Rye

Review: Sivo Rebel Le Moonshine Du Rye by Jason Hambrey

Sivo+Rebel+Moonshine.jpg
ABV
42%
Aging
None
Recipe
2/3 Quebec Rye, 1/3 Malted Barley
Distiller Maison Sivo (Montérégie, Quebec)

Janos Sivo, the founder of Maison Sivo comes originally from Hungary where Palinka - clear white brandy - rules as the national drink. He told me that he has been incredibly impressed with rye as he has worked with it, even right off the still before it enters into a barrel. As a result, he releases his unaged rye spirit - a mixture of rye and single malt new make - to show off the spirit. It is available at the SAQ in Quebec.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2018

The nose is grainy, spicy, and sweet. It’s very fruity, with touches of floral notes too. Lots of berries! The complexity of rye is on full display. The palate is light, quite herbal, and spicy. The sweet grain character of the spirit rises towards a lightly hot finish with a light roughness and dryness.

Very characteristic of Sivo. Fairly clean overall. It’s not one I’d reach for to sip, but I find new makes so interesting in understanding what maturation does to a whisky. If you are curious to try new make whisky spirit, and haven’t, this one is decently priced at $25/500 ml.

With ice, it has a soft grainy front and is fairly sweet.


Review: Fils Du Roy Appalachia New Brunswick Canadian Rye Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
40%
Aging
2.5 yrs Ex-bourbon; .5 yrs Virgin Oak
Recipe
60% Malted Barley, 40% Malted Rye
Distiller Fils du Roy (Petit-Paquetville, New Brunswick)

The first rye from Fils du Roy - a fantastic distillery - so I’ve been looking forward to a taste for some time! This is produced using a low temperature fermentation and distillation only of the liquid components of the wash (i.e. no solids). This is matured in a combination of ex-bourbon and char #3 virgin oak. Three barrels were released in 2018, yielding 1000 bottles. There is more coming in 2020, but the focus at Fils du Roy is single malt so it is relatively limited.

However, of interest is that Fils du Roy is preparing some maltings to peat their own rye with New Brunswick peat. A 30 acre field of rye has already been earmarked for the project this fall.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2018

Lots of grain, with a thick, almost porridge-like grainy characteristic – it’s quite nice. This is balanced against a clean, light oak and mixed orchard fruit. Broad, pleasant, and interesting on the palate with a rich grainy character with a nice touch of dried citrus peel in the middle. This is quite impressive, and a step above the other stuff that Fils Du Roy has produced. It’s full in flavour and balanced, and it really has a nice middle to it.

There is some nice rye spice to it, over and above what is present in their single malt – but it still has a lot of the richness which is present in a lot of Fils du Roy whiskies.

This whisky was tied for my 20th favourite whisky (of well over 100) in the 2019 Canadian Whisky Awards, tied with whiskies like Lot no. 40 (which isn’t what it used to be, mind you). That says something.

Highly Recommended (49% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: N/A. I’m not sure what this costs. I’d see if you can try before you buy and form your own opinion on if it’s worth purchasing!


Review: 100 Bushels Single Malt Rye Whisky (Sperling Silver Distillery) by Jason Hambrey

ABV
40%
Aging
Ex-bourbon barrels
Recipe
100% Malted Rye
Distiller Sperling Silver Distillery (Regina, Saskatchewan)

Here, another malted rye - this time a whisky - from Saskatchewan’s Sperling Silver Distillery.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2018

Bright, fruity, and sharp – very bright. Apple, pear, beeswax, bubblegum, red twizzlers, and even some rather tropical fruit – think soursop, pineapple, and dragonfruit – and light spices. Tons of fruitiness, and it keeps evolving…the finish and palate explode with fruit, spice, and a gripping texture. Unique, and very intriguing! Very fruity. Grainy notes emerge more with time.

If you want a whisky which is more unique and displays some unique tropical fruit – I recommend. It’s very interesting. But, it’s still “not there yet” – I hope this continues to get a bit more maturity under its belt, then we might get some really interesting stuff! Fairly clean too – perhaps helped by their filtration process.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher). This one presents a rather interesting mix of tropical fruit, oak, and spice. As I spent more and more time with it, I found it continually grew on me.

Value: Average, based on $60.


Review: Golden Stagg Blended Rye Spirit (Sperling Silver Distillery) by Jason Hambrey

ABV
40%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
N/A
Distiller Sperling Silver Distillery (Regina, Saskatchewan)

I haven’t had much whisky from Saskatchewan, beyond Last Mountain’s (very nice) stuff. This is a single malt rye, made from malted rye - it’s not something many small or large producers are doing these days and the character is quite different than unmalted rye - a bit more vegetal without as clean of a grain character. This is a “blended rye spirit - so I assume it is less than three years, but I know very little about it - other than the taste.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2018

Light spice, rich rye, orange, and pine in the mix. Floral, earthy, oaky, fruity – there is a broad array of flavour here. This is loaded with juniper and light coriander - almost as if someone used a gin barrel to mature the spirit! To be a bit more cohesive – the nose has vanilla and oak combined with a light floral, spicy edge and a light roughness. The rye-like character reminds me a bit of MGP rye, in fact. The palate is light, slightly spicy – with lots of vanilla offset by light spice and slight oak tannin. And a bit of patchouli, and with slight tropical fruit character. The finish is sweet, spicy, and fruity – more on the side of berries than orchard fruit.

Quite decent, and clean, with a complexity which is quite decent – but it’s still a bit rough and young. It is also a bit sweet for my liking – I would like this a bit more if it were dryer. I like 100 bushels a bit more, I think, which has some similar characteristics.

Value: High. This is good stuff for $25!


Review: Last Mountain Single Cask Rye Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of Last Mountain Distillery

Image courtesy of Last Mountain Distillery

ABV
45%
Aging
~3.9 yrs; Once used bourbon barrel
Recipe
100% Saskatchewan Rye
Distiller Last Mountain (Lumsden, Saskatchewan)

A release from last mountain in 2018, this time a single cask bottled at 45% instead of their cask strength vatting from 2017. I love rye, and last mountain is one of my favourite distillers in Canada, so I’m always eager to try this stuff. The rye is from Deer Valley.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: Cask 14-09-02 (Aged 46 months, 50 gallon ex-bourbon barrel)

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2018

This has a nice ex-bourbon cask characteristic to it. The nose is earthy, and incredibly floral with bright characteristics like sweet white grape and elderflower. It is very unique for that! We also have The palate is lightly tannic and spicy, with more elderflower, rich oak, nutmeg, and clove - there is a nice kick of vanilla in the centre. The finish is spicy and has a nice mix of spicy and floral characteristics. Very nice!

Good oaky undertones, too.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher). This is a very unique rye, and the complexity is very interesting. It straddles this category and my recommended category, but it gets the nod on the merit of uniqueness.

Value: Average, based on $43.70/375 ml.


Review: Rocking R 100% Rye Whisky (Rig Hand Distillery) by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy and copyright of Rig Hand distillery.

Image courtesy and copyright of Rig Hand distillery.

ABV
40%
Aging
3 years; ex-wheat whisky, ex-bourbon, and ex-sherry barrels
Recipe
100% Alberta Rye
Distiller Rig Hand (Nisku, AB)

Rig Hand’s first rye has come online! The whisky has the same maturation process as their single malt: 8 months in 10-gallon ex-wheat whisky barrels, 9-months in 25 gallon used bourbon barrels from Ohio, 18 months in ex-bourbon barrels from Kentucky, and finished in 55-gallon used sherry casks. There are many more barrels stashed away, and the distillery is planning to increase the age of the product with time.

They also have some bourbon-style whisky on the way.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2018

The nose has a nice set of floral notes, with a rich spiciness – which I quite like. Lilacs, clove, hibiscus, light oak, rose hip, and vanilla are involved. The palate is soft, full of fruit - dried and fresh, baking spice and a touch of dusty minerality as well. There are also quite nice pepper notes in this whisky. The finish is light, with light spice and floral notes, and a bit of white pepper. The tannins rise slightly at the finish.

This shows great promise, and has a very clean and refined sense of big rye. It’s one of the cleaner ryes I’ve had from a small distillery (at least of the ones which have big rye flavor). I’d love to see this with a few more years on it and at a bit higher ABV, but this is doing quite well as it is!

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

Value: Against the overall whisky market, this is in the average value camp, at $89.


Review: North of 7 Canadian Whisky (3 Grain Wheated) by Jason Hambrey

Image copyright by North of 7 Distillery. Used with Permission.

Image copyright by North of 7 Distillery. Used with Permission.

ABV
45%
Aging
3 Years+; Virgin Charred Oak
Recipe
74% Corn, 21% Wheat, & 5% Malted Barley
Distiller North Of 7 (Ottawa, Ontario)

This is a single barrel, made from terrific ingredients - barrels from Independent Stave Company (which supplies most of the big Kentucky distilleries) and grain from Against The Grain, a local grain company specializing in heirloom grains. They use yellow corn, purple corn, wheat, rye, unmalted barley, and purple Ethiopian barley sourced from there - terrific stuff. The colourful grains often have more flavor.

This is matured in a heavily toasted, lightly charred barrel to give a rich set of toasted wood notes without being overly clean and caramel-laden.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: Cask 26

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2019

The nose is quite nutty and very oaky – with wood, caramel, charred wood, vanilla, roasted nuts, corn husks, mint, radish sprouts, green pear, fresh whole wheat flatbreads, fennel seed, and clove. The palate is thick, with a great kick of nuttiness and a terrific cask character full of white oak and rich toasted notes. The oak is sweet, rich, and spicy – quite deep. It has a real richness to it, with deep oak offset by corn and light dried fruit. Very nice to drink. I’m very eager to see what this is like in a few years – it’s already quite good. The finish is slightly sour, spicy, and oaky. The more you sip at this one, the oakier it gets. Works quite nice in cocktails – manhattans with a spicy vermouth, or it works well in an old pal. Very moreish.

It is not as far along, but I like this more than the 4 grain recipe, I think. Also, it’s a bit younger than the 4 grain stuff that’s been on the shelves.

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

Value: Average (based on $60)


Review: Shelter Point Distiller's Select Cask Strength Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Shelter Point Cask Strength 1.jpg
ABV
58.4%
Aging
First Fill Bourbon Barrel; Finished in French Oak
Recipe
4 casks single malt + 1 cask rye
Distiller Shelter Point (Vancouver Island, British Columbia)

That's right, Patrick Evans is a fan of rye, and decided to throw in a cask of rye with some of Shelter Point's single malt and release it at cask strength. This is now their second whisky release, and has been available only recently at the distillery for $69. It is an odd mix, a vatting of single malt and rye, then finished in French Oak - but I must say after this Shelter Point is quickly moving into competition with Still Waters for my favorite Canadian micro-distillery producer...


Review (2016)

  • Batch: 2016

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2016

The nose has much of the standard single malt notes – fruity, with apple and cherry, oak, buttery pastry, icing – but with absolutely terrific cereal notes too, good earthiness, and some nice stewed apricot too. Diluted down to a similar strength as their single malt, it is richer and more complex but not quite as lively. Nice spices develop with time. It’s still young, as with the other Shelter Point I have had – but the youth doesn’t come through as much on the palate as with the other one. The palate has some creamy grain, but an incredible vegetal spice grips the palate towards the end leading you into a very rye-laden finish. Quite fascinating in fact – the malt leads you gently in, and the rye boldly ushers you out. Definitely more complex than the standard single malt, and the rye provides wonderful intrigue.

Drinking at cask strength, it really is upped in flavor compared to the diluted version of this whisky, with almond and coconut seeming to come out more. The rye comes into its own with complex vegetal and spice notes particularly on the finish. Not quite as graceful as the inaugural release single malt, but more interesting and more complex. I like it more, but not quite enough to bump it up a percent.

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

Value: Average, based on $80.


Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

Five casks of single malt whisky were combined with one cask of rye whisky to make this limited run of 1200 bottles. They were all finished in a French oak cask.

Vanilla, oak, crème brulee, unripe pear, nectarines, stewed fruits, dill, strawberry, and a light floral character. There’s a nice, subtle, candied element to the nose. The palate is big, full of toffee and dried fruits and finishing with spices, mint, and dried apricot. The dried apricot is just remarkable. Big finish – lots of complexity and spice. Lots of nuts, throughout, and nice complexity even if a bit brash at times.

This was one of my top 25 whiskies in the Canadian Whisky Awards in 2017. And for good reason - it’s big, complex, and interesting.

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

Value: Average, based on $80.


Review (2019)

·         Batch: 2018

·         Bottling Date: 2018

·         Bottling Code: N/A

This is big, and full of rich grain. It’s quite something – sharp toffee, hazelnut oil, a light grain characteristic, and light spice – but with a comfortable bracing of oak. The palate is sharp, rich, intense – lots of flavor from spice, nuts, oil, and loads of fruit. There is a spicy grain character at the core which I just cannot help but love – and the finish is loaded with dried fruits, umami, and light pepper notes. Very nice…

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

Value: Average, at $86, against other whiskies at this cost.


Review: Shelter Point Montfort DL 141 Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of Shelter Point Distillery.

Image courtesy of Shelter Point Distillery.

ABV
46%
Aging
Various
Recipe
100% Unmalted Barley
Distiller Shelter Point (Vancouver Island, British Columbia)

The Montfort DL 141 indicates where the barley was grown (at shelter point) which makes up this whisky. Interestingly, it is made completely from unmalted barley - a fairly rare style of whisky. Though a limited release, the barley itself was grown by shelter point and is the start of the exploration of terrior by the distillery, which will be a focus.


Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

Aged 4.5 yrs in American Oak.

A lot on this nose: dried chanterelles, bready notes, vanilla, green hard pear, banana, dried apricot, pineapple, oak, coconut and gentian. The palate has coconut, green pear, and a plethora of grainy notes with a rich middle. The finish is nicely balanced, with vanilla, malty notes, dried apricot, and nutmeg. Almond throughout, espcially on the finish, which is quite nice.

More crisp and condensed than the standard Shelter Point, and not as fruity. Still a bit young which would round out quite well, I think, with age. That’s really all it is...needs more time in the cask. There’s some wonderful stuff underneath.

Doesn’t quite have the complexity, balance, or breadth of the standard shelter point – but it offers something different, with more oak and a denser flavour profile which unfolds in a slower, different way (i.e. it is less apparent on first sip, and requires a bit more study to understand). A very nice addition to the lineup, and I like what they are doing...

I do really like the compactness of the grain in this and the tannic grip it has. It’s a bit hard to talk about. Really nice, and a ton of potential – I think score would significantly jump at 8 or 10 years – it is a great direction.

Value: Low, based on $80. A very unique product though - the next year’s batch is much better, in my view.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: 2018

  • Bottling Date: N/A

  • Bottling Code: 2018

This has more French oak than the previous bottling and was aged a year longer than the batch above. It seems to pay off:

Quite fruity –peach, sour pear, vanilla, custard, and light black pepper – yet also having a growing toffee and sugar characteristic, and, with time, an earthy cigar characteristic. There is a beautiful grain character present, with flour and nut oil notes richly present in the middle. Also, great berry notes – blackberry tea, raspberry – and a great earthiness in the middle. This whisky is about terrior – and I find in this a much deeper earthiness than in the standard shelter point – unique and awesome.

This is quite an improvement over last year’s bottling, and seems to have started to gain quite a following!

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

Value: Average, based on $80.


Review: Prospector Canadian Rye Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Prospector+2.jpg
ABV
46%
Aging
Virgin Charred American Oak
Recipe
100% Unmalted BC Rye
Distiller Odd Society (Vancouver, British Columbia)

This new 100% rye whisky is going to be one of the core whiskies produced by Odd Society, along with a continual set of experimental releases. It is 100% rye, matured in new oak - so expect this one to be a big, flavourful whisky.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: 1

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2018

A rich, spicy, woody nose – cedar, oak, balsam – but loaded with baking spices, black tea, mixed grain porridge, brown sugar, and more. I do like rich, dense noses – and the cedar in this is awesome. Further, there is a good kick of dried fruit – apricot and peach, here – and some deeper, intriguing notes of sundried tomato and hibiscus. Some of the fruitiness and sweet toffee character are similar to Commodore – but this is very spicy and woody in comparison. The palate is rather pleasant, with loads more wood notes, tea notes, spice, and dried fruit – with a very agreeable level of tannin. The finish is spicy and dense, with wood and more dried fruit unfolding. Very nice! It opens up nicely with time, with more floral notes emerging.

I love to see the diversity of rye whiskies being released by Canadian producers. This is a completely different take on rye compared to Stalk & Barrel, Dillon’s, North of 7, or any of the big producers.

A nice release beside commodore! I like them both. This is more up my alley, to my preferences, and has a bit more complexity to it, but with that comes a sharper set of flavours and astringency so many might prefer Commodore. This, also, doesn’t show its youth as readily as commodore.

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

Value: Average. Another nice take on Canadian rye!