Review: Shelter Point Smoke & Oak Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Smoked Ex-Bourbon Barrel
Canadian Matled and Unmalted Barley
Distiller Shelter Point (Vancouver Island, British Columbia)

Now here is something quite unique. The whisky began with a mixture of double distilled and triple distilled whiskies, made from malted and unmalted barley.

This whisky was finished in a barrel that was smoked at a low temperature using apple wood from the Shelter Point farm and seaweed from the ocean for 8 hours. While it is commonplace to smoke the grains that are used to make whisky, this is the first time I’ve heard of a smoked barrel! A “finish” on a “finish”?

Review (2021)

  • Batch: 1

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2021

This is definitely on the unique side of whisky – in fact, some of the woodiness and spiciness reminds me of a gin! The smoke character is there but it doesn’t dominate like some other whiskies – and, in fact, the applewood character of the smoke comes through with a sweet, fruity smoke character. There is also marmalade, barley flour, brown cardamom, applesauce, and stewed peaches. The palate follows in the character – big fresh and stewed fruit, with a backbone of smoke and a rich umami character. The finish is quite smoky and spicy – tobacco spice, baking spice, and a touch of pepper too.

Not that most people will do this, but it works pretty well in a complex whisky sour. Provided you use fresh lemon juice and you have a bottle, it’s worth at least one go.

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

Value: Lower end of average at $68.