Single Barrel

Review: Last Mountain 100% Wheat Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
45%
Aging
~3.5 yrs; Used Bourbon Barrel
Recipe
100% Wheat
Distiller Last Mountain (Lumsden, Saskatchewan)

Last Mountain Distillery views wheat as the unsung hero of the grains, utilizing the abundant wheat in Saskatchewan to craft their whisky. They are now releasing their own wheat whisky after sourcing whisky to get them going in their terrific bottlings like Private Reserve. Now, they have their own.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: Cask 13.08.01

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2016

Very confectionary, in the style they have developed. Icing sugar, wheat – cream of wheat, wheat flour, and it is pretty clean – light spices and creamy oak in the background, a touch of orange zest, and barrel char – even at only 3.5 years, this doesn’t taste immature! The palate is loaded with fresh oak and light spices, cream of wheat, and a strong confectionary character as well. It perhaps is a bit less complex than the sourced/blended business (this is a single cask, mind you), but it is easy to drink and presents the wheat so beautifully! Light spices and dried fruit as well – some nice bourbon influence. The finish carries on with very light spices, lemon zest, light minerality, hints of bourbon, light oak, and of course, creamy wheat. It is, in fact, the finest wheat whisky I have tasted. Though complexity isn’t massive, the core of this whisky is just immensely pure and enjoyable.

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

Value: High (based on $50)


Review (2019)

  • Batch: Cask 14.06.02

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2018

This whisky was aged in 10 gallon barrels for 6 months before being put in once-used bourbon barrels for 51 months. That’s almost 5 years of maturation!

The nose leads with freshly sawn lumber, wintergreen, marzipan, and oaky spices. The palate is light, oaky, and with moderate complexity. Some bourbon nods, here – with good vanilla and light corn characteristics. The whisky itself is light and rich, but this has a bit of a different characteristic than the previous single cask I had. It’s cleaner, lighter, with a bit more ex-bourbon character and not quite as much wheat coming through. The finish has some berries and a nice tannic character. This is very easy to drink.

Also this whisky won a gold medal at the Canadian whisky awards, a blind tasting which occurs over 6 weeks with over 100 entrants – less than 20% of the whiskies entered get a gold, and this includes not only micro-distilleries but all the big industry players.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher). I liked the previous cask a bit more, but this is still my favourite wheat whisky.

Value: High. Very good for the price.


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: Last Mountain Canadian Single Malt Whisky by Jason Hambrey

IMG_1006.JPG
ABV
45%
Aging
~3.5 yrs; Once used bourbon barrel
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
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. The barley was sourced from BC, but in the future all grain is coming from Saskatchewan for the distillery.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: Cask #14-09-02 (46 months old)

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2018

Light, and loaded with green fruits – pear, apple – and other stone fruits, peach, apricot, and yellow plums – and yet with a light oily, grassy spice. Slightly creamy, with the oak coming in at the perfect point on the palate bringing in caramel, cream, and ferrero rocher. It’s rich with oak – and has a rich, grain-derived earthiness. Quite nutty, too – very much so – like freshly ground peanut and almond butter. Mint at the end. The finish is spicy and very grainy.

The whisky feels young, yet, it doesn’t carry a lot of the harshness often found in single malts. I really like how grain-forward this is – and it almost seems as though you can taste the earth of Saskatchewan! Very unique, and I’m looking forward to how this shapes up as it continues to age. Between the rye, wheat whisky, and this single malt, Last Mountain has a diverse and well-crafted set of whiskies coming along!

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

Value: Average, based on $43.70 per 375 mls.


Review: Last Mountain Wine Cask Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
45%
Aging
3.2 yrs in used Bourbon Barrel; 6 months in wine cask
Recipe
100% Wheat
Distiller Last Mountain (Lumsden, Saskatchewan)

Here we have a different take on last mountain’s wheat whisky - a wine cask finish! A very different lens to Last Mountain’s wheat whisky (which is my favourite wheat whisky that I’ve tasted), Note that this is a pre-release sample as it will be released shortly, but the profile should remain very similar if not the same. The wine cask used was a Saury Oak barrel which had a Californian red wine in it.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2019

A soft, wine driven nose with loads of rich, dried fruits and spices typical of a red wine. Freshly sawn white oak, fruit gummies, black currant, cherries, rising cinnamon buns, and light toffee – but underneath, light sweet wheat and some clean oak. A bit of water to take it slightly below 45% reveals a lot of complexity but the oak is less dominant, which may or may not be preferential depending on taste – I like it with a drop of water. The palate is very interesting – very much driven by the cask – and very good – reminding me of many lighter port-finished whiskies. There is a really nice oiliness and the spices really bloom, but there is also a rich toffee middle to the whisky which bridges all the fruit from the wine to the oak, which creates a very nice contrast in flavour. The finish is lightly sweet and very fruity, with tannic red wine, dried apricot, blackberries, and freshly ground white pepper.

This is much more cask-dominant than the other stuff I’ve had from last mountain – but it’s still very good, and a very different lens to their wheat whisky. I’m glad, that, despite the big wine influence, it has gone towards the richer, deeper side of wine. I do think it squashes a bit of the complexity of the underlying wheat whisky, which is fairly light, since the cask character is so heavy. However, it’s still very good, and very clean and complex for a whisky this young.

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

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


Review: Crown Royal Hand Selected Single Barrel Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
51.5%
Aging
Charred Virgin Oak
Recipe
64% Corn, 31.5% Rye, 4.5% Malted Barley
Distiller Gimli (Gimli, Manitoba)

 This whisky is another beauty from the stocks of Canadian “flavouring” whiskies – strongly flavoured whiskies used as flavouring components in blends. More of these are being released as the connoisseur market is growing. This whisky is made very much like a bourbon – it has a recipe of 64% corn, 31.5% rye, and 4.5% malted barley, and is matured in new oak for around 7 years. At present, these are being released as single barrels. This whisky is my favorite Crown Royal, if not a bit sweet some of the time.


Review (2015)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L4303K1019

  • Bottling Date: 2015

Nose: Orange, vanilla, dried corn, and oak on the nose. Very crown royal, yet very bourbon-like. The oak is big, sweet, and very central – and slightly smoky, very much smelling like new oak casks (which is what is used to mature this whisky). Lots of lovely creamy, butterscotch notes and apple is around. Spice is present from the rye as well – stale cinnamon.

Taste: Big, bold, and creamy with lots of heavy vanilla, butterscotch, cherry, canned peaches, and oak. Candied orange peel underneath, along with dried cherries and blueberries. This is delicious! The oak integration is fabulous – on the palate, this is perhaps my favorite crown royal. It works well at 51.5% ABV, and the berry spice under the oak is fascinating, and the tannins from the oak are just about right.

Finish: A light, floral, slightly pithy, finish with lots of vanilla, oak, dried berries, butterscotch, canned peaches, raw almonds, and rye spice.

A very different, and very good, crown royal. Lots of creamy oak and flavour. Highly recommended. This really, to me, does seem like the heart of crown royal – you can taste influences of a whisky like this across many of their products, from their base blend on up.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I review to date get this recommendation or higher). One of the great Canadian whiskies.

Value: High. A great price for a great whisky!


Review (2015; Blind)

  • Batch: Bottled Exclusively for Davin De Kergommeaux

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2015

A different barrel than above. Of all the whiskies I tasted for the Canadian Whisky Awards, this was my absolute favorite and one of the best Canadian whiskies I have tasted.

Rich and deep- it opens up to show earthy notes (think something like the spicy earthiness like in black eyed peas), plantain, banana leaves, spices , wafts of bourbon, barrel char. But, this is at first! As it opens, it becomes sweet and creamy with banana cream pie, tapioca pudding, and some rich vanilla, while retaining the other elements. On the palate, lightly tannic with cherries, banana cream pie, and absolutely brilliant creaminess and oak integration carrying through to a long creamy finish.

Exceptional (3% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date receive this, my highest recommendation). What a single barrel! One of the best whiskies I’ve ever tasted.

Value: Very High. One of the best Canadian whiskies I’ve ever tasted coming in at $70 is quite something. Bottling vary, as this is a single barrel product, but the good ones are awesome value.


Review (2016; Blind)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2016

Here is a nose! Rich, with a great confectionary balance between the grain, the oak, and the fruit. Vanilla, custard, clove, corn husks, dry rye, banana cream pie, butterscotch candy – gorgeous, no question. The palate is unbelievable – soft and creamy yet full of flavor as cereal spice, baked peaches, steel cut oats, and oaky tannins yield an unbelievable taste. The finish has oak and light olive oil with light tannins. Stunning.

If it were a lower proof it would be too sweet, but the match of the complexity, the sweetness, the mouthfeel, and the spice with the punchy alcohol is just perfect.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I review to date get this recommendation or higher). The good barrels here truly represent some of the best Canadian whisky on the planet.

Value: Very High. A great price for a great whisky.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code:L41462S 14250815SL143

  • Bottling Date: 2016

I love this stuff so much, and I like following it. It is so unique. A creamy, buttery, oaky, banana cream pie, and cherry laden nose...this batch is more oaky than the previous ones I remember. The palate is full of banana cream pie, oak, cherry, and light corn. A sweet, spicy finish with some cinnamon and more banana. Brief tasting notes, but very similar to the above but not as complex and the high rated batch. I had another batch in the 2017 canadian whisky awards which I would have rated similarly.

This is terrific, but there is definite batch variation in these barrels, as expected from single barrels. This whisky is similar, but a notch below in complexity, nose, and finish from the previous bottlings. Still terrific – but I guess the batches I have tasted in competition have actually been the best.

Not as complex as some 89ers, but I just love the profile. So delicious. I do love good Canadian whisky...

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I review to date get this recommendation or higher). One of the great Canadian whiskies.

Value: High. A great price for a great whisky.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

Very floral, light, and dessert-like: Banana, wood, toffee, icing sugar, cedar, and a rich grain-like oiliness. Wood smoke and coconut cream pie, too, on the rich nose. The palate does not disappoint, with rich grain notes yet retaining all the richness of the fruit and spice. Yet, with all this, lightly tangy too. Brilliant.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher). Not as good as any of the other Crown Single Barrels I’ve tried, but it’s still quite excellent and I still would give a hearty recommendation for this one.

Value: Decent. These are generally high to very high bottlings, but sometimes a given barrel might not yield quite the quality of others, as in this case.


Review: Four Roses Private Selection Single Barrel (OESQ) Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Four Roses OESQ 2.jpg
ABV
61.1%
Aging
9 years, 1 months; Virgin Charred Oak
Recipe
75% Corn, 20% Rye, 5% Malted Barley
Distiller Four Roses (Lawrenceburg, Kentucky)

Some of the best bourbon I’ve ever had was a set of Four Roses single barrels from 2013 and 2014, all around 11-12 years. They can still be found without too much difficulty, but the ones I’ve seen have dropped a few years in age, sadly, since they were about perfect at 11-12 years


Review (2017)

  • Batch: Warehouse S (North), Rick 4, 5th level, Barrel Q

  • Bottling Code: 150213016 1238

  • Bottling Date: 2017

Prunes, dried roses, rich corn, fruity rye, grape soda, light earthiness. Vanilla, toasted oak, and rich dulce de leche grow with time. The palate has good bite with white grape, spicy tobacco, oak, and potpourri. A slight let-down after the nose. Rosehips and oak on the finish. A nice bourbon, and very enjoyable at 61.1%, but lacks complexity and balance to merit the high marks I’ve given these single barrels in the past.

 

Not as floral as I expected, but I guess I’ve been having whiskies like Collingwood Double Oaked recently, which is floral off the charts. But, it’s a single cask, so I’d like to see a stellar cask using this yeast.

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

Value: Low (based on $125)


Review: Four Roses Private Selection Single Barrel (OESV) Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Four Roses PS OESV.jpg
ABV
60.1%
Aging
11 years, 9 months; Virgin Charred Oak
Recipe
75% Corn, 20% Rye, 5% Malted Barley
Distiller Four Roses (Lawrenceburg, Kentucky)

Another unbelievable single barrel from Four Roses, straight from the barrel...The barrel was hand selected by Liquor Barn.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: Warehouse F (South), Rick 6, 3rd level, Barrel L

  • Bottling Code: 42 21 182 13 10:43

  • Bottling Date: 2015

Very oaky. Lots of corn, grain, pineapple, charry. Some spice comes in too. Dried pineapple, dried fruits, caramel. The palate is dry, driven by dry oak and nutmeg. It is gorgeous, in fact, on the palate. At CS, it has a really nice effect – a very nice bourbon. The finish is nice – creamy, dry and full of brown cardamom and oak. Overall, oaky, big, integrated, with a blistering finish that keeps on delivering...awesome.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Very High (based on $53)


Review: Four Roses Private Selection Single Barrel (OESK) Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Four Roses PS OESK 2.jpg
ABV
60.5%
Aging
12 years, 4 months; Virgin Charred Oak
Recipe
75% Corn, 20% Rye, 5% Malted Barley
Distiller Four Roses (Lawrenceburg, Kentucky)

Another unbelievable single barrel from Four Roses, straight from the barrel...The barrel was hand selected by Jim Rutledge for the distillery store.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: Warehouse V (East), Rick 24, 3rd level, Barrel P

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2014

Oaky, spicy, corny. This feels very much like a stereotypical borubon. Cherry, lightly nutty – and very dnse at cask strength. This goes down very easy...corn, rich, vanilla, sharp spice, and lots of beautiful vanilla and oak. Granola, dense coconut oil, hazlenut oil...dense, oaky, grainy finish. Drying spice (brown cardamom, clove, nutmeg). And yet still so creamy and rich...

Exceptional (3% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date receive this, my highest recommendation).

Value: Very High (based on $71)

 


Review: Four Roses Private Selection Single Barrel (OESF) Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Four Roses PS OESF 2.jpg
ABV
56.9%
Aging
10 years, 10 months; Virgin Charred Oak
Recipe
75% Corn, 20% Rye, 5% Malted Barley
Distiller Four Roses (Lawrenceburg, Kentucky)

This is perhaps my favorite bourbon ever. It was sourced by MS Walker, the owner of a small and terrific whisky shop in Boston. As much as Four Roses talks of Seagrams as the destroyer of their brand (fair enough) and producer of "rotgut" whisky - much of the DNA of Four Roses, indeed, what makes Four Roses great - is because of Seagrams. The yeasts at Four Roses came from Seagram - they combined yeasts from various distilleries so that more variables could be used to fine tune blends (indeed, 10 recipes at Four Roses). Without this blending mindset, it's unlikely that Four Roses would even be using multiple yeasts. Additionally, Four Roses uses single story warehouses - with less variability in temperature, and, thus, aging climates - useful for blends where consistency is key!


Review (2017)

  • Batch: Warehouse G (West), Rick 48, 2nd level, Barrel I

  • Bottling Code:42 22 312 14 15:13

  • Bottling Date: 2015

This is an absolutely unbelievable bourbon. It really opens up with water. Very sweet, delicate, elegant, integrated – and a rich, rich nose. Caramel, marshmallows, macadamias, mint, orange candies, Banana, and strawberry marshmallows. Gorgeous. The palate has milk chocolate truffles, smoke, and lots of pear, mint, and lightly tannic. The finish has pear, strawberry mashmallows.

The reason bourbon typically doesn’t get quite as high ratings relative to my enjoyment of it is that I just find it isn’t as complex because it’s dominated by oak. Some are more complex than others – and here is a bourbon which is that way – and perfectly so. Really opens with time, and a „wow” whisky.

Exceptional (3% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date receive this, my highest recommendation). I think the best bourbon I’ve ever tasted.

Value: Very high, for just 80$.


Review: Four Roses Private Selection Single Barrel (OBSO) Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Four Roses PS OBSO 2.jpg
ABV
55.0%
Aging
10 years, 9 months; Virgin Charred Oak
Recipe
60% Corn, 35% Rye, 5% Malted Barley
Distiller Four Roses (Lawrenceburg, Kentucky)

Four Roses makes some of my favorite bourbon. This, OBSO, is described as the distillery as having a rich fruit characteristic and is one of the four components of Four Roses Small Batch. This barrel was selected by Jim Rutledge for the distillery store.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: Warehouse B (North), Rick 4, 1st level, Barrel T

  • Bottling Code:42 21 181 13 00:07

  • Bottling Date: 2015

Quite fruity, lots of peach, apricot, and quite rich. Candied orange, dried peach, apricot, mint, oak, creamy toffee, cherry, and pineapple. The palate is full of clean oak, rich corn, anise (like a cocktail bitter in spiciness), and celery. Lots of dry spice, corn, light fruit, and light oiliness. The finish has light spice, light fruit (pineapple), and nice oak.

Really shines at 50% ABV.

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

Value: High (based on $53)