The second category in this year’s TWS Whisky Awards are the Single Grains, which include ryes, wheat, and other prairie grains. This year we received 8 bottles for this category, and evaluated them in the following random order:
Stalk & Barrel 100% Rye: A 3 year old 100% Ontario rye whisky bottled at 46% with no colour or chill filtration.
Black Fox Distillery 100% Triticale: This single barrel whisky was distilled in Sept 2015 and bottled at 48% ABV in April 2019. It’s aged in virgin American oak, is natural colour with no chill filtration, and is not a commercial release in Canada…yet.
Shelter Point Single Cask Release Rye: A single cask sourced rye aged in american oak, non chill filtered and bottled at 59.7% ABV.
Lot No. 40: A mainstay in the Canadian rye scene, this 100% unmalted rye is distilled once in a column and then a second time in a copper pot. It’s aged in virgin American oak and bottled at 43% ABV.
Black Fox Distillery 100% Wheat: Another single grain single cask from Black Fox, this one is 100% Canadian wheat aged in virgin American oak and also bottled at 48% ABV. This whisky is about 3.5 years old and not yet commercially available in Canada.
Kinsip House of Fine Spirits Cooper’s Revival Rye: This rye is aged in ex-wine casks re-coopered on site, and it was the first new whisky release from Kinsip in Prince Edward County. It’s bottled at 43% ABV.
Odd Society Spirits Prospector Rye: This is made from 100% BC rye aged in new heavily charred American oak casks. It’s bottled at 46% ABV.
Black Fox Distillery 100% Oat: The final single grain from Black Fox is their 3.5 year old 100% oat whisky. Like the others, it was aged in new American oak and bottled at 48% without colouring or chill filtration. This one is also not yet commercially released.
Honourable Mention: Black Fox Spirits 100% Wheat Whisky
- Nose: fruity, caramel, banana bread, oak, apricot
- Palate: spicy, fruit, banana bread, oak spice, cinnamon, slightly bitter
- Finish: spice, banana, oak
- Why it won: The banana bread note was unique and presented a delicious consistency from start to finish. This spirit impressed as an under-aged cask strength release 2 years ago, so we weren’t surprised when it was a consensus winner in this year’s edition.
Runner-Up: Black Fox Spirits 100% Triticale Whisky
- Nose: sweet, chocolate, oak, citrus, chili
- Palate: some young wood, spice, pepper, oak, mint, herbal, clove
- Finish: woody, spices, youthful
- Why it won: This was a spice bomb with some incredible distinct and unique notes. It is youthful still, but we’re confident this could be in the upper echelons of Canadian whisky given a bit more time!
Best in Category: Shelter Point Single Cask Rye
- Nose: sweet, caramel, almost some corn character, spice
- Palate: sweet, grainy, spice, lightly bitter oak, caramel, hot, youthful but tons of flavour, dried fruit
- Finish: long, spicy, just doesn’t go away
- Why it won: This rye balanced spicy, bitter and sweet notes beautifully and wouldn’t die on the finish. It was the unanimous winner of the category for 2019. It’s too bad there are only about 200 bottles of this available!
A hearty congratulations to our winners, and a huge thank you to everyone who participated!
We were particularly impressed at the quality from many of the newer smaller distilleries around the country, most particularly Black Fox. We look forward to seeing their novel single grain experiments come to life in the near future!
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