Shelter Point

Review: Shelter Point Double Barreled Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of Shelter Point Distillery.

Image courtesy of Shelter Point Distillery.

ABV
50%
Aging
6 yrs; American Oak; Wine Finish
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Shelter Point (Vancouver Island, British Columbia)

Shelter Point double barreled some of their whisky in French oak wine casks - here is something unique! This was after about 6 years in American oak.


Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

Finished in blackberry wine casks.

Coconut, vanilla, caramel, pineapple, and rich orchard fruit and sharp baking spice. Big on the palate – spicy, rich, and full of grain and milk chocolate notes even amidst all the fruit sitting overtop. Lots of rich dried fruit, particularly apricot – frankly, it’s remarkable how well the apricot fits in. The finish rides on a wave of vanilla. My favorite Shelter Point to date. It doesn’t have the finish of some of the artisanal cask finishes but it brings a whole lot to the table…

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

Finished in blackberry wine casks.

Toffee, broad grain notes, marzipan, and apple juice – yet still with lots of oak, dried fruit, and berries. There is a really great nuttiness shining through, complemented nicely by the oak. It is sweet, easy, and fruity – both fresh fruit and dried fruit, with a bit more emphasis on dried fruit – both stone fruit and raisins and currants. Excellent, and even a touch better than last year!

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

Aged for 5.5 years in American oak before being finished for 335 days in quail’s gate pinot noir casks - we’re now not in blackberry cask territory.

This whisky opens with a terrific nose - really nice rich, fruity notes, raisins, red currants, cardamom, sour notes, green apple, baking spices, and great oak. Light shelter point barley characteristics. Lightens up nicely with time. Really opens up with water. The taste is slightly salty, with currants and loads of fruit and tannins – but there are some really nice malty and toffee notes as well. It is very savoury. The finish is winey, thick, and spicy – with some roasted grain notes. Nice body on the finish.

I really like it! It is a departure from before – it has more wine, fruit, and richness. The blackberry releases previously were a bit spicier. I like this version even more.

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

Value: Average, based on $80. But it’s above average if we’re just looking at Canadian single malts.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: 2019

  • Bottling Date: 2019

  • Bottling Code: N/A

Finished in Quail’s Gate foch wine casks.

Raisins, vanilla, hazlenuts, some really nice floral notes (geranium!), clove, orange peel, and that slightly tangy character in shelter point malts. The nose opens nicely with time – it rewards patience, and more complexity slowly seeps out.

The whisky has a nice body on the palate, with orange and a nice mix of dried fruit, sweetness, and spice. A nice savoury character on the palate, too. I like this with a few drops of water. Opens up some of the dense character. The finish has nice oak, vanilla, dried fruit, baking spice, and pearl barley.

Compared to last year’s pinot noir cask, this is spicier, nuttier, and oilier and isn’t quite as well rounded. It tastes a bit harsher. The last three double barrels have been really good – from blackberry, to pinot, to foch. If anyone chances to have all three, it would make for a great side by side.

Highly Recommended (50% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, based on $80. But it’s above average if we’re just looking at Canadian single malts.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: 2021

  • Bottling Date: 2021

  • Bottling Code: N/A

This is my favourite “standard release” of Shelter point that’s been around for a while (this is now the fifth release). They are all a bit varied but all of high quality – I think it’s one of the best single malts in Canada, as far as regular releases go. The single malt is aged for 6 years before being finished for 99 days in blackberry casks.

The nose is rich and spicy: cacao, hibiscus, dried berries, cinnamon, cardamom, prune, dried cherry, berries, apples, wine gums and sharp oak.  The palate continues with the richness – big fruity and oaky character but also some sesame, dried peach, and wet earth. There is a light acidity that really accentuates the flavours. The finish is big – first spicy, then fruity, then oaky. Slightly oily, in a very appealing way. Lots of movement on the finish.

Nice to see another blackberry cask. I did like some of the pinot noir finishes they did, but I really like how the blackberry meshes with Shelter Point’s whisky. Excellent stuff.

Very Highly Recommended (19% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High at $85.


Review: Shelter Point The Forbidden Single Malt Wheat Whisky by Jason Hambrey

The Forbidden 1 Web Size (002) white(1).jpg
ABV
47-49.8%
Aging
~5.5 yrs+; Ex-Bourbon Barrel
Recipe
100% Canadian Malted Wheat
Distiller Shelter Point (Vancouver Island, British Columbia)

A single malt wheat whisky! I’ve had loads of whiskies and quite a few wheat whiskies, but this is the first single malt wheat I’ve had. It is named after a local landmark, the “Forbidden Plateau”.


Review (2020)

  • Batch: 1

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2020

A sweet nose, still with that characteristic shelter point complexity which is almost a bit sourdough-like. Honey, grass, peaches, vanilla, oak, nutmeg, apricot, hay, and light bourbon notes. With time, I find butterscotch grows.

The palate is very clean, with a really nice, light, sweet oak background, with mixed wildflower honey, baking spices, and vanilla. A bit of oatmeal here and there, too. The finish is decent in length with fresh and dried peaches, light tannins, oak, vanilla, and a touch of notes reminding me of a stony mountain stream (I know…).

Quite delicious. I like it with just a touch of water.

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

Value: Average, nearly high, based on $68.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: 2

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2021

This is made just like batch 1, but it is a year older.

Immediately complex and deep off the nose - and the barrel character is really well balanced with the spirit. On the nose there is oak, coconut, spices, melon, yellow apples, cantaloupe, dried pineapple, and touches of honey. The palate is very easy, with sweet wheat, light bourbon notes, and some nice baking spices. The wheat character does come through (think of the sweet, wheat note as you bake with flour. Some nice touch of dried fruit – apricots and peaches too. The finish is slightly sweet and oaky

This goes down very easy…maybe too easy for a casual dram. I like it more than the first batch, which was also great.

Highly Recommended (50% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Par for the course, in terms of what you are looking for quality-wise at $80.


Review: Shelter Point Smoke & Oak Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
46%
Aging
Smoked Ex-Bourbon Barrel
Recipe
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.


Review: Shelter Point Ripple Rock Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Shelter Point Ripple Rock 1.jpg
ABV
47%
Aging
8 yrs
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Shelter Point (Vancouver Island, British Columbia)

Shelter Point released a single cask of whisky last year which was finished in virgin oak casks - a whisky release which I very much enjoyed. The whisky was matured over 6 years in American oak before being finished for 18 months in alligator char casks - it was named “Ripple Rock” after one of the largest non-nuclear planned explosions in the world which occurred underwater off the coast of Vancouver Island, where Shelter Point Distillery is located. It was named such as it was intended to be one of the biggest whiskies Shelter Point could produce in terms of flavour.


Review (2020)

  • Batch: Batch 1

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2020

A sweet, oaky, fruity nose. Distinctly Shelter Point, and yet, with quite a nice twist. Blackberries, raisins, caramel, toffee, pear drops, clove, vanilla, strawberry jam – it may sound a bit random but the nose is very cohesive and the oak is very well matched to the spirit. On the palate, rich grain notes battle the fruit and confectionary notes. As on the nose, the dried fruit remains at the centre. The finish sits with oak caramels, baking spice, apple skins, blackberry jam, malt, and herbal, grainy  notes.

While this was inspired, perhaps, by their popular virgin oak finish single cask – this one is very different in profile. It surprised me at first. For that one, complex oaky notes sit in and around everything else – at the centre – while here the oak ties everything together rather than being the prominent figure, and the fruit is much richer. I would tend to reach for this one more often, even if the oak characteristics are a bit less unique (taste-wise).

Highly Recommended (50% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High based on $77.


Review: Shelter Point Single Triple Grain Single Cask Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Shelter Point Grainbow 2.jpg
ABV
43%
Aging
7 yrs
Recipe
50% Malted Barley, 25% Unmalted Barley, 25% Rye
Distiller Shelter Point (Vancouver Island, British Columbia)

Shelter Point has done a great job with their single cask releases - they’ve all been good, and they’ve all been quite different from one another. This is no exception. This whisky was created from a blend of malted barley, unmalted barley, and rye whisky that was aged in an ex-bourbon cask and then a French oak wine barrel from Coast Black winery for 18 months. To my eye, one of the darkest whiskies released by Shelter Point even though it’s only bottled at 43%.


Review (2020)

  • Batch: Single Cask Edition 5

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2020

A very interesting nose – orange fanta, cola, orange peel, oak, baking spices, coconut, lemon peel – this is all over the place and I wouldn’t even recognize it as Shelter Point blind, I don’t think. The palate shows coffee, sweet oak, baking spice, chicory, caramel, almond, dried fruit, maple, and then finishes with some more chicory, caramel, spice cake, and a touch of smoky, charred wood. The French oak might be making me imagine it – but it does taste like there is some wine influence here. The acidity is slightly present and gives it a nice light zip.

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

Value: Average, based on $82.