It is fitting that as we once again look towards returning to a state approximating normal, we find that we had scheduled a tasting focused around local whiskies. With the serendipity of returning to in-person tastings, and trying to help support others around us, it makes perfect sense to look to some distilleries that are right in our neighbourhood if not less than a days drive away.
There is so much good whisky being produced by small distillers from around the province, using locally grown grain and aged under the sun and rain that we watch go by every day. This isn’t whisky that’s trying to be Scotch, or Bourbon. It’s nothing like Crown Royal or Wiser’s, or Canadian Club. It is unique to this province and even to a specific area of this province, and it is made by distillers who have found that their location, produce or techniques give them something unlike anything currently available on the shelf.
For this tasting, we tried to procure some unique whiskies that even we had not tried before. Surveying the roster, we have a lot of finished whisky, some of the oldest whisky that we’ve seen in BC, and a lot of malt whisky. We hope you’ll join us in three weeks time to help support local, and try some great whiskies.
Okanagan Spirits x Martin’s Lane Winery Pinot Noir Finished Bourbon-Style Whiskey
A double whammy of local produce, this is Okanagan Spirits’ BRBN corn and malted barley whiskey aged for four years in ex-bourbon barrels before being racked into freshly dumped Martin’s Lane French oak Pinot Noir barrels for 6 months. A beautiful mahogany colour, with extra notes of currant and stone fruit lent by the Pinot barrels.
Okanagan Spirits Laird of Fintry Green Label
A second Okanagan Spirits offering, and their newest entry in their finishing series. This is their classic Laird of Fintry single malt whisky finished in Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia Extra Anejo tequila barrels. Reserva Extra is generally aged a minimum of 3 years in new or toasted French oak as well as American oak, with portions of the blend reaching up to 30 years. We’re comfortable in assuming this was one of the younger, ex-bourbon barrels. Expect notes of cooked agave.
Pemberton Distillery Organic Single Malt 2012
In the shadow of Mount Currie, with a population of just over 3400, Pemberton is the home of loggers and farmers and the Pemberton Distillery, making spirits out of local potatoes, grain and fruit. This single malt is one of the oldest we’ve seen in British Columbia, and is a nine year old full-size ex-bourbon single cask of malt whisky made from local barley and a portion of peated barley. Pot stilled in September of 2012 and bottled in November of 2021.
Dubh Glas Across the Pond
We’re happy to welcome Dubh Glas back to our tasting rosters! This is a pre-COVID bottling of single malt from Oliver’s Dubh Glas Distillery, aged in an ex-Glenglassaugh octave. Bottled at 46%, and never chillfiltered or coloured, this whisky has the soul of Oliver’s hot climate and Grant Stevely’s watchful eye, with a nod to it’s heritage in Scotland.
Victoria Caledonian Invermallie Moscatel Barrique
While the Scottish Whisky Association seems to have it out for this distillery, what better way to support them than by trying a couple of their whiskies. The first of two cask-strength offerings is matured entirely in a Moscatel barrique from Portugal. Moscatel is a sweet white wine from either Portuguese or Spanish muscat grapes, with the final product being oenologically similar to sweet, fortified sherries. While most moscatel is sold young, older examples grow closer to Pedro Ximenez sherry in quality, and in fact, Madeira wine is made from muscat as well. This is aged in European oak which normally gives a spicier profile than American or French oak. Expect floral and spicy notes and a subtle sweetness.
Victoria Caledonian Invermallie STR Red Wine Barrique
A second red wine cask from Europe underwent a shave-toast-rechar process to unlock a subtly different profile and allow distillate to pull additional flavour compounds from the cask. Some debate whether remnants of the red wine remain to be found by the whisky, but the distillery promises notes of tropical and dried fruit, berries, leather, honey and spice. Also bottled at cask strength.
Shelter Point Prohibition 10 Years Old
We’re pleased to have another Shelter Point on the roster, this one their oldest whisky to date. A lone 10 year old ex-bourbon cask of single malt whisky was finished in an ex-Islay whisky cask and bottled at cask strength. Need we say more.