Review: Eau Claire Single Malt Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

First fill ex-bourbon and sherry hogsheads; 3-4 years old
100% Alberta Malted Barley
Distiller Eau Claire (Turner Valley, Alberta)

This whisky is the first release from Eau Claire, a distillery in Alberta which opened in 2014 and focuses hugely on Alberta Grain, specifically very local grains produced within 100 miles of the distillery. Moreover, the distillery itself has a stable of plough horses with a focus on the production of house-grown grain.

Review (2019)

  • Batch: 02

  • Bottling Date: 2019

  • Bottling Code: N/A

The nose is quite rich and grainy – pepper jelly, currants, roasted malts, white pepper, and mixed nuts all jump out of the glass. The spirit isn’t very heavy, and carries with it a very nice balance of fruit, spice, and grain. The palate has a rich set of caramels, milk chocolate, lightly roasted malt, toasted macadamias, spicy dry oak tannins, and clove. The finish is still full of dried fruit, toasted grain, and a touch of baking sweetbread. There is a real richness here, yet the spirit is quite clean and balanced. Very well done for a young single malt!

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher). This is a very pleasant surprise. I haven’t seen many young single malts that have been so refined in Canada. It actually reminds me a touch of Westland’s single malt – which is much oakier, nuttier, and deeper – but they share some similarities.

Value: Average. Toward the low end of my “average” category, but it isn’t “low” value even at $102, and certainly not in the context of craft single malt - which shows the quality of this stuff.