Review: Okanagan Spirits Rye Canadian Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Okanagan Rye 1.jpg
3 yrs; ex-Jack Daniels barrels
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.

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

Value: Low at $90.