Review: Summer Breeze Pastis (North of 7 Distillery) / by Jason Hambrey

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

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

Distiller North Of 7 (Ottawa, Ontario)

Micro-distilleries often produce some rather unique, tailored products - and here is a new one from Ottawa, a pastis., which is a licorice flavoured whisky commonly consumed in France with water. Like absinthe, you typically get a “louche” which is a cloudy appearance when you add water due to substances which are soluble in alcohol but not water (and as you add water, there is less alchol to dissolve the substances - hence the precipitation and cloudy appearance.

My experience with pastis is limited to the few major brands which make it over to Canada, so I was eager to see this as I haven’t explored much of the spirit - and because the quality surprised me.

Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2019

The nose, of course, is full of star anise - but what I love about this is the complexity of the other elements surrounding it - grapefruit, cinnamon, clove - these fit in so well with the star anise. Without adding any water, the entire nose is intense and powerful - and quite attractive.

The palate follows the nose, but there is a really nice spicy influence balanced with the sweet anise and the sharp citrus. I am by no means a pastis connoisseur, but this is a significant step up from Ricard! The balance of the spices and citrus with the star anise is just perfect. Long, spicy finish. It’s good with water, but also quite nice at the 45.5%.

If you add water, you get a nice louche, but it isn’t the green character rather you have a more natural spicy brown.

Assessment: Highly recommended - if you like licorice. If you don’t, you won’t like this…