Canadian Whisky

Review: Stalk & Barrel Single Malt Canadian Whisky (Cask Strength) by Jason Hambrey

ABV
~62%
Aging
Ex-bourbon casks
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Still Waters (Concord, Ontario)

This is the cask strength version of the Stalk & Barrel single malt, available from their distillery. Quite similar in profile to their regular single malt, only this is, as expected, a bit punchier at cask strength.


Review (2014)

  • Batch: Cask 1
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date:  2013

This cask was filled December 1, 2009 (at 60.6%), into a new oak cask. On April 4, 2012 it was moved to cask 40 for finishing (first fill ex-bourbon). It was at 61.7% at this point. It was bottled April 16, 2013 (at 62.3%), producing 209 bottles. (As an aside, the still waters website has lots of cask information).

Nose: At times, unfortunately, there’s a bit of that nagging staleness with this one. I find this one has a bit more oak than the other expressions, and with that, more caramel and a bit more of a “stewed” character – the apple and pear seem to come in the form of apple or pear crumble, with notes of apricot and raspberry jam. Interestingly enough, though this one spent the least amount of time in a bourbon cask, I find the corn and bourbon notes the strongest in this one – but they still only play second fiddle. A bit of a bakery in here – banana bread, gingerbread, with a slight sour character a bit like the tartness of plum jam. And, I think, it’s a bit more earthy on the nose than the others.

Taste: I find the flavour is better at cask strength, I think – the vanilla, and creaminess come through more and it develops a bit better. On a continued tasting of this one, I noticed more bourbon and an earthy character that the others do not have. It’s quite rich, I find – which is nice, with all the dried and baked fruit notes and the nuttiness. But, there’s more corn here from the bourbon than elsewhere – and the earthiness seems to be springing out of that. Of the three, this one is the “darkest”, and heaviest, and I think I like it the most.

Finish: This one definitely has dried fruits (raisins and apricot) to a capacity none of the others do. There’s also vanilla in larger degree than I saw in either the nose or the palate, and even a bit of spearmint! And oak and apple come forth…amazing the oakiness here in a three year old whisky. The finish is much bigger in the cask strength expressions, I find, and this is the best of the lot.

Of the first three reviewed here, I think this is my favourite – though I might even say that cask 11 is more complex and cask 8 is a bit better balanced. Cask 1 is more woody, and, carries a nice earthy bourbon character to it that I really like. The fruitiness tends more towards dried rather than fresh or candied, which is also a component I like.

Score: 83/100

Value: 42/100 (based on $100)


Review (2014)

  • Batch: Cask 11
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2013

This cask was filled November 15, 2010 and bottled June 20, 2013 (3.6 yrs) at 62.3%.

Nose: Of the three, the fruit seems the freshest here – fresh apple, fresh banana – this one also has perhaps the most creamy texture of the three (though I wouldn’t call it that creamy) – and some of those banana notes start to morph into banana pudding if you stick to it. Some of the fruit is a bit candied – but still not as much as cask 8. Beneath it all, there’s a good bit of malt – I think it’s more noticeable than cask no. 1 but not as much as cask 8. Also, I think, it’s the nuttiest of the three – roasted cashews (primarily) and almonds (secondarily) are definitely in the mix, and from time to time I find myself thinking of nutella. And, as I mentioned the creaminess earlier – there are notes of a vanilla buttery-ness to this one too (this one has the most vanilla on the nose). And, breezing in and out of this one, from time to time, is some bourbon.

Taste: Sweeter, I think, than cask 1 – and has quite a complex and slightly less character, which is also longer. There’s more maltiness here than cask 1, and there’s a slight spicy nutmeg note, and a bit of dryness and the lightest touch of bitterness. The most vanilla of any of the palates is present here, and the nuttiness is very rich. It’s a bit lighter, fruitier, with a bit more malt character than cask 1. There is a bit of a candied fruit note, as seen from time to time on the nose, and some of the tannins in the oak effect quite a bit of “texture” to this palate.

Finish: A bit of sharp apple, I think, with a good kick of spice. also a bit of an effect similar to baking soda in feel, which is a bit unfortunate. However, it’s of decent body and..sure enough, once all else fades, you realize you are left with oak.

Conclusion: I think this one is a bit more malty, with a bit less caramel than cask 1. I think it is the most complex on the nose, and the fruit is just brilliant in this..altogether I find it is a whisky I am wanting more and more of.

Score: 83/100

Value: 42/100 (based on $100)


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A, 60.2% ABV
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2017

Complex. Banana, grassy spice, tea, oak, vanilla, marmalade, dried thyme, milk chocolate – expressive and very interesting. Creamy, spicy, fruity, grassy – what breadth, and what balance on a whisky with a beautiful, rich middle. The palate is rich, with brie, apples, oak, bean sprouts, snap peas, apple seeds – finishing with oak, tannins, spices, and more snap peas.  The herbal and brie notes are new to me – maybe I didn’t notice them, or maybe they are cask specific – but they are interesting!

These casks have been getting older, coming now up closer to 5 years than the original 3, and it's showing!

Score: 88/100

Value: 63/100 (based on $100)


Review: Stalk & Barrel Rye Canadian Whisky (Cask Strength) by Jason Hambrey

ABV
~60%
Aging
~3.5 yrs; Bourbon Barrels
Recipe
100% Rye (malted & unmalted)
Distiller Still Waters (Concord, Ontario)

This is the same rye as their 46% bottlings, except undiluted from the cask. I love their standard rye, so the cask strength offering is certainly also appealing!


Review (2016)

  • Batch: Cask 34, 61.4%
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2016

Some confectionary sweetness, pine, coconut, marshmallow, and a layer of complex spices and some nice spice. Dill pickle is prominent. On the palate – big and enveloping, with lots of oak, vanilla, dill, apple, and light bourbon notes and terrific tea notes. Finishes with marshmallows and rising spice. I really like this stuff. Terrific!

Score: 88/100

Value: 63/100 (based on $100)


Review (2016)

  • Batch: Cask 56, 60.2%
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2016

Anise candies, white pepper, mint, vanilla – quite sweet, in fact, on the nose. Oak, also, is present in greater quantity here. Some vegetal aromas like celery, too. Lightly earthy. Coconut. When diluted to 46%, it’s softer and more creamy and oaky than the two barrels I’ve tasted at 46%.

The palate is a lot softer than expected – but lots of spices still. The barrels I have tasted have been vibrant and spicy, so I figured this one would be that, only more amped up. Not so. Lots of cloves and cinnamon, black tea, and a bit of bubblegum too, which also comes through on the palate. It is young, but this is such quality distillate that it isn’t bad. Nice spice on the end too. Granny smith apples. Surprising amount of bubblegum. Some deep vegetable notes too…particularly on the finish. And honey, too.

Though I quite like it at cask strength, this one is not quite the quality of the previous two barrels I have tasted – not quite as complex. Still, however, terrific. I’m amazed, frankly – if someone were to tell me whether I would enjoy a 3 year old rye, matured in ex-bourbon barrels, at cask strength – I’d likely answer no. The distillate is just so terrific at Still Waters, though, that this one works out very well.

Score: 86/100

Value: 53/100 (based on $100)


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2017

Grassy spice, oak, long-brewed black tea, icing sugar, and sharp pepper.  The palate is big, full of caramel, light corn husk notes, blueberry, black tea, and a tangy, spicy character. The finish is big, with spices and sweetness doing a bit of a dance. Brilliant spices, and lots of douglas fir notes – I love it, as usual. I rated a cask strength single malt higher this year, but I still like this style more.

The fir/pine notes are amazing, along with the grassy spice and the tea notes. At times, they almost leech to a tropical fruit like lychee. It’s remarkable. This is one of the most special and unique ryes I’ve tasted, and, frankly, I’m fascinated (which doesn’t happen often with me and flavor!).

Score: 87/100

Value: 58/100 (based on $100)


Review: Stalk & Barrel Red Blend Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
43%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
Blend of Canadian Whiskies
Distiller Multiple (Canada)

The higher end blend from Still Waters, coming in at 43% and $40, containing more of their whisky relative to the sourced stuff.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2016

Vanilla, caramel pudding, apricot, pine, and a nice rye heart. Oh, and lots of milk chocolate – it’s quite impressive.  Vanilla wedding cake, lilacs, and light oak come in as well. With time – cookie batter, cinnamon, and lots of milk chocolate. The palate is creamy and clean, balancing well the spicy rye and the sweet oak. At times, youth is felt – but it is all coming from the terrific young Still Waters product which I still find so appealing.

Brilliant spices, complexity, and balance. I am partial to their rye, but this is still a very worthwhile whisky. What I like about all the new two blends from Still Waters is that the blends are different from what they have made in the past, but they are have the distinct Stalk & Barrel style, which is a good one.

Score: 85/100

Value: 80/100 (based on $40)


Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2017

Apple, apple juice, oak, lilac, and some toffee, oak, and grassy spice underneath. Lots of vanilla! The nose grows beautifully with time. The palate has a delicious, tangy and tannic structure on which apples, pears, grassy spice, clove, and vanilla sit. The finish fades out with gorgeous spices and light tea notes. Terrific!

Score: 84/100

Value: 77/100 (based on $40)


Review: Stalk & Barrel Blue Blend Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Stalk & Barrel Blue.jpg
ABV
40%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
Blend of Canadian Whiskies
Distiller Multiple (Canada)

Still Waters distillery recently released two new blends through the LCBO – a blue blend and a red blend which includes a blend of sourced whiskies and their own whiskies. I like the blends – they very much show their house style through the blends, which wasn’t seen in their original blend, 1+11. The names Blue and Red simply come from the names given to the candidate blends as they decided on their recipes. Notably, this whisky comes into the LCBO at a price of $33, meaning it is really the first micro distillery product in Canada able to come in close to $30 and compete with some of the lower priced big distillery products (which range up from $26 at the cheapest).


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2016

Some nice rye notes at the centre here, with brilliant tea, clove, and supported with light stone fruit, apple, oak, charred wood, and wooden pencil shavings. Again, the palate has nice rye at the centre and is still very clean – I say this because many products coming out of micro distilleries are not. Lightly creamy too, with some good vanilla, chocolate, and apricot on the palate. A bit watery in places - it seems something like a whisky with a terrific superstar (the rye) but no supporting cast. Light jasmine on the finish, alongside mixed nuts and the brilliant grassy spices that tend to come out of Still Waters distillery.

Terrific blending by the Still Waters fellows. They still haven’t made a whisky that has failed to engage me as a whisky lover.

As an aside, I like this, and it is sweet enough at the beginning of the palate but not quite enough on the end or finish for this. My solution is to add a drop of bourbon (or a sweet rye, but you don’t want to mask the brilliant rye notes already in here!), which does the trick beautifully as long as it’s not too much. I like something between 8-15% added, i.e., about ½ - 1 tsp of bourbon per oz, depending on the bourbon. It brings out some beautiful notes in the blend, actually.

Score: 82/100

Value: 75/100 (based on $33)


Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2017

Bright, creamy, with lots of oak. Rich, integrated fruit too. The palate is full of very creamy oak, vanilla, dried apricot, white pepper, and lightly drying spice on the end with a touch of molasses and drying oak.

Score: 83/100

Value: 77/100 (based on $33)


Review: North of 7 Canadian Whisky (North of 7 Distillery) by Jason Hambrey

   
  
 
  
    
  
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 Image copyright by North of 7 Distillery. Used with Permission.

Image copyright by North of 7 Distillery. Used with Permission.

ABV
45%
Aging
3 Years; Virgin Charred Oak
Recipe
51% Corn, 26% Wheat, 12% Rye, 12% Barley
Distiller North Of 7 (Ottawa, Ontario)

An Ottawa whisky (I am an Ottawa native, so I'm interested!) - made in a bourbon profile - largely corn, and matured in New Oak from a four grain mash bill. North of 7 was perhaps the last craft distillery to get a contract with Independent Stave Company - the renowned maker of barrels for renowned Kentucky Distillers like Buffalo Trace, Jim Beam, and Heaven Hill. Because of the whisky boom, they won't take any more clients! All that to say, North of 7 has some pretty good casks...


Review (2017)

  • Batch: Cask 1
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2017

The nose has a nice grainy base with lots of caramel and a grassiness reminiscent of spicy pot still Iriish whisky. Vanilla, anise, methol, sharp new oak, corn husks, butterscotch, cucumber, and lots of grain notes – wheat flour, nutty grain, polenta, and light grainy earthiness. Surprisingly wheaty – cream of wheat comes through quite clearly. The youth of the nose is present, with a bit of rawness on the otherwise pleasant and grain-forward nose. The palate is corn and oak forward, with a light caramel rumble before a spicy and grain-laden finish. The anise is present throughout, and the spicy finish is lightly creamy with butterscotch – for good effect. They emphasize their casks, from Independent Stave Company (who also supply Buffalo Trace, Heaven Hill, and most of the other successful distilleries in Kentucky) – and for good reason. These casks will treat this whisky well, given a few more years.

Based on the mash bill and how it is matured, you might be expecting a bourbon. It’s reminiscent of the style – but it’s not. Either it is simply not warm enough in Ottawa, or it needs more time – but that is of no matter. A thoroughly enjoyable whisky, this, and shows lots of potential as the years will add on.

Score: 84/100

Value: 61/100 (based on $60)


Review (2017)

  • Batch: Cask 2
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2017

Centred on grainy notes, reminiscent of spicy mixed grain porridge, yet still with quite a bit of orchard fruit – peach and pear. Wheat really comes out. Tangy, too – the light bits of menthol, pineapple, and oak that play in nicely. Maltesers, milk chocolate, vegetal cacao, and a touch of green cardamom too. The oak and the grain are both so rich with this one – nice…

Score: 84/100

Value: 61/100 (based on $60)


Review (2017)

  • Batch: Cask 3
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2017

This now has more prominent notes suggesting wheated bourbon, which I didn’t get in the previous cask. Corn, vanilla, confectioner’s sugar, grape, light floral rye, clove, pear, toasted hazlenuts, blanched almonds, green tea, and a grainy, porridge-like character. There’s a sharp yeasty note too.  It really has come on – it makes me quite interested to know what this will taste like at 6+ yrs. The palate is lightly sweet, with a toffee backdrop with the grainy notes, coconut, and ripe banana on top. The finish has prune, cacao, lots of nuts, clove, and other baking spice. Lightly earthy, too, on the finish – nice touch.

There are still a few off notes which I expect to get ironed out as it gets older – but coming along well! These also lift off as the bottle is open a bit.

Score: 85/100

Value: 66/100 (based on $60)


Review: Glen Saanich Canadian Single Malt by Jason Hambrey

 Image courtesy of De Vine Spirits.

Image courtesy of De Vine Spirits.

ABV
45%
Aging
18 Months; Quarter Ex-Bourbon Casks
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller De Vine Vineyards (Vancouver Island, British Columbia)

De Vine Vineyards recently put up a distillery and they started maturing single malt, with the first release making quite a splash with a Silver in the 2017 Canadian Whisky Awards and selling out quickly. Not yet a whisky, but they will be releasing 2 and then 3 year old version along with barrel finishes in time. However, they wanted to release a younger version to show the terroir and character of the whisky before the aging process adds and changes too much flavour.

This release was floor malted at the distillery by Mike Doehnel at Saanich, using local barley - the talk of malting on the web site is much more than just cheap talk. The bourbon barrels are sourced from Washington state.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: 2016
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2016

Pleasing and complex on the nose with lots of hay, apples, cherry pits, menthol, apricot crisp, cherry pits, and baking spices. The palate is sharp initially with the grain and fresh peaches, before oak, smoke, pepper, and vanilla pudding take over and command the finish. The movement is wonderful! The palate is brilliant, but the nose needs a bit of work - it’s still a bit “green” and young – but very worthwhile.

Score: 85/100

Value: 74/100 (based on $70)


Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2017

2 years old now; previous batch was 1.5 years old.

The nose is grainy, with dry spice and light apple coming through. Malty and minerally, almost like an English bitter made with that mineral-laden water. The palate is light, clean, with a growing rich malty character towards the end with rising spice and malt. Nice dried fruit with almost a bit of spice and gunpowder. The barley comes through beautifully – reminds me somewhat of Bruichladdich, no surprise given that the master distiller apprenticed there. The earthiness of the barley is brilliant.

Better than last year, but still waiting for what age will bring – a lot I expect. Rare to find such a young spirit so good.

Score: 85/100

Value: 74/100 (based on $70)


Review: Dillon's Three Oaks Rye Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
43%
Aging
3 yrs; New Ontario Oak, New American Oak, First Fill Bourbon
Recipe
100% Ontario Rye
Distiller Dillon's (Beamsville, Ontario)

Dillon’s splashed into the whisky market with a bang, immediately selling out of their two initial cask strength rye releases - and now they have released a new rye, at 43% in 500 ml bottles sold for $40. The whisky is made from 100% rye, 7 first fill bourbon barrels, 2 new american oak barrels, 1 new ontario oak barrel. The whisky was filled in 2013 and early 2014. Nice bottle, too. Dillon's often releases their whiskies in smaller bottles, which I like - it spreads out some good spirit and lets people taste it without having to lay out a lot of money.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: 1
  • Bottling Code: N/A (Bottle 2110)
  • Bottling Date: 2017

Bright and fruit forward – green apple, apple sauce, pear- with some coconut, vanilla, sesame,

grassy, spicy rye, celery. Lightly creamy. Yeast and the grain character are shown through lightly as well.  Despite the new oak, it must not be that heavy of a char because this is quite distillate forward rather than being heavily focused on charred wood. The palate is terrific: creamy toffee and green apple lead into waves of incredible toasted grain and spice flavours. And some juniper and arugula as well, adding great structure. Great movement. The finish is moderately light, and maintains is lightly sweet, balancing the grassy rye, arugula, toffee, oak, and orchard fruits. Very easy to drink!

Really nice stuff. I still think at 46% this would go just a bit farther, particularly on the finish. Some people are disapointed that it isn’t CS, but I’m happy with that choice as the elegance of the whisky is probably better shown at this strength.

Score: 88/100

Value: 82/100 (based on $60)


Review (2017)

  • Batch: 2
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2017

Develops beautifully. Apple juice, pineapple, fruit drops, again slowly developing to reveal very nice grain notes. Light rye bread, crusty brown bread, toffee, and pear. The palate carries all the fruit notes forward in terrific fashion alongside terrific rye bread notes and lots of spices and light arugula. The rye bready notes on the finish are terrific. Very nice!

Not quite as deep or as well integrated as batch 1, and doesn’t taste quite as mature, but still terrific and some of the best micro rye in Canada.

Score: 87/100

Value: 78/100 (based on $60)


Review: Hiram Walker Special Old Rye Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
40%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
N/A
Distiller Hiram Walker (Windsor, Ontario)

Review (2014)

  • Batch: N/A
  • Bottling Code: 040814A2135634
  • Bottling Date: 2014

Nose: It’s bold. Rye dominates, with flavours of light rye bread and lots of spice – clear cut cinnamon and a bit of clove. There’s a touch of fruitiness – apples and a touch of orange which seems to lend itself to some slight acidity. There’s some toasted oak as well, andI also get some hints of cola and toffee as well. The nose develops, and opens up, and sure enough bourbon and oak notes start to appear. A slight sour bitterness comes in too, which is interesting, but not really an element which I think helps with the nose. The spices are wonderful, I have to say, and it is a brilliant development as it sits.

Taste: This one goes down easy! It’s quite a fascinating mix – it’s a bit sour, with lots of spices but not much heat in the mouth, and then some nice oak and brilliant spices to finish off the taste. It has very nice balance and a perfect amount of sweetness for easy sipping. There’s also some dry and grassy rye in there, carried by some caramel. It has some rye bread notes as well, but light rye rather than dark rye. There’s some great oaky vanilla as well, with some bourbon notes, and I notice them more as I sip more.

Finish: Slightly drying finish, with some caramel, a touch of slightly bitter oak (but not too much), a touch of apple, some dark chocolate, some light rye, and then waves and waves of cinnamon and pepper. The tannins pucker up the mouth a bit, which is something I always enjoy in a finish. The cinnamon and spice are brilliant, and the finish is quite long.

I really like the way the spice is incorporated and its bold character. And the price...It’s sad, but perhaps true, that this whisky might be more well known if it were better packaged and cost more.

Score: 84/100

Value: 84/100 (based on $26)


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2014

I always enjoy coming back to this one.

Buttery, nutty, candied – lots of chewy toffee, caramel, oak, malt loaf, raisins, with an oily and buttery base. The palate is full of flavor, with lots of bread and spicecake notes. The finish has toffee, with big and drying spice notes.

Score: 82/100

Value: 78/100 (based on $26)


Review: J.P. Wiser's Old Fashioned Whisky Cocktail by Jason Hambrey

J.P. Wiser's Old Fashioned (2).jpg
ABV
35%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
Canadian Whisky, Water, Sugar, Orange Essence, and Natural Flavours
Distiller Hiram Walker (Windsor, Ontario)

Old Fashioned are perhaps the simplest well known whisky cocktail - a blend of whisky, sugar, bitters, and typically garnished with citrus peel - often made with bourbon or rye as the base. Following BarChef and Still Waters brilliant bottled old fashioned in Ontario, J.P. Wiser's stepped up to the game by blending whisky with orange essence and natural flavor (which includes spices/bitters, based on the taste). It is simple - just pour over ice, perhaps with a citrus peel garnish. It needs some ice, warm and undiluted it isn't balanced and is too sweet - but hits the spot with a nice chunk of ice.


Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A
  • Bottling Code: L18150 - AW2016 54SL24
  • Bottling Date: 2018

Spicy, citrusy, and lightly sweet - full of orange and spices - clove and a big kick of cinnamon. Light oak, vanilla, and light Canadian whisky spices hold the whisky together between the vibrant orange and the tingling spices. The finish is a battle between cinnamon and orange. Really nice on a hot day (of which we are having many in Ottawa these days!). This fits really well alongside in your beer cooler during a BBQ. Also, this goes quite nicely alongside a hefeweizen....

I can't help but compare. The BarChef project produced a cocktail which you could serve in a high end cocktail bar, but this is more your standard bar old fashioned (and it's better than many I've had in bars!). But, to that effect, it comes in at a nifty $30, 60% of the price of the BarChef project.


Review: Okanagan Spirits Rye Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Okanagan Rye 1.jpg
ABV
40%
Aging
3 yrs; ex-Jack Daniels barrels
Recipe
51% Rye, 49% Malted Barley
Distiller Okanagan Spirits (Kelowna, British Columbia)

Okanagan spirits is huge – one of the largest and oldest micro distilleries in Canada. Much of their produce is focused on fruity brandies, etc. – after all the okanagan valley is full of fruit. However, beyond their Laird of Fintray single malt you can also find their bourbon style (although not really that bourbon-style, more like a corn mashbill whisky) and their rye whisky.  It is suspiciously dark for whisky aged in ex-bourbon barrels.


Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A
  • Bottling Code: L331 15 10:51
  • Bottling Date: ~2017

Rather interesting on the nose. Despite claiming to be ex-bourbon for three years, this seems a bit too oak-heavy to not have new oak in it. However, maybe they added colouring and have a really clean distillate.

Lots of rye on the nose, and lots of roasted grain notes. The barley malt comes through, quite beautifully. Rye bread, apples, light floral notes (fruit blossoms), some clove, pine, mint, hay, caramel and brown sugar. At first I didn’t enjoy the whisky as much, but it does well in the bottle and the nose and palate improved. The palate has brown sugar, confectioners sugar, sharp rye spice (clove), a light floral note (lilac), and finishing with some green wood. The grains taste almost as if they are roasted, and we are still grain heavy here (which is nice). However, it’s quite sharp – not like a creamy porridge and more like a multigrain bread. Light orchard fruit, too. The finish is light with a touch of molasses, clove, crystal malt, and more green wood. I’ve enjoyed it more as I’ve sipped more of it.

Score: 83/100

Value: 44/100 (based on $89)