Wheat

Review: Parkland Wheat Vodka (Lone Pine Distilling) by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of lone pine distilling.

Image courtesy of lone pine distilling.

ABV
40%
Aging
None
Recipe
100% Hard White Alberta Wheat
Distiller Lone Pine Distilling (Edmonton, AB)

The parkland area of Alberta includes the metropolitan areas of Calgary, Edmonton, and Red Deer but it still has 2/3 of its area dedicated to agriculture. This vodka is made from wheat sourced from around the Parkland region in Alberta, and distilled twenty times through the 18 foot-high twin distillation columns at Lone Pine Distilling and then carbon-filtered to give a very clean spirit.

Bryan Anderson, the president of Lone Pine Distilling, talks of the character of the grain: “in our view, the wheat tasting profile is reflective of the base wheat used - hard white.” You don’t often see hard white wheat in spirits - typically, distillers go after soft red winter wheat that is found in all the full/part wheat whiskies I know of.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2021

  • Bottling Code: N/A

The nose on this vodka is awesome – very grainy, rich, and slightly spicy – not unlike an extremely clean, light, and very refined whisky new make with the grain and spice notes. There are light orange and toffee notes too. The palate is slightly sweet, with a light orange and wheat character and a long, creamy finish with some white pepper, vanilla, and hazelnut. Maybe the best finish I’ve ever had on a vodka. Despite those flavours, don’t interpret them to say that this has big flavour – it’s very light, very subtle. And very good.

Very highly recommended. One of the best vodkas I’ve had this year.


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

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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: Sons of Vancouver "Cigarettes on a Leather Jacket" Whisky by Jason Hambrey

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ABV
56.7%
Aging
3-5 yrs; ex-peated malt casks
Recipe
90% BC rye, 5% BC wheat, 5% BC malted barley
Distiller Sons of Vancouver (Vancouver, BC)

This whisky was made from a 5 year old rye whisky and three year old wheat and malt whiskies, all matured in an ex-Westland peated malt barrel. The distillery uses a rum yeast to ferment the rye, since the characteristics of the yeast play well off the grassiness in the rye .

The grains are all from northern BC. There are more whisky releases on the way - probably one release this year and five the next - some of them will be pretty unique (in a good way - some exciting ideas there).


Review (2021)

  • Batch: Release #1

  • Bottling Date: 2021

  • Bottling Code: N/A

The nose is quite spicy, in a similar way, in fact, to some of the classic spicy/dusty Canadian whiskies which are quite rye-influenced. It surprised me at first – it’s a note/profile that I don’t find often (if ever) with small producers. But, beyond that – what can I say- “cigarettes on a leather jacket” is appropriate! It’s lightly smoky and ashy, with leather, dried apricot, apple juice a light nuttiness, clove, orange peel, coconut, and dry earth.

The whisky comes to life on the palate – starting with smoke (odd, since whiskies often end in smoke), mixed dried fruit, before jumping into some distinct “Westland” notes with that vibrant fruitiness and jasmine that is in their malt. The finish closes with a good dose of “dustiness”, baking spice, clove, and orange peel.

I quite like the spiciness, and the cask influence is terrific. One of the better Vancouver whiskies I’ve had.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher). At the upper end of this category. Quite good.

Value: N/A. It is sold out and used variable pricing as part of a crowdfunded campaign


Review: Sons of Vancouver Blue Curacao by Jason Hambrey

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ABV
40%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
Wheat base and botanicals
Distiller Sons of Vancouver (Vancouver, BC)

Sons of Vancouver makes their blue curacao by first macerating bitter orange peel, cinnamon, and mace in a wheat spirit that it is made in house. Then, the maceration is vacuum distilled at room temperature - vacuum distillation avoids any boiling and preserves the delicate and bright flavour notes. Then, the distillate is blended with brandy, sugar orange oil, and blue colouring.

James Lester, one of the founders, describes it as the best product that they make at the distillery- quite a statement after their impressive amarettos and whiskies.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2021

  • Bottling Code: N/A

The nose, unsurprisingly is all about orange, but it’s a very bright and floral orange rather than some of the heavier or fake orange notes you often get in orange liquers. This is a completely different category than those. There is a heavy backing of spice – it reminds you of those spicy citrus teas. The mace comes out and it is brilliant. It is lightly sweet and bitter, and the spice presents a pleasant backing to the spirit.

Perhaps the best way to appreciate this spirit is by way of comparison. Compared to Cointreau – perhaps the most popular orange liquer for high-class cocktails – it’s a bit like comparing marmalade to a fresh orange. Cointreau is heavy, slightly cloying, and full of heavy orange. This is bright, floral, spicy, and slightly bitter. It has just as much orange, but has much more finesse and intrigue.

How about compared to Grand Marnier? Grand Marnier is in a bit of a different category since it has a heavy presence of aged spirit and cognac notes, but, again, it’s a much heavier and sweeter spirit. It has a very different, building finish from the cognac – but the sons of Vancouver curacao remains very bright, with a direct spicy influence and more complexity with the spices.

Excellent stuff. Mixes incredibly, too.

Highly Recommended.


Review: Sons of Vancouver No. 82 Barrel-Aged Amaretto by Jason Hambrey

Sons of Vancouver Barrel Aged Amaretto 1.jpg
ABV
26%
Aging
Refill ex-sherry and ex-bourbon
Recipe
Wheat spirit, brandy, vanilla, apricot kernels, honey and demerera sugar
Distiller Sons of Vancouver (Vancouver, BC)

This is released once a year, around Christmas - it is the Amaretto from Sons of Vancouver that is aged in a mixture of Ex-2Bar Bourbon barrels and Ex-Westland casks, finished in a used oloroso sherry cask.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2021

  • Bottling Code: N/A

This is similar to the regular Sons of Vancouver amaretto with the stone fruit, jam, vanilla, and light floral notes – but it is altogether different with the cask character. There is a rich, intense sherry note that surrounds the almond notes with all sorts of savoury and nutty characters. The body is richer with more of a custard-type character. The tannins from the oak add a lot of great structure. The end, once again, is almond and cherry but tannins amp up the structure and there are waves of creamy toffee, baking spice, and brown sugar.

Very Highly Recommended. This one really shows the potential depth that liquers can have.