Last year, one of the highlights of the TWS Whisky Awards was the opportunity to try some under-aged spirits from Canadian distilleries across the country. We decided to continue this category so our followers could follow the progress of young distilleries as their barrels age!
The bottles are listed in the order we tasted them. We tasted them all blind, and our notes and the choices for best-in category/runner-up were made before the identities of the bottles were revealed.
Compass Distillers “Bourbon Style” Barrel #13 – 42%
Compass opened their doors in Halifax back in 2017, and this bourbon-style mash came to us at 8 months old, pulled from the barrel by Ezra, the master distiller.
- Nose. Ethanol, light fruit, cedar, vegetal, soy
- Palate. Young wood, acetone, spice, clove, varnish, pepper
- Finish. Varnish, pepper, apple
Overall thoughts: still has many youthful notes to it and needs more time, but potential is there.
Black Fox Farm & Distillery 100% Oat Spirit – 50%
The first of two barrel samples sent by Black Fox, this oat spirit has been in the virgin oak for 2 years, and we believe will be the first Canadian 100% Oat whisky when it hits its 3rd birthday.
- Nose. Caramel, green apple, wheat, cereal, coniferous wood, orange
- Palate. Banana, caramel, plantain, sweet, orange zest, light young wood
- Finish. Bitter, orange rind, hot and some acetone
Overall thoughts: this is something you’d buy from your local craft distillery to support their efforts, and then be pleasantly surprised by when you crack it open.
Black Fox Farm & Distillery 100% Wheat Spirit – 50%
This is an older version of the 1 year old we received from Black Fox last year, which was included in our Cask Strength category. Aged in virgin oak and this time proofed down to 50%, we were interested to see how this had developed.
- Nose. Cereal, cream soda, creamed corn, vegetal, sweet nose, young woodiness, cedar
- Palate. Cedar, icing sugar, young wood, spice, pepper, vegetal earthiness,
- Finish. Long, spice, young wood, bitter
Overall thoughts: lots of potential and good depth of flavor, but still tastes a little young.
Victoria Caledonian Mac na Braiche Single Malt Spirit – 50%
We tasted this at 140 days old at an event last year, and were excited to see how it had developed. It’s now over a year old and aged in their STR casks on Vancouver Island.
- Nose. Acetone, fruit, cereal, yeast, distillers spent grains,
- Palate. Rich spice, ginger, young wood, but not as young, vegetal, light honey, maple, berry, pancake
- Finish. Long, spice, malt
Overall thoughts: Some nice depth here with a really good finish.
Best in Category: Black Fox 100% Oat Spirit
Runner-up: Victoria Caledonian Single Malt Spirit
From Halifax all the way to Vancouver Island, there are some great spirits aging in Canada right now! Makes sense that many of these are single grain offerings, as typically blending happens after aging in Canadian whisky. We hope to see lots of single grain offerings coming to market once these hit 3 years old!