Review: Odd Society Powell Street Bourbon Style Canadian Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of Odd Society Spirits.

Image courtesy of Odd Society Spirits.

3 years; Virgin American Oak Barrels
75% Corn, 20% Rye, 5% Malted Barley
Distiller Odd Society (Vancouver, British Columbia)

This is the fourth brewery collaboration from Odd Society Spirits - a collaboration where the brewery does the mashing before the fermentation, distillation, and aging at odd society spirits. In this case, the mash was soured by adding acidulated malt (malt that has been subjected to a lactic acid fermentation after killing) before fermentation and distillation. Thus, it is similar in principle to a sour mash bourbon, but, of course, the process is different.

All the grains were sourced from BC, in accordance with the regulations of the BC Craft Distillery Certification. Particular attention in this case was paid to the corn, which came from the Okanagan valley.

As for the results of the collaboration - it sold out in one weekend!

Review (2019)

  • Batch: Powell Street Bourbon Style

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2021

The nose has a very nice bourbon-like character to it: the corn comes through quite well while being accented nicely with rye. The oak is quite dense, with tannins and vanilla quite present – and then we have fruits – fresh apple, apricot, but also stewed stone fruits and dried peach. There is a nice graininess, too – which I always like – a bit like a mixed whole-grain cereal like red river. With time (or water) the oak softens, and the nose evolves with the fruitiness, particularly, changing shape.

The palate showcases the sweetness of oak paired with the oily character of corn, finishing with a flourish of baking spice and dried flowers. There is dried fruit, light floral touches, and just a dash of spicy and grassy notes (like baby arugula). The oak is big, but balanced. A very nice release! My favourite whisky that I’ve had from Odd Society.

I think this is the best bourbon-imitation I’ve seen from a small Canadian producer to date. No wonder this sold out right away.

Highly Recommended (50% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average for the price, at $40/375 ml. Pretty impressive really – it’s very hard for small producers to compete against the bulk of the big producers on a cost basis. Suffice it to say I care a lot about value in my whiskies and I would buy this (if it were still available!)