Dillon's

Review: Dillon's Three Oaks Rye Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
43%
Aging
3 yrs; New Ontario Oak, New American Oak, First Fill Bourbon
Recipe
100% Ontario Rye
Distiller Dillon's (Beamsville, Ontario)

Dillon’s splashed into the whisky market with a bang, immediately selling out of their two initial cask strength rye releases - and now they have released a new rye, at 43% in 500 ml bottles sold for $40. The whisky is made from 100% rye, 7 first fill bourbon barrels, 2 new american oak barrels, 1 new ontario oak barrel. The whisky was filled in 2013 and early 2014. Nice bottle, too. Dillon's often releases their whiskies in smaller bottles, which I like - it spreads out some good spirit and lets people taste it without having to lay out a lot of money.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: 1

  • Bottling Code: N/A (Bottle 2110)

  • Bottling Date: 2017

Bright and fruit forward – green apple, apple sauce, pear- with some coconut, vanilla, sesame,

grassy, spicy rye, celery. Lightly creamy. Yeast and the grain character are shown through lightly as well.  Despite the new oak, it must not be that heavy of a char because this is quite distillate forward rather than being heavily focused on charred wood. The palate is terrific: creamy toffee and green apple lead into waves of incredible toasted grain and spice flavours. And some juniper and arugula as well, adding great structure. Great movement. The finish is moderately light, and maintains is lightly sweet, balancing the grassy rye, arugula, toffee, oak, and orchard fruits. Very easy to drink!

Really nice stuff. I still think at 46% this would go just a bit farther, particularly on the finish. Some people are disapointed that it isn’t CS, but I’m happy with that choice as the elegance of the whisky is probably better shown at this strength.

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

Value: High, for $60.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: 2

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

Develops beautifully. Apple juice, pineapple, fruit drops, again slowly developing to reveal very nice grain notes. Light rye bread, crusty brown bread, toffee, and pear. The palate carries all the fruit notes forward in terrific fashion alongside terrific rye bread notes and lots of spices and light arugula. The rye bready notes on the finish are terrific. Very nice!

Not quite as deep or as well integrated as batch 1, and doesn’t taste quite as mature, but still terrific and some of the best micro rye in Canada.

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

Value: High, for $60. It is just on the edge, though, this could nearly be in the average category.


Review: Dillon's Rose Gin Liquer by Jason Hambrey

Dillon's Rose Gin 1.jpg
ABV
35%
Aging
None
Recipe
Made from 7 botanicals
Distiller Dillon's (Beamsville, ON)

Dillon's uses a dry gin base, but adds in rosehips and rosepetals and sweetens the spirit gently. Rose and gin are natural partners, so why not?


Review (2018)

  • Batch: 34
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: ~2018

Rich rose – rose bushes, petals, rosehip tea – but also conjuring up fresh vegetable notes like cucumber. Quite focused on the rose but the spirit underneath is spicy and subtle, adding light woodiness and spice. The palate is quite sweet, starting and ending with rose – first rosehips, then rose petals, then lots of black tea (orange pekoe). There is a light spicy character to this, and lightly woody – but largely the gin character is hidden and this is much more like a spicy rose liquer (and I say that with respect). Tannins come out very nicely on the finish with spices like clove and white pepper. Terrific sping and summer sipping with some ice (or in cocktails).

As much as I like this gin, I’ve made better rose gins through my own careful infusions...so, if you are the creative type, there is more to discover here...

Assessment: Highly Recommended.


Review: Dillon's Unfiltered Gin 22 by Jason Hambrey

Dillon's Unfiltered 22 2.jpg
ABV
40%
Aging
None
Recipe
Made from 22 botanicals; niagara grape base
Distiller Dillon's (Beamsville, ON)

Dillon's other main gin, alongside the terrific Dry Gin 7, is this unfiltered gin made with 22 botanicals from a niagara grape base. It is quite a bit different than the Dry Gin 7, but another terrific gin which I would use in different cocktails - Dillon's really has a good cocktail game going.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: 77
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: ~2018

Dense, rich, fruity and spicy. A great gin. What I love about Dillon’s gins is not only that the botanicals and spices are great, but the underlying spirit itself is terrific. Sharp grape, cinnamon, soapy coriander, clove, rich bark...a terrific nose. The palate is spicy and fruity, with some of the spices coming through in the background but revealing rich dried flower notes and a nice woody finish, still vibrant with citrus and spice. Mildy sweet throughout – balanced.  Quite a bit different than their Dry Gin 7, which has a rye base and isn’t quite as complex botanically (but is more in terms of spirit). I usually reach for the simplicity and depth of the Dry Gin 7 more, but I actually objectively find this a better more complex and integrated spirit (indeed, one of the best gins I’ve tasted). Between which of the two is more desirable, it is likely it is a matter of preference. This is more complex, and much richer and fruitier. In terms of mixing between the two, they both would be for different kinds of cocktails – clean and deep would be gin 7, but in a cocktail where gin can get lost and needs to add complexity and richness, gin 22 is your mixer. A great portfolio of gins from Dillon’s.

However, I’ve rarely, if ever, seen a more big, complex, and integrated gin. This is one of the best all-time, for straight sipping. I choose Dry Gin 7 more often, but this is more complex and better. A stunner in blind tastings.

Assessment: Exceptional.


Review: Dillon's Dry Gin 7 by Jason Hambrey

Dillon's Gin 7.jpg
ABV
44.8%
Aging
None
Recipe
Made from 7 botanicals
Distiller Dillon's (Beamsville, ON)

This is Dillon's basic gin - made with 7 botanicals made with a rye base, bottled at a high ABV for a gin. They also make a 22 botanical, unfiltered gin. Dillon's has become known because of their high grade cocktail products, and this does not disappoint...


Review (2017)

  • Batch: 18

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

A rye gin! This is very nice...juniper is at the center, with coriander, cumin, cedar, orange peel, licorice root, lavender, and a slight sweetness at the end. The feel is nice, development is nice, and the finish carries the spices centrally. Gorgeous gin, terrific mixer, clean, simple, complex – the underlying earthy tones give it a great base. The rye base underneath comes through with great fruitiness and spice, even a bit of creaminess. Great from nose to finish – very nicely balanced.

Assessment: Very Highly Recommended.


Review: Dillon's Rye Canadian Whisky (Cask Strength) by Jason Hambrey

Dillon's CS Rye 1.jpg
ABV
59.0%
Aging
41 months; New Ontario Oak
Recipe
90% Unmalted Rye, 10% Malted Rye
Distiller Dillon's (Beamsville, Ontario)

This whisky was Dillon's first whisky release, bursting to the scene in 200 ml bottles full of rich cask strength rye whiskies, selling out right away. The beamsville distiller has since released a Three Oaks rye and other whiskies, but this is where it began (arguably, some might say it began with the gin, and perhaps rightly so). It's nice that they released it in nicely packaged 200 ml bottles so that people could try it - I always like this.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: Cask 02 (barreled Feb 2013)

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2/8/2016

A big, fruity nose with plum, rye porridge, hard pear (i.e. the sharp scent more than the honeyed scent), caramel, apples, peaches, and candied cherries. The palate is big and creamy, with honeyed notes coming in to complement the peaches and the grain. It is quite grain centric, and it is broad rather than sharp in that sense. The finish is full of more honey, steel cut oats, oak, and toasted fennel.

It doesn’t have the complexity or depth of Dillon’s Three Oaks rye, but this is big and pleasing.

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

Value: Low. $113/750 ml…