Lohin McKinnon

Review: Lohin McKinnon Bordeaux Finish Peated Single Malt Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
43%
Aging
Ex-bourbon and ex-Bordeaux wine casks
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Central City (Surrey, British Columbia)

This is a heavily peated malt (sourced from Baird's in Scotland), aged in ex-bourbon barrels and finished for 14 months in a Bordeaux wine cask.

On a side note, if you ever are able to go to Central City distillery and taste their new make peated spirit - it is quite good - very smoky and nutty. I was always surprised at how little smoke was in the aged malt, given the smokiness of the new make. It has made me wonder whether earlier batches were less smoky - this one, for sure, is smokier than the previous ones I’ve had.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2020

Peaty, smoky and intriguing. The whisky includes some notes I’ve never seen before – fried green onions! It’s a nice note – spicy, slightly vegetal, and sweet – and it works well with the sharp smoke. There is a lot else here too - spicy (like dried chilli) - but also green bell pepper (is that from the Bordeaux cask?). And we have the usual notes I get with Lohin Mckinnon - sweet potatoes and big barley notes. The palate is smoky and spicy, with white pepper and lots of dried fruit notes. Intriguing savoury notes like roasted celery root, with some lemon peel in there as well.. The smokiest lohin mckinnon that I’ve had (other than the new make).

The wine character is there, but it doesn’t dominate – the subtlety works well.

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

Value: Average, at $65 against the general whisky market. Pretty decent value for a peater.


Review: Lohin McKinnon Niagara Wine Barrel Finished Single Malt Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
43%
Aging
ex-bourbon barrels; wine barrel finish
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Central City (Surrey, British Columbia)

Another Lohin Mckinnon wine barrel finish, this time in wine casks from Niagara.


Review (2020)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2019

Lots of lychee on the nose, with an interesting earthy characteristic as well – sweet potatoes, jalapeno, raisins, and lots of interesting spice. Bright, juicy fruit too – mulberries, white grapes, grape soda, raspberry. Baking spices round the whole thing out, and it does well as it sits in the glass. The palate brings forth a nice maltiness and zestiness to accompany the bright fruit. Baking spices, red pepper jelly, dark chocolate, caramel, vanilla, honey, and more sweet potato – lots going on here. The finish brings in a bit of oxidized wine, clove, lavender soap, and lots more baking spice. A bit herbal, too.


Lots of complexity here. It still doesn’t quite come together as well as some of their other releases.


Value: Average, at $65.


Review: Lohin McKinnon Cacao Aged Single Malt Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
43%
Aging
ex-bourbon barrels; aged with cacao
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Central City (Surrey, British Columbia)

Now here is something interesting - this whisky was aged with cacao from Vancouver’s Thomas Haas cacao. Now- that is interesting! They already had a “chocolate malt” - which I quite liked - but there was no chocolate in there, just toasted malt! This, now, is closer to chocolate, given that cacao was used in the maturation.


Review (2020)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2019

The nose is rich with light vegetable notes, fruit notes, figs, and old milk chocolate.  Lots of rich oak character, indeed, lots of roasted notes and hot chocolate, and wunderbar, too. A nice woody, licorice edge too. Certainly a different variation on the typical Lohin Mckinnon – and it does a nice trick. The palate brings forth more chocolate, light sweetness, a nice herbal character, earthy characteristics, and a finish full of hot chocolate. Also some green pear, baking spice, cacao nibs, and verjus.


I wasn’t primed by the “cacao aged” (I reviewed this blind) but I still couldn’t get over the hot chocolate notes…

Recommended (82% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).
Value: Average, based on $65.


Review: Queensborough Omakese Japanese Style Gin by Jason Hambrey

Queensborough+Omakese+Japanese+Style+Gin.jpg
ABV
43%
Aging
None
Recipe
N/A
Distiller Central City (Surrey, British Columbia)

“Omakese” refers to “chef’s choice” in Japanese - and this is Central City’s choice for a different take on gin - it is distilled with sansho pepper, yuzu lemon, cherry blossoms and Japanese tea alongside more traditional gin botanicals. I quite like gins with sansho pepper - they add a nice spicy kick at the end which adds, both in sipping and mixing. This gin is quite different in style and even body (lighter) than the standard Queensborough gin.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2019

The nose has intriguing coastal notes – dried seaweed, rock pools – but also light floral notes, pepper, spice, and even some light woody notes like menthol or eucalyptus. Nice, rich tea notes. The palate is dry, rich, and has a very nice spicy character – with the building sansho pepper at the end and mixed, tannic teas in the middle. I quite like sansho pepper in my gin – it adds a real spicy richness. And as you keep drinking, the spicy character continues on and on…

Make sure that you have a full go at this, as the combination of the spice and the tannins from the tea make an incredible combination in the mouth with additional sips.

Assessment: Recommended.


Review: Queensborough Dry Gin by Jason Hambrey

Queensborough+Dry+Gin.jpg
ABV
43%
Aging
None
Recipe
N/A
Distiller Central City (Surrey, British Columbia)

This gin is made in a more traditional fashion, with juniper starring in the show - with Central City macerating the juniper rather than distilling through it to get a heavier juniper character (they also distill through other botanicals in a basket in the still). It is bottled at a higher than usual percent (43%) and uses Rocky Mountain juniper and spruce tips, among other botanicals.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2018

I quite like the juniper forward nature of this one – it is forward and rich. My own preference is to favour juniper and I like it more than many of the modern, lighter botanical (and not juniper) forward gins. But, some prefer the more modern, lighter style of gins. But I like this – rich and thick. Rich, woody, spicy, and citrus aromas on the nose lead into a palate with light vanilla, buttery spirit base, and light mixed spices including coriander and a hint of nutmeg. The finish is full of juniper, citrus, and a bit of lemon. I quite like this!

It is incredibly drinkable, and I like the clean yet heavy character of the gin. A nice find!

Assessment: Highly Recommended.