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20 Years of the KSMS by David Simourd

Posted by Bill Gorham on November 22, 2018 at 5:40 PM

20 Years of the KSMS by David Simourd

We all have our own unique stories of how we become members of the Kingston Single Malt Society. I’ve been with the KSMS since its inception and I’ll provide you with what I recall as the beginnings.

The KSMS, to my memory, began in 1998 and is celebrating it’s 20 year anniversary and Phil Henderson and I have been here for the majority of the drams served over the years.

I want to give a historical recollection of the KSMS and then I’ll share a few comments.

Relax, this will only take a few minutes. And I’ll get this out of the way early: First, the KSMS is always teetering on financial ruin, but it perseveres. Second, no there have been no fires at the KSMS.


April 1998 – Food and Wine Event at Kingston Olympic Harbour

Maj. Kemp Stewart had a booth set up – and seemed very lonely when I cruzed by. It turns out he was sitting with his wife Amber, who I went to graduate school. With single malts close at hand and socializing to do, what possibly could go wrong?

Kemp mentioned he was starting a KSMS club at Vimy Officer’s Mess.

Sept. 1998 meeting at Vimy – the small room with about 12 people.

I was on the only Civilian at the time but felt quite welcome.

KSMS was part of the An Quack Society, which was some type of non-profit entity that was allowed to purchase single malt directly from the distillers in Scotland and sell them to members.

Kemp drove to Ottawa to pick up the malts we had at our meetings.

We had 9 meetings per year, no December or July or August meetings.

The KSMS link to An Quack lasted about two years but dissolved because of changes in the laws that basically made it impossible to operate at a reasonable cost to members.

Circa 2001 – KSMS began as a sole entity but had to purchase malts from LCBO

By this time, there were more members of the KSMS (about 2/3 military and 1/3 civilian) and we moved to the larger dinning area of the Vimy Mess.

Circa 2005

Kemp Stewart retires from the CF and relocates away from Kingston.

The KSMS loses its “Stewardship” with temporary Presidents alternating.

There was never a change in the quality of the malts or the kinship of the club.

Circa 2007 – Roberto assumes the role of President of KSMS

We have not looked back

Circa 2012 - alternating meetings between Vimy Mess, Fort Frontenac Mess, and River Mill.

Circa 2015 – continuous meetings at River Mill


The KSMS has a great kinship as reflected by the great laughter and easy interactions between members.

My view is that the military perspective is part of the DNA of the KSMS and reflected in our dress code, pseudo-formality (intro of guests and whiskey) and general enjoyment by all.

I also want to compliment all the people who make the club what it is: the people who introduce the malts, the people who sell raffle tickets, the people who collect money at the door – You are vital to the KSMS and I for one greatly appreciate all that you do.

I think a testament to the success of the KSMS are comments from quests. We have had occasional guests from the other Kingston single malt club who have commented about how nice our club is.

Also, we have had multiple compliments from guests who have done tastings for us such as Mike Brisbois and Mark about how sophisticated we are, but also how fun we can be.

To me, this is a reflection of Roberto as leader but also great combination of people from different backgrounds, both military and civilian, who enjoy single malt and like to have a good time.

Here’s to the past 20 years and whatever holds for the future.

Categories: Newsletters

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Reply [email protected]
9:59 AM on February 11, 2019 
It was good to hear this verbal history of our club. Thank you David.
Reply Tom Mc Culloch
12:51 PM on July 22, 2020 
Thank you David for an informative and instructive history of our club. I should like to add that we were most fortunate in that Major Kemp Stewart laid the foundation for the format of the club meetings, including the "Year End Taste Testing" which takes place in June and historically reveals failures by our members, requiring a return the following year, for further tastings. Lang mae oor harmony last.
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