Review: Mac Na Braiche Canadian Single Malt Spirit / by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of Victoria Caledonian Distillery.
~18 months; Re-Toasted Red Wine Casks
100% Malted Barley
Producer Victoria Caledonian (Victoria, British Columbia)

This new make is often spoken about, in part because it is often shared, and tastes good young. It is the product of Diageo master distiller Mike Nicholson and Graeme Macaloney, matured in re-toasted red wine barriques - a mark of the well-known whisky legend Jim Swan who consulted for Victoria Caledonian. Not a whisky yet, but coming along!

Review (2018)

  • Batch: Cask 25

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2018

Lots going on in the nose here – fruity, wine-like aromas, vanilla, beeswax, caramel and oak. I would say that the prominent orchard fruit is at the centre, but there is lots else going on. It actually has a tangy and earthy aroma very reminiscent of Shelter Point. Lots of soft fruit open with time. With time, the layers peel back and you see more and more of the barley – it’s a nice evolution.

The palate is full of freshly charred wood, dried fruit you often encountered with wine-finished whiskies, toffee, cinnamon, and lots of jam – apple, quine, peach, black currant. The finish is nice – balsamic reduction, clove, prunes, vanilla, peach jam, barley, and light earth. It’s rich and full – but still a bit brash and would come together much more nicely with some age, particularly as it is a bit heavy at times (but...heavy malts are nice too). That being said, for its age, very well done. I do love the spice and dried fruit integrated in here. Nice end of the day malt.

It is on its way to something quite nice.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low, for $90. But with age, it won’t be far from a better value category.