Surrey

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: Sparrow Finely Crafted Canadian Rum by Jason Hambrey

Sparrow+Rum+2.jpg
ABV
40%
Aging
4 Years
Recipe
100% Blackstrap Molasses
Distiller Central City (Surrey, British Columbia)

I do quite like rum, if it isn’t too sweet, and I’m always interested if craft distillers are exploring it, since I think there’s so much that the spirit has to offer – especially to the Canadian market.This is made by Central City, who also make the Lohin McKinnon line of single malts.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2018

The nose is quite nice – rich, sweet molasses notes with lots of oak and rich baking spice. The oakiness is rather reminiscent of Lohin McKinnon – the earthiness of the sort you might find in some root vegetables. Baked fruit too – blueberry crumble, raspberry pie, and even some baked peach. A very interesting, complex nose.

The palate is easy and sweet, with a rich molasses and berry character – finishing with sweet oak. The finish has more rich molasses – blackstrap, rich stuff. A very nice medium bodied rum that isn’t too sweet – it is slightly sweet, but not overly so (especially in the realm of rum). A quite pleasant mix of vanilla, spice, and oak on the finish. The fruitiness – berries, jam, and dried berry – continues.

Highly Recommended. I do quite like the oakiness on the nose…I would love to try this stuff at cask strength. I was very pleasantly surprised here! It’s nice to see some Canadian rum with 4 years on it, not that younger rum is necessarily bad, but age can bring some nice things to the table.

Value: Average, but very close to high (so really, it’s between them). Quite a decent rum for $50!


Review: Lohin McKinnon Chocolate Malt Single Malt Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Lohin Mckinnon Chocolate Malt.jpg
ABV
43%
Aging
Ex-bourbon and Sauternes wine casks
Recipe
100% Malted Barley (85% pale malt, 15% chocolate malt)
Distiller Central City (Surrey, British Columbia)

This whisky is made from a portion of chocolate malt - heavily roasted malt which is used to create stouts and porters. As the chocolate malt imparts a rich dark character to the whisky, it was partially matured in the dessert wine Sauternes casks to create a rich, decadent almost dessert style whisky - however, I definitely would not characterize it as a sweet whisky, as far as sweeter styles of whisky go. As with their peated whisky, this was carefully distilled and "pushed" farther than typical to capture all of the roasted malt notes. 


Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2018

A very impressive nose. It has that characteristic root vegetable earthiness, but with a sweet white raisin like sweetness. Prunes, caramel, maple, toffee, The nose is one thing – the palate another. It is a fascinating single malt. It starts earthy and then a rich toasted malt wave rides into the nutty finish which features sesame, milk chocolate, raisin, and vanilla. Terrific! A winner, especially for lovers of roasted malt beers like stouts or porters – the characteristic really comes through. This is a classic!

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

Value: Average. The best value of the Lohin Mckinnons, but that’s because it’s been my favourite to date. It’s almost in the high category for value, since I quite like it, but it isn’t quite there. This is a unique malt, so if you like those, it’s worth seeking out!