Canadian Whisky Masterclass - Food & Whisky Pairings by Jason Hambrey

Something I don’t talk about too much - for good reason! I don’t think food & whisky pairings work very well/often - with a few exceptions. None of these exceptions, however, match the pairing levels possible with beer and wine, in terms of enhancement of BOTH drink and food.

Honorable mention to chocolate or cigars with whisky. But, I thing beer and whisky is the closest to a great pairing, which even then, is not food & whisky (unless you are Ben Franklin).

Review: St. Laurent Rye Whisky by Jason Hambrey

3 Years
80% Rye, 20% Malted Barley
Distiller Distillerie du St. Laurent (Rimouski, QC)

The second whisky from Distillerie du St Laurent, and this one hits home - a batch of rye whisky that was 2/3 matured in virgin oak casks and 1/3 matured in ex-whisky casks (re-fill). I really liked what they did on their three grain whisky, so I’m quite curious about this one - especially as this one is all about rye. Currently only available in Quebec.

Review (2022)

  • Batch: 001

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2022

Nice grainy notes on the nose, full of spice and barrel tones. The grain notes are just terrific - like wet, flavourful cracked grain. The oak is there but is pretty well integrated into this pretty bold style. Caramel, custard, fennel, green wood, rye bread, vanilla, pine needles, wet earth, and dried apricot. Great nose!

The palate leads with spicy grain notes, this time closer to a spicy herbal character (arugula) compared to the baking spice on the nose, which plays a backseat here. There is a really nice thread of toffee in the middle. Woodiness is present too - both in sweet vanilla and creaminess but also, and notably, in a sharp fresh woodiness that complements the spicy rye very well.

The finish is great. Spicy, woody, fruity and dry. Dried fruit comes out, as does cinnamon, a bit of orange peel, tobacco, and a touch of cacao. Dense and layered.

A really nice, complex whisky - not often is a second whisky release so impressive at this age. Remarkable since bolder whiskies are hard to balance. It’ll get even better with some age, which will round out the flavours a bit more and give some depth- but this is great stuff now. This is one of the best ryes you can get from a small producer.

Highly Recommended (50% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Pretty decent stuff for $55!