Review: Glen Saanich Ancient Grains / by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of De Vine Spirits.

Image courtesy of De Vine Spirits.

~12 Months; New Quarter Casks
Organic Barley, Einkorn, Kamut, Spelt, and Emmer
Distiller De Vine Vineyards (Vancouver Island, British Columbia)

Last year De Vine Vineyards bought a farm to grow barley, and continues to develop whiskies which give homage to the impact of grain - much like Bruichladdich, where master distiller Ken Winchester apprenticed. This whisky is matured using new American oak quarter casks, and its youth allows the character of the distillate to come in without too much interferance from the cask.  There is malted barley in the mix, but otherwise the whisky is based on a combination of eirloom wheat- including einkorn (a wild wheat), kamut (khorasan wheat), spelt (dinkel wheat), and emmer (farro/hulled wheat). The grains are mostly from the northern Okanagan area.

Review (2017)

  • Batch: 2017

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

A rich nose laden with grain notes – lightly confectionary (icing sugar), toffee, red river cereal, granola, honey, vanilla, and baking macadamia cookies. This is doing exactly what I like from micro-producers – a unique whisky with a focus on terrific grain notes (and not a rough whisky, either!). The palate carries on all the honey and grain notes, with light pear, atop a rich, yet still light, toffee base.  The finish is a bit malty (like an English Bitter), with some maple and nougat. It’s nice at 45%, but I like to soften it with a touch of water – it really brings out all the notes.

You wouldn’t think this is so young, as with the other Glen Saanich spirits.

One of the few grain spirits under 3 years old that I would want to call a whisky...

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High. $80 is really not bad for this!