As mentioned in the intro to the Great Canadian Whisky Tasting, TWS wanted to give new distilleries and those with under-aged spirits a chance to participate in a group evaluation, as they don’t typically participate in whisky awards. We received bottles from a number of young distilleries, and you’ll find the descriptions, collective notes and rankings of those bottles below.
Park Distillery Glacier Rye – Banff, AB
This un-aged spirit is made from 100% Alberta Rye, uses glacier-fed lake water from the Rockies, and is bottled at 40%.
- Nose: sweet, peach concentrate, floral, sweet potato, light cereal, cotton candy, somewhat earthy, quite light and not unpleasant. surprised us given it’s unaged.
- Palate: perfumey, cotton candy, bartlett pears, weak beets
- Finish: short, earth, perfume, sweet, paper
- Overall Comments: would like higher ABV, will likely do well with oak. Surprisingly sweet for a rye, and was better than many white dogs we’ve tried!
Dixon’s Batch 3 Lightly Aged Rye – Guelph, ON
A bourbon-style spirit that can’t yet be called Canadian Whisky as it’s less than 3 years old. Aged for a short time in ex-bourbon barrels and bottled at 40%.
- Nose: acetone, some floral notes, lactobacillus, grainy, cloying sweetness.
- Palate: cloyingly sweet, like simple syrup, paint thinner, light oak, soapy
- Finish: very light chocolate, soapy, waxy, sawdust
- Overall Comments: needs more time as more wood influence should mellow out some of that chemical-like nature.
Last Straw Distillery’s Darker Side of the Moonshine – Vaughan, ON
Not an in-progress whisky, but actually a traditional moonshine made from 100% Ontario corn with added sugar, double distilled and aged 4 months in virgin oak. It’s bottled at 46%.
- Nose: caramel, butter, vanilla, rum-like, sweet
- Palate: caramel, butter, candy corn, ethanol, spirity, molasses
- Finish: short, sweet, butter, pepper, vanilla
- Overall Comments: Quite flavourful. tastes like the bastard child of a rum and a whisky, and it works! Looking forward to when they release a whisky. Less rough than expected.
Maison Sivó L’Essence due Rye – Franklin, QC
Sivó produces spirits using in-house grain milling and full size barrels and no colouring added. This in-progress rye is made from Quebec grains, 1/3 malted Barley and 2/3 Rye, and fermented using champagne yeast. It’s aged in new European oak barrels and finished in ex-port barrels, before being bottled at 42% ABV.
- Nose: cinnamon, apple, cedar, spirity, more rye like
- Palate: oak, fruity, cereal, perfumey, malty vegetal note, sweet, cinnamon
- Finish: pepper, oak, some rye spice, very light mint and dill.
- Overall Comments: impressed for a young spirit, very promising and looking forward to their actual whisky. Very bold choices on the barrels, and nice choice of blend proportions. We look forward to their future releases and whiskies, as their young spirit shows a ton of potential!
- Maison Sivó L’Essence due Rye
- Last Straw Distillery’s Darker Side of the Moonshine
- Park Distillery Glacier Rye
- Dixon’s Batch 3 Lightly Aged Rye
Some great promise in this category, and we encourage people to support these distilleries as they work to release full fledged whiskies in the near future!