Review: Pemberton Valley Single Malt / by Jason Hambrey

Depends on Cask
100% Organic Malted Barley
Distillery Pemberton Distillery (Pemberton, BC)

This whisky is presented beautifully, a perfect craft presentation, I would say - cask, bottle, materials, distill date, bottling date, and the distiller. The whisky is pot-distilled, and aged in a full size bourbon barrel. I’ve had two casks of these, and they were very different - one 3 years old and one 8 years old.

Review (2015)

  • Batch: Cask 1 (3 years old)

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2015

Lots of cherry - cherry pits, cherry liqueur, cherry beer - fighting some oily grain. Grassy, herbal, and spicy underneath it all as well, with linseed oil and nectarines adding complexity to the mix. On the palate, some apples come into the mix with some buttery oak as well emerging to some light sour spice on the finish. Cherries stay in the mix throughout.

Value: Low, at $90. It hasn’t come together and even at a much lower price I wouldn’t buy this.

Review (2018)

  • Batch: Cask 3 (44.2%), 8 years old

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2018

This is made from organic pale malted barley and 4% peated malt, matured in an ex-bourbon barrel. This is aged 8 years, so it’s quite a step from the whisky reviewed above.

The nose is sharp, grainy and interesting – pear, oak, toasted grain, caramel, dried apricot, soba noodles, and hay. The grain is very rich in character on the nose – this has come leaps and bounds beyond what I tasted 3 and 4 years ago! There are some really nice barley aromas here – spice, rich earthiness, pine, and a bit of broccoli. A relatively dry nose too – very good.

The palate is rich, spicy, and grainy with a nice mouthfeel and a nice mix of spice notes, vegetal notes, and caramel. The finish is dry, carrying on with pear, dried apricot, white pepper, a touch of grapefruit zest, almonds, and a bit more fresh broccoli.

This certainly shows what time in a barrel can do!

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher). This is very unique stuff that has come together quite nicely. Most single malts from small distillers in Canada go the fruity route, this is more towards spicy and earthy – which I quite like. I quite enjoyed this!

Value: Average. About what you’d like to expect if you are spending $82.