single malt

Review: Shelter Point Single Cask Quail's Gate Foch Reserve Finish by Jason Hambrey

Finished in Quail's Gate Foch Reserve Wine Casks
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Shelter Point (Vancouver Island, British Columbia)

Marechal Foch is not a common wine for the table, but they grow quite a bit of it in BC. It is originally a hybrid grape variety originating in France, but it often has a really intense characteristic. It’s grown in Loire, in France, but you see it more often in North America and there are a number of BC producers. I’ve had a few foch wines, and I often have thought that they might make good whisky casks. Well, here we are!

This was a limited single cask bottling, with only 228 bottles produced from the barrel and released in 2019.

Review (2019)

  • Batch: Single Cask Release No. 2

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2019

At the nose – we have what is very much a shelter point single malt.  I do like what the wine casks do to the spirit. Brown sugar, blackberries, currants, black cherries – but also some dried peach, baking spice, and dried ginger. A nice dried cherry note, too. Relatively bright for a finished shelter point, with a softer fruit and oak character. It softens with time. The palate is full of fruit- almost “juicy” but also has toffee, dried ginger, brown sugar and a bit of wine tannins. Baking spice builds into the finish. Lots of spices on the palate.

It’s good both without water and with a drop or two. It softens and opens up, but loses a bit of its (nice) edge with water so it’s a tradeoff.

I can’t resist but compare to the double barreled with the pinot noir cask, which is a bit richer, darker and denser (not always a good thing). This is quite a bit lighter in colour. I find the double barreled oakier, spicier, and bigger with more of a dried fruit characteristic. This single barrel focuses more on lighter fruit – stone fruit and berries. Oddly enough, I would have thought the casks – pinot noir and foch, would have given the whiskies the opposite of the characteristics that they achieved.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher). this is very nice, and a nice example of what a single barrel can do.

Value: Average. A pretty good price for a pretty good whisky, competing against all whiskies. If single malts are your thing, this is a better than average value buy in my opinion.

Review: Glen Breton Rare Aged 10 Years Single Malt Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

This whisky is made at the Glenora distillery in Nova Scotia (i.e., “New Scotland”), in Eastern Canada. It was the first Canadian single malt (and, indeed, the first North American single malt), but since then more malt whiskies have been produced and bottled by craft distillers. It is from a pretty small distillery (producing about 50,000 litres annually) on the island of Cape Breton, in Nova Scotia, which sits alongside an inn in a beautiful setting. The distillery is perhaps most well known for the lawsuit set against them by the Scotch Whisky Association, trying to get the word “Glen” removed as it sounds particularly scottish. And indeed it does, especially in an area made up of old Scottish immigrants where Gaelic is still freely spoken and taught in schools! Glenora won, and the whisky retains the name “Glen Breton”. This 10 year old version has been around since 2005, and is aged in ex-Jack Daniels casks.

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