Whisky

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

Sons of Vancouver Whisky 1.jpg
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: Trust Single Grain Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Trust Single Grain 2.jpg
ABV
40%
Aging
3 yrs; first-fill ex-bourbon
Recipe
100% Organic barley
Distiller The Liberty Distillery (Vancouver, BC)

This whisky is made from 100% unmalted, organic, hull-less BC barley. It isn’t too often that you see unmalted barley whiskies released - most brands will go the direction of malted barley. However, if you are using organic BC grains, it’s a lot easier to come by unmalted barley. The barley is triple-distilled before being aged in first-fill ex-bourbon casks. So…we might expect something Irish about this one?


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2020

  • Bottling Code: N/A

The nose brings forward lots of grain notes – think red river cereal, whole grain oatmeal – but with it we have sweet pear, cherry, and herbal notes of dried mint and sorrel. It has a really nice sweet creaminess to it. The grain character comes through beautifully. The palate is lightly sweet and fruity, with a nice backing of tannin, stewed fruit, mixed baking spice, creamy vanilla, almond, and lemon. The finish is light and creamy, with pear, apple, and clove.

It’s not wonder this has picked up a few awards!

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

Value: Upper end of average against the market at $66.


Review: Trust Canadian Rye Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Trust Canadian Rye 2.jpg
ABV
43%
Aging
3 yrs; Ex-burgundy and virgin oak
Recipe
51% Rye, 49% Barley (organic BC)
Distiller The Liberty Distillery (Vancouver, BC)

This whisky was made from a mixture of rye and unmalted barley, triple distilled, and then aged for 3 years in 225 L Ex-Burgundy wine barrels. After the initial period of aging, the whisky was finished in virgin oak casks.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2020

  • Bottling Code: N/A

There is lots going on here: wine gums, baking spice, vanilla, licorice, and more candied fruit notes (like ju-jubes), licorice, vanilla, charred wood, orange peel, and hot cross buns. Toffee and spice are throughout. The palate is clean, with lots of wine notes (including some minerality), baking spice, licorice, dried orange, clove, almonds, and dried apricots. The finish is lightly tannic, and full of candied fruit, baking spice, and sharp oak. The finish is one of those which builds over time, getting bigger and bigger as you have more of the whisky – and, indeed, evolving – starting with fruit at the centre, then shifting to nutty notes, then shifting to oak and spice.

Value: Average against the market at $70.


Review: Trust Ancient Grains Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Trust Ancient Grains 2.jpg
ABV
44%
Aging
3 yrs; first-fill ex-bourbon
Recipe
Organic spelt, emmer, khorosan, and barley
Distiller The Liberty Distillery (Vancouver, BC)

This one is another BC whisky made with ancient grains - mostly related to wheat - but the result is far more rich and interesting than most of your wheat whiskies. To make this, Liberty selects organic BC grain from Armstrong, BC and triple-distills it before aging in ex-bourbon barrels for at least three years. The complex mix of grains lends all sorts of grain notes - floral notes from Khorosan and Spelt, spice, fruit, and caramel from Emmer, and some graham cracker notes from the barley.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2020

  • Bottling Code: N/A

The nose has a spicy, grassy character to it and lots of notes around it – pear, vanilla, sweet wood, hard fruit candies, fresh peaches, and white pepper. The palate brings forward the orchard fruit, with a light fruit backing all around. The mixture of fresh fruit, grassy spice, herbal character, and dried fruit work really well together. The palate finishes with a flourish of spice, oak, pear, and honey. Light tannins build into a finish of honey, apricot, and black tea.

I quite like how this one comes together - lots of flavour!

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

Value: Average against the market at $70.


Review: Trust Southern Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Trust Southern 2.jpg
ABV
43%
Aging
3 yrs; virgin oak
Recipe
93% Organic BC Corn, 7% Organic BC Rye
Distiller The Liberty Distillery (Vancouver, BC)

This whisky is a blend of a corn whisky, made from organic corn from Spallumcheen, BC, as well as a rye whisky made from organic grain sourced from Armstrong BC. The whisky is triple distilled, and aged in new American oak barrels. A nod to the south, but made in a unique way - it isn’t very often that you see triple-distilled corn whisky.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2020

  • Bottling Code: N/A

The nose is oaky, nutty, spicy, and slightly smoky – vanilla, coconut, campfire embers, black pepper, and sweet grain notes. The oak is front and centre on the nose – but it isn’t a heavy and rich oak like you see in bourbon. Instead, it’s much lighter, brighter, and more narrowly focused. The palate has vanilla, charred oak, almond, hazelnut, pear, and a touch of citrus pith. The oak brings in a nice edge of bitterness. The finish slowly unwinds as the tannins soften – starting with oak, and drifting into stewed fruit, then dried fruit, and then baking spice and a bit of pear and honey.

As in the glass, the bottle actually improves with a bit of air - the tannins break down nicely.

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

Value: Average against the market at $70.