Distillery Spotlight: Persian Empire Distillery

If you asked people what they pictured when you say Persian Empire Distillery, they probably won’t picture a craft distillery in Peterborough, Ontario – one of the first in Canada to open its doors in nearly 40 years! Since 2006, Bruce Khabbazi has been producing spirits of both european and middle-eastern heritage, and recently expanded to a new facility that shoudl more than triple their output.

My visit was short, but in that time I was able to learn some interesting facts about their production process and spirits:

  • They have two sets of hybrid German stills, and tend to distill to 85-90% ABV
  • Their middle eastern spirits are primarily sold to the on-premise & bar markets
  • They age all of their whisky in virgin oak and barrel it at 65.5% ABV
  • They’ve produced straight ryes, single malts, brandies and white spirits

The barrel sample of the young rye I tried was very spicy with an interesting popcorn/butter note that should make for an interesting rye in a couple more years.

I sampled the single malt in the tasting room and got the following notes. It was an interesting and unique malt that doesn’t conform to the expectations of a typical single malt:

  • Nose: orange, grain, nutty, fairly muted (likely due to glassware)
  • Palate: very unique. doesn’t really taste like a malt and seems like it might have botanicals in it. very floral and perfumey. very light oak
  • Finish: short and perfumey again.

I then tried some of the middle eastern spirits they had available. Saggi is distilled like grappa from sultana raisins and had a very earth and dark fruit character. Fenni is distilled from Cashew apples and was incredibly interesting and almost musty.


I highly recommend anyone travelling near Peterborough to drop in and try some of these unique spirits. Mixologists in particular will likely find some of these less common spirits of interest for use in cocktails!


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