Review: Two Brewers Special Finishes Yukon Single Malt Canadian Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of Two Brewers, photographed by Michal Kostal.

Image courtesy of Two Brewers, photographed by Michal Kostal.

7-8 yrs in first cask, finished for about a year in finishing cask
100% Malted Barley - mostly pale malt
Distiller Two Brewers (Whitehorse, Yukon)

The abv above is because the first release was 46%, the second was 43%. Here we have the terrific Two Brewers single malt - but this time finished in a variety of different casks, depending on the release - they say they hope no two releases will be the same. It is worth noting that the finishing period here is longer than typical - most barrel finishes are quite short (more like an "infusion") as most of the liquid remaining in the finishing barrel is absorbed in 90 days or so. The amount of liquid soaked into a finishing barrel is significant - barrels have gallons of soaked liquid in them once they are finished maturation. Thus, most distilleries aren't doing a whole lot more in finishing than adding in another ingredient, in a way that passes as legal because it's soaked into a barrel. However, a longer finish means also that you get a bit of maturation from a second, different, barrel, which means it really is more of a finish. This year long period of finishing means we get to see some of the effect of that.

Review (2017)

  • Batch: Release 02
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2016

    Distilled in 2009 and finished in PX sherry barrels, 46% ABV.

    Very green, and interesting - unripe pear, unripe banana, unripe mango, black pepper, soy sauce, and some sweet grain. The palate brings in lots of pineapple, yellow ripe apple, and a decent strength leading into orchard fruit and light smoke on the finish.

    Score: 83/100

    Value: 56/100 (based on $75)

Review (2017)

  • Batch: Release 04
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2016

    Blended and finished in a bourbon barrel. 1440 bottles, at 43%.

    The nose is vibrant and fruity with exotic fruit – guava, soursop – with some mint, vanilla, dried peach, sweet potato, and malt-driven beer notes. The palate has a sweet, malty core on top, middle fruit notes with peach and apple – all with an earthy, nutty edge to it. The end of the palate and finish is very vegetal – arugula and spice, reminding me quite a bit of rye. The finish is clean, spicy, and creamy with light earthy smoke, peach, almonds, and dried papaya.

    This whisky is one with great texture, movement, and complexity – I highly recommend.

    Score: 90/100

    Value: 73/100 (based on $100)

Review (2018)

  • Batch: Release 09
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2017

Finished in European PX barrels.

The nose is full of dried fruits – but more „standard” fruits for a single malt – raisins, prunes, dried apricots. Very sherry driven, with dried orange peel, sherry spices, and oxidized wine playing key parts in the nose. We also have rich grain, in the two brewers style, but it is subdued. Horseradish, too!

The palate is a bit less dominated by sherry, with a strong malty core and a classic spicy, grainy finish. It is still loaded with dried fruit – though the tropical fruits come through, too. The finish has rancio, dried fruit, and a sharp herbal characteristic – thyme and basil. And the herbal grain character comes through, too – I love it.

This is a nice whisky, but I think the cask dominates too much – the fruity, complex and tropical character of two brewers is taken over by a sherry cask which loads the experience with dried fruits, spices, and rancio – still very good, but I don’t think the best pairing for Two Brewers.

Score: 85/100

Value: 49/100 (based on $100)