a single sniff.
The intimate dinners will run from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Take a look at the full schedule here.