Canadian Spirits

Review: River's End Gin (Wolfhead Distillery) by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of wolfhead distillery.

Image courtesy of wolfhead distillery.

ABV
43%
Aging
None
Recipe
N/A
Distiller Wolfhead (Amherstburg, Ontario)

This gin is made using a wheat spirit base. A number of botanicals are incorporated through vapour distillation with the spirit being distilled through a botanical basket that includes Italian juniper, coriander (from Canada and India), Moroccan orris root and grains of paradise, California grapefruit peel, Egyptian hibiscus, Haitian bitter orange peel, Chilean rose hips, Vietnamese star anise, Indonesian cinnamon, and Guatemalan cardamom. Now that’s a world tour!


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2021

  • Bottling Code: N/A

Immediately, you get the three classic pillars of gin – juniper, citrus, and spice – in full complement and playing off one another brilliantly. Underneath, there is a really nice berry character and the richness of the juniper is terrific. The brightness of the lemon has been captured really well, and the spice pops on the palate more than the nose – making this a perfect cocktail gin. It’s very clean throughout with a nice long bright, spicy finish. Anyone who reads my gin reviews knows that I really like juniper – so this one plays right up to my style.

The gin is quite scrumptious – it has a nice balance and an underlying sweetness that really plays well off the spice, citrus, and wood. It makes it very easy to sip….

Highly recommended.


Review: Wolfhead Vodka by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of wolfhead distillery.

Image courtesy of wolfhead distillery.

ABV
40%
Aging
None
Recipe
100% wheat
Distiller Wolfhead (Amherstburg, Ontario)

Wolfhead distillery makes this vodka from wheat, which tends to give vodkas a good mixture of sweetness and texture with a bit of a grainy bite. Once the wheat mash is fermented, it is distilled seven times to get a pure product.

I’ve done a lot of vodkas recently, which may surprise some - but, it’s mainly because I’ve had a pandemic discovery - I quite enjoy both vodka martinis and gin martinis if there is a good dry vermouth to use. And, pretty well, the better the vodka, the better the martini.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2021

  • Bottling Code: N/A

Very clean and slightly creamy with very subtle light blueberry, white pepper, almond, and a slight note of plaintain chips. There is a slight perception of sweetness on the nose. It is clean, light, and very smooth on the palate. The finish is clean, creamy, and maintains that slight perception of sweetness. Once the initial finish fades, everything brightens up slightly with some bean sprout notes.

Highly recommended.


Review: Barrel Aged Gateway Gin (Lone Pine Distilling) by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of lone pine distilling.

Image courtesy of lone pine distilling.

ABV
45%
Aging
Ex-bourbon cask
Recipe
Wheat and botanicals
Distiller Lone Pine Distilling (Edmonton, AB)

This gin is made by maturing Gateway Dry Gin, the rich and spicy flagship gin of Lone Pine Distilling, in ex-bourbon barrels for a few months.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2021

  • Bottling Code: N/A

Very spicy and citrusy coriander, a heavy juniper character, and big lemon. The barrel character is there, with vanilla and toffee – but it doesn’t dominate. On the palate it has a very calming influence on this full-bodied gin, with vanilla and a creamy character coming alongside the big spicy body of the gin. The finish has charred oak, lemon, juniper, and more coriander.

A nice barrel aged gin – barrel character has been added without dominating, keeping it firmly in the gin category for mixing and sipping.

Highly Recommended.


Review: Rocky Mountain Gin (Lone Pine Distilling) by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of lone pine distilling.

Image courtesy of lone pine distilling.

ABV
46%
Aging
None
Recipe
Wheat and botanicals
Distiller Lone Pine Distilling (Edmonton, AB)

This gin was created to evoke the wild landscape of the Rocky Mountains. Wild bergamot, wild mint, and roses all grow in the Rocky Mountains in Alberta. These were used, alongside juniper, goldenrod, lemon and lime peels, ginger, cardamom, cubeb berries, orris root and a few other botanicals.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2021

  • Bottling Code: N/A

The nose on this one is different than the other Lone Pine gins – this is brighter, lighter, and more floral. Juniper, rose, meadow flowers, and coriander lead into a gin body with a surprising dry fruit character alongside spice, sharp herbal notes, lemon, and a nice light spicy character at the end with a slightly drying finish. The citrus really comes out at the end.

I really like how this one surprised me with the dried fruit on the palate – it really works. Very nice movement – floral, then fruit, then citrus.

Highly Recommended.


Review: Earl Grey Gin (Lone Pine Distilling) by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of lone pine distilling.

Image courtesy of lone pine distilling.

ABV
43%
Aging
None
Recipe
Wheat and botanicals
Distiller Lone Pine Distilling (Edmonton, AB)

This gin is made by vapour infusing black tea and wild bergamot alongside more typical gin botanicals, including juniper, coriander, angelica root, orris root, grains of paradise and cinnamon. The vapour distillation process that lone pine uses keeps the botanicals separate from one another to extract the flavours separately before they mingle further up in the distillation column.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2021

  • Bottling Code: N/A

Rich, intense citrus on the nose but also with a very savoury, umami character that seems to tie the citrus to the woody notes. There is a light floral character and big spice characters too. The palate has lemon and an intense herbaceous character, similar and yet very different than bergamot. The cinnamon makes its presence felt. The finish is all earl grey tea, with a bit more citrus and pine.

Very intriguing gin. You don’t often see gins this herbaceous that pull it off. Very interesting to sip, and is the kind of gin I’d serve in the best of my gin cocktails.

Very Highly Recommended.