Monday, October 28, 2013

Whisky Writer's Circle - Profile: Charlie MacLean

Yes I am dedicated and almost obsessive when it comes to some things in my life. It is with great commitment that I seek, research, absorb (unlike some sponges these days...), live & breathe when I am passionate about a subject. I took to track & field in high school with that determination and precision. I feel the same about sailing, especially competitively. And then, there's whisky...

My non-whisky friends think I'm an idiot/savant or a heavy drinker and my whisky friends think I'm one of the biggest geeks they know as for me, well I know one thing:  

I can't imagine that ever changing. Part of being such a geek stems from the fact that I still love to read everything I can get my hands on may it be other blogs, articles, magazines and of course books. When I decided to write this series, I went back to some of the first books/magazines I read and just like my first whiskies I have a soft spot for some of those too. The pocket guide to Scotch Whisky was one of the first books I ever read. I found it at the library many moons ago. I sat, thumbed through it quietly and read for close to 2 hours when I was suppose to be studying for an exam: Best 2 hours of "wasted" time, ever! It was easy to understand, well written and simple. The terminology didn't overwhelm my newbie brain. I devoured that book and like every other whisky fan, hoped that someday I would actually get to meet the author. Meet him, I did... Spirit of Toronto May 2013, word came out that he would be leading one of the master classes. A) I was going to SoT and B) I had a ticket. His class was great. He is a fantastic speaker and presenter however, at a class or event you rarely get the opportunity to talk or really converse so it was an even greater pleasure that I was given the chance to dram with him and Ralfy for about 30 minutes. It was an opportunity for me to share my pride and love of Canadian whisky with two icons. Not fluffy conversation but real discussion about how the industry is changing, how perceptions on Canadian whisky are changing and that it is a shame that it isn't more readily available anywhere else in the world. Both of them loved the rye flavor, the sour overtones and the punch of spices. I, on the other hand, still struggle with the Lot 40 neat and have to add water to be able to enjoy it. Charlie mentioned it was refreshing to see someone admit that water was needed in a whisky and that too many "snobs" were trying to dictate how people should enjoy their drams. More discussion, more whisky and a night I won't forget. It was truly whisky bliss as far as the experience goes. 
Ralfy, Charlie and me enjoying a Lot 40 together
I wasn't sure he would remember me and I really wanted to have him as part of this series so this fall I contacted Mr. MacLean and asked if he would partake and he replied immediately with a resounding yes. 

Ladies & Gentlemen, it is with great pleasure and respect that I present: Mr. Charlie MacLean.


Interview begins:  

So how did you get “here”?  When you were a little boy, I’m sure you didn’t say:  “When I grow up I want to be a whisky writer”?

"Ha! I don't think there was such a creature as a 'whisky writer' when I was a boy! Most seem to have been professors or gentlemen of private means with an amateur interest in whisky - George Saintsbury, David Daiches, RJS McDowall, Michael Brander, Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart, etc.

I did, however, encounter malt whisky as a boy in the late 1960s - the father of my best friend at school owned The Glenlivet distillery, and I used to go there for holidays. I wrote my first piece for a whisky company - a brochure, for Bells - in 1981. The rest, as they say, is history. I am currently working on my 13th book about whisky".

What motivates you to still be in this part of the industry? Sometimes it can be quite unkind and very few can make a living doing this?

"I love the product. I love its history. I love the people who work in the industry. I love the people who enthuse about whisky. It is the life-blood, the quintessence, of Scotland, and I love Scotland with a passion. The industry has been kind and generous to me, by the way".

What sacrifices or tough decisions have you made to get to where you are now?

"Writing a book takes a long time, during which you tend to become totally immersed - you can't sleep properly, you keep odd hours, you sometimes drink and smoke too much. Also, since it earns you peanuts, the bank begins to bark and your wife begins to despair. As for decisions... I don't think I have ever made one in my life... I am entirely 'reactive'."

Since I saw you in May what have you been working on?  Care to share what some of your upcoming plans are?

"The current book is a history of Matthew Gloag & Son, creators of The Famous Grouse brand. I am nearly finished, and I have loved every minute of the research back to 1800. Next I have been asked to write text for a coffee table book about whisky by a famous photographer, called 'Spirit of Place'. And after that a book about smuggling (illicit distilling).

When I'm not writing, I'm traveling - tasting and talking about whisky: up-coming trips between now and January include New York, Paris, Monte Carlo, Dusseldorf, Basel, Stockholm, Helsinki, Jerez and Antigua."

If you could go back in time and talk to Charlie MacLean in 1984, what would you want to tell him?

"Keep taking the drugs...

Really, there's nothing I would change. I count myself extraordinarily fortunate."  End of interview...

After each interview I read and reread my notes and I'm always in awe at some of the responses. 

What exactly am I looking for through this series? A blogger challenged me after I wrote about Dominic Roskrow and criticized me for not being critical enough to ask the hard hitting questions like a good journalist would. I was flattered to a certain extent that he would compare me to a journalist (lol...) but I told him if he wanted those type of questions answered to ask Dominic himself. Of course he didn't and that doesn't surprise me. As for me, well I will leave the "hard hitting" journalism pieces for Mark Gillespie.

These pieces about my favorite whisky writers are not exposés or hard hitting journalism articles. They are another part of the journey that constantly evolves. I am always trying to figure out how I fit in, not only as a woman but as a blogger and serious enthusiast. I love to write, I love whisky. Sometimes I feel like my blog doesn't matter.  That I'm not moving fast enough and getting "there"... but in the end, I'm not even sure where "there" is?

I tend to think that these people, these icons that I consider giants didn't worry about the end result because, well because it's not the end. 

So what I'm learning for the time being is to keep putting one foot in front of the other, keep my eyes/ears open to opportunities and to continue doing what it is I'm doing... Whatever that is? Maybe some day I can look back and that is when I will realize where the "there" was.  Who knows?

Thanks to Charlie for the interview as well as the dram in Toronto. It means a lot to me that I get to do this and better yet, my way.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Forty Creek Whisky Weekend Review

So what happens when a whisky maker decides he should throw a party and invite 3500 of his closest friends?   Forty Creek Whisky Weekend happens.

As most of you who read my blog know I made a decision in 2012 to review 5 whisky events across Canada for 2013.  Forty Creek Whisky Weekend is event #4 for me.  I've been to Victoria, Toronto, Halifax, and now Grimsby!  

Let me take a moment to remind you what parameters and scoring mechanism I am using:

Cost (accommodations, events, classes, etc)
Venue (locale, food, geographic location)
Classes (Quality, type, time, etc)
Main event (Availability of whiskies, venue, services, knowledge of the exhibitors, etc)
Overall personal experience (People, Place, Whisky).

Scoring sheet:
A (90 - 100) Exceptional value
B (80 - 90)  Great value
C (70 - 80) Good value
D (60 - 70) Some value (FAIL) - No value

Ready?  Here we go...

Forty Creek Whisky Weekend has been in existence since 2008. It takes place in the small town of Grimsby, on Lake Ontario. It's a 2 day celebration that runs the last weekend in September.    

COST: Accommodations:  There are two hotels within a mile of the distillery. Now for me, that's walking distance for others, a 5 min car ride. Neither hotel was affiliated with the weekend event so no discounts available, but like the savvy traveler I am, I called around and found they had specials going on if you were a member of the CAA, etc.. Super 8 was charging $105, but I was able to find an $89 rate online. Small savings of $16.  

Events: Tour of the Distillery including the sleeping whisky warehouse (only does this for this specific weekend). Musical performances all weekend outside on the deck. Whisky Bottle Signings by John Hall himself. ALL FREE!  

John also brings in Southern Food Smoke Trucks.

Classes: Forty Creek offered for the first time the opportunity to assist in an event they dubbed the Whisky Cast tasting featuring Mark Gillespie, Davin de Kergommeaux, myself and John Hall. Tickets were $40.00.

Consumer Tastings:  In the FC store there is a tasting bar at the back where you can try all the Forty Creek Distillery offerings.  FREE

So total cost for an actual "ticket" = $40.00

Total cost for Lodgings & Whisky events = $238.00 (That did not include meals).


VENUEForty Creek Distillery is situated in the town of Grimsby Ontario. It's nestled between Burlington and the lovely Niagara Valley.  Although you can't land there, it's accessible from Toronto Pearson (YYZ) & with a car rental it's quite easy to get to.  

Pro #1: For a "small" distillery it's quite modern & spacious and you get to see most of the process John uses to make his products (no tour of the quality assurance lab).

Pro #2:  My hotel is in walking distance (again, by my definition).  

Pro #3:  Niagara Falls & Wine Country is less than 15 minutes away!

Con #1:  Store area is way too small for this particular weekend's turnout!  

Something I'd like to point out was the food at Southern Smoke Truck. The ribs were heavenly. I usually find them tough, grizzly and don't enjoy eating them.  I'd post a picture of Graham and I eating ours, but it's way too embarrassing.  Sort of looked like this:


I will have to cheat a little here and combine Main event with Classes as this is not a traditional Whisky show.

CLASSES/MAIN EVENT:  No other distilleries in Canada open their doors to the public or offer events. Forty Creek Whisky Weekend does both. They also offered a class held offsite for anyone who wanted the opportunity to try the following:  100% corn whisky, 100% rye whisky, 100% barley whisky, Barrel Select, Copper Pot Reserve, Double Barrel Reserve, Confederation Oak and of course this year's special release:  Heart of Gold. The class was led by John Hall with each panelist discussing and presenting one whisky. A class was offered each of the two days, cost $40. This was the first year John did this and it sold out both days weeks in advance. Considering this is a completely different venue then a traditional whisky show, I'll be a bit generous on the score as I feel this was quite an innovative and different thing to try. From an educational perspective this was a great class/event as many people would never have the opportunity to try such a range of whiskies, especially the 100%.


OVERALL PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: As I travel from coast to coast experiencing what Canada has to offer, it's easy to say that the best part of every event is getting to meet people from the whiskyfabric that I so often talk about. This was no different. Our entire weekend was spent surrounded by the people we have come to call our friends. I can't begin to describe the conversations, the late night shinanigans or the quiet moments spent sharing a dram with a few select people. The whiskies are great no matter where we go but the end result is the memory of who we shared them with. That's what stays with me. 

Bantering with Ross and winding him up tighter than a drum was so much fun and I'll never be able to eat Steven's "whisky balls" again without breaking into fits of laughter. Meeting Val all the way from Alberta or the fact that Amy brought a very special and rare whisky for us to try, just because. Being reduced to tears while listening to Mark and Davin utter hilarity is not something you will "find" in the middle of a whisky show. The opportunity to have supper with John & his extended family was priceless. Sharing a quiet moment among friends as John pulled a rare spirit out of his "vault", surreal. I think you get my point. This little event was by far the best for time with friends and meeting even more people than I could have possibly imagined. Having twitter followers come forward, introduce themselves and spend a few minutes talking about whisky with me - WOW! 

The Heart of Gold whisky might be gone soon, but the memories of the weekend and all its lovely people will last me a lifetime. By far the best "overall" experience yet for 2013...


Final score for this whisky event:

Now I know some of you are going to think that I may have scored this a bit unfairly if you compare it to a whisky show, but I'm not.  It was a whisky event and for the cost, it's definitely worth a B+.  This is a well organized, well run weekend event that has a little bit of everything:  Music, whisky, food, tours, shopping, you name it.  It's all right there on site for an extremely reasonable price, and the best part:  IT'S A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. 

Nowhere else will you feel like you are family like this and I'm not "tooting" any horns.  I spoke to people who travel all the way from Texas, BC and NS to come to this event, EVERY YEAR...  

So what happens when a distillery decides to throw a whisky weekend? Like I said 3500 of your closest friends come and enjoy themselves immensely. Thanks to John, Beth, Dave, Tim and all the others who made Whisky Weekend such a special event.  

Whisky Weekend will take place on September 27 & 28th 2014.  I for one, plan on being there.  Hope you will consider it too.

Thanks for tagging along...


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Tweeddale, Richard's legacy reborn...

Up until November 2012 I had never even heard of Tweeddale Whisky. I saw a few tweets about it and looked up the website only to discover it was another highly recommended whisky that was not available in North America. Bah! So, I put it on my "list" of whiskies to try or trade for. Then in April of 2013, a fellow blogger that I follow posted a review of it following a fun little blind competition he had on twitter: and I remember thinking, hmmm... I really have to try and get this if it fooled Tom!? In the usual Whisky Lassie style when I ask the universe for something, it comes to me, and it did. After I attended the Spirit of Toronto Whisky Gala in May of this year I found myself at a great little after party where I was fortunate (as always) to meet so many wonderful people from the #whiskyfabric. I ended up sharing a plate of sweet potato fries with a lovely couple sitting at our table. Lots of great discussion, laughing and sharing a passion for the water of life. It was truly a great night. As my luck would have it, a few weeks later that same lovely couple called us and said they would be representing/bringing in Tweeddale in Canada and would we care to meet/discuss it with Alasdair Day.  
My eyes grew wide with excitement and I thanked the lovely whisky universe for plopping this fantastic opportunity right into my lap. Would we!!?? And so began yet another whisky adventure. A few phone calls, a couple of schedule adjustments and the next thing I knew we were doing an interview with Alasdair himself. Who is he, you ask? He's the great grandson of Richard Day who started his career as an office boy at the J&A Davidson Company in 1895. Richard moved along in his career and began to blend the whiskies. At the age of 43, he took over the business and continued blending whiskies up until prior to WWII where production stopped because grain was rationed for the war effort. Richard's son came back from the war and wanted nothing to do with the family business. He chose a a career as a Customs Officer and left to travel the world. With nobody to continue the family tradition, Richard retired and slowly sold off the whisky stock. The end... well sort of.  The same week Richard passed away his great grandson Alaisdair was christened.  As Alasdair put it:  "I'm sure we passed each other in the tunnel". It would be years before he even heard about his great grand father. When he was old enough to share a dram with his dad, the "book" came out.
Richard's recipe book
It's all that really survived from the family business: the cellar book originally used as an accounts ledger for J&A Davidson. If you thumb through the front of the book, there is even an entry where his great-great grandfather purchased a few crates of beer for the estate in 1881. Flip to the back of the book and you find Richard's hand written recipes for the blended whiskies he made between 1899-1916. The cellar book was handed down from father to son for the next three generations. It became a tradition for Alasdair's father to take the book out on special occasions. The conversation would always lead to trying to recreate one of those recipes.  This went on for years until Christmas 2008 when his dad seriously put the idea forward so Alasdair decided he would.  It took almost 18 months but in May of 2010 the first batch of Tweeddale blend went to market.  
As most of you know I'm always fascinated about "the journey" so it came as a wonderful surprise to find out that prior to starting Stonedean Limited the only real whisky connection he had was that of being the consumer and according to his wife, he was a single malt "snob"! Ironically his background is the food industry like his great grand father (J&A Davidson was a licensed grocer).  Alasdair has come a long way since 2010 and has released 3 more batches since then. It's almost impossible to get a bottle of Batch 1 or Batch 2.  
So when Ken asked if I'd like to try Batch 3, the wheels began to turn (as they so often do) and I came up with the idea of the Coast to Coast Canada whisky twitter tasting.  Alasdair loved the idea. Wheels in motion and Lassie off in total planning mode.  It was not difficult to find participants. Canada has a healthy population of twitterers that love whisky as much as I do.  I had to turn people away actually, well because there's only so many pours in a bottle.  26 people from BC to NFLD took part. We scheduled 2 hours on Wednesday Oct 2 and the madness began!  The feed blew up, it was fast & furious tweeting.  People sent great photos of them getting ready for the inaugural event.  

Trolls guarding mystery sample

Doing it "Canadian style"

What I really enjoyed the most about this twitter tasting was that we were doing it blind & I asked people to be as honest as possible.  If they didn't like something I wanted them to say so. Why would I ask them to do that?  The biggest reason:  Honesty is important to me and I feel that we have a responsibility as consumers to let the whisky makers know what they are doing right and what/if anything they can improve on.  

Our event was so successful we trended 1st in Canada and 30th overall in the world.  Not bad for a small bunch of "Canadians" eh?   hehe   

So what did I think of the Tweeddale Blend #3 

Color:  This is non-colored whisky.  It reminds me of a nice Chardonnay. Crisp "yellow". Legs are very oily and plentiful.  

Nose:  As soon as you open the whisky, it's impossible not to recognize the smell of apples.  I personally found it reminded me of fresh pressed apple cider which we get every fall after the harvest.  Beautifully sweet on the nose.  Very "green" smelling.  One participant to the #C2CC described it as sweet peas right on the vine.  I thought that was a very nice descriptor.  Once the apples are gone, ginger spice as well as the distinct smell of citrus.  I wrote down:  Lemon custard with a graham cracker crust.

Palate:  Not as "hot" as I expected it to be.  It's got a bit of vanilla on the front but it's the sweet oak that I find is predominant at first.  Once it sits in the glass the spice is back, again candied ginger peel and the taste of green grapes, especially the skins.

Finish:  Short, hot and peppery.  A bit of a let down after the lovely nose/palate experience.

We did this tasting blind, so gradually hints were revealed as the hours went by.  When I revealed this was a blend, many were dumbfounded.  Then the guesses turned to Compass Box...  (which is a huge compliment in my book).  Finally the reveal and most of the twitterers were super happy to have tried such a unique blend.  

As for me, I was proud to host the first Cross Canada Twitter Tasting.  Even more happy that we were privileged to have Tweeddale as the sponsors.  I like doing things differently.  I love sharing good whisky. Just so happens, so does Alasdair.

Thank you very much to Ken from

 & Alasdair Day, whisky maker

Also will be hosting a twitter tasting with Alasdair on October 16th.  All 4 of the batches will be tasted.

AND...  Alasdair Day will be hosting a Master Class at Whisky Live Toronto on November 1st.

Some people may say I "drink the Kool-aid" and jump on bandwagons.  I would like to say, those that know me well will tell you I genuinely love promoting good whisky.  Plain & simple.  It's about being open to opportunities and paying attention.  Who knew sharing a plate of sweet potato fries would lead to all this?

Thanks again to all 25 participants, it was a blast and we will be doing it again sometime soon.

To the rest of you, if you can get your hands on any of the Tweeddales, try them.  They are a good quality whisky that is quite enjoyable to drink.

Until next time, my partner in crime and I are off to try and get flights to Toronto!   hehe

The one and only.... Lassie

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Whisky Writer's Circle - Profile: Ian Buxton, the ultimate Keeper of the Quaich...

"There is a book called the 101 whiskies to try before you die?" I asked my friend Dave Worthington on a Skype call last year.  "Yah, for sure.  It's brilliant", he replied and so began my journey into the world of Ian Buxton. I've heard many people talk about their quest to try the 101 whiskies he recommends.  Not a feat that is difficult to do as most of them are readily available all over the world & I've even helped a few people with the Canadian whiskies Ian recommends.

The truth of the matter lies in the fact that I had never really heard of Ian Buxton before my conversation with Dave last year.  Actually, I had read a lot of his articles in Whisky Magazine so what I should say is I had no idea he was such a great author.  Fellow bloggers "For Whiskey Lovers" did a small piece about him that sheds light on his many accomplishments:

What I enjoy the most about Ian's style of writing is that he writes for the everyday guy/girl which in my opinion is why most of us can relate to him. He preaches to the choir:  Don't invest, drink and enjoy now!  I respect that deeply because whisky is meant to be enjoyed, not just sit and gather dust.  

Ladies and gentlemen, I present:  Ian Buxton.

Thank you for doing this with me Ian, I appreciate it immensely.

Q1:  So how did you get “here”?  When you were a little boy, I’m sure you didn’t say:  “When I grow up I want to be a whisky writer”?

"By accident; like most things in life! I had helped Whisky Magazine (in a very small way) get started in the UK. Shortly after it launched they asked my opinion on something; published a piece and then asked for more. A few years ago I ran down my consultancy practice (though I still do some strategy and NPD work with various brands) in order to concentrate on writing. I’m not sure what I will be when I grow up, a rather depressing prospect that always seems to be around the corner and which I try to avoid thinking about."

Q2:  What motivates you to be in this part of the industry? Sometimes it can be quite unkind and very few can make a living doing this?

"I’m not really sure what else I would do. This is perfectly agreeable and I appear to have survived for the past 20 years or so without selling my children into slavery."

Q3:  What sacrifices or tough decisions have you made to get to where you are now? 

"None.  At least none that come to mind. My wife might disagree."

Q4:  You are working on some interesting projects, care to share what some of your upcoming plans are?

I was always very pleased to have helped re-publish Aeneas MacDonald’s Whisky and flattered that – just the other day – someone noticed and blogged about it.  Now that was an important book. Unfortunately, the man who wrote it, is dead.  However, what's next for me is to get through to Christmas and then take a short break. There is a new book due out later this year (The Science & Commerce of Whisky, co-authored with Professor Paul Hughes and published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.  I had held a whisky tasting at their Annual Conference in Glasgow in 2009 which went well and they asked me for a book. I realized I couldn’t possibly attempt the scientific side of this so I asked Paul, who is Director of the Heriot Watt University International Centre for Brewing & Distilling (Edinburgh), if he would collaborate. In a moment of weakness he agreed.  It will be published in November – details here.  It’s quite technical but could be of some interest to the new wave of craft distillers."

Q5:  If you could go back in time and talk to Ian Buxton in 1984, what would you want to tell him?

"Big company ‘careers’ are not all they are cracked up to be and this above all: 

To thine ownself be true. ~ Shakespeare

End of interview...

I realize that the #whiskyfabric is a very small niche when it comes to a market for authors.  However, they must be doing something right because the few of us seem to buy the many.  Ian's book is a very popular choice for people just getting into whiskies. It gives them the opportunity to read, learn and branch out into the whiskies of the world not just scotches.  I think that's important for our continued education and willingness to explore.  

Thanks Ian for doing this interview with me.  I for one, look forward to your next book with anticipation and excitement. But, then again I'm a whisky geek at heart!


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Get your Stalk & Barrel Here!!! - Cask 5, 8 and more!

I was honored to be a panelist for Forty Creek Whisky Weekend that took place on September 28 & 29th.  Graham and I went up a a few days earlier which gave us the opportunity to visit with some friends as well as stop in to Stillwaters to see what Barry & Barry were up to next.  I'm beyond thankful we did because we were treated to great conversation and even better whisky.  We were fortunate enough to get to try Cask 5, Cask 8 and a bit of a surprise.

Cask 5 will be bottled at 60.3%, yet another cask strength release.  I have to say I've been fortunate enough to try Cask 1, 2, 3 and now 5 & 8.  Of the three cask strength releases, #5 is my favorite.

Nose:  Rum raisin ice cream:  Creamy, juicy golden sultanas!  Reminds me of a New Orleans Bread Pudding my husband and I make.  Delicious vanilla custard. Very rich.  I would almost say seductive.  It really draws you in!

Palate:  There is a peppery sweetness about this that is superb.  Hot tamales from my childhood.  Sweet cinnamon! Then the rest of the spices hit:  Cloves, ginger and a bit of white grapefruit in the corners.

The finish:  LOOOOONG!  Warm and with a bit of fresh sawdust on the exhale.  

Empty glass:  Sweet caramel, milk chocolate.  Rich toffee.

This is by far the best cask I've tried yet at this distillery and I told him so on the spot!  "When is this available"? I asked.  It's not... well at least not in Canada. My shoulders slumped, my hopes dashed (I"m out of cask 2 already!?) None of it is staying in Canada, I repeated!  "I'm afraid not", Barry replied. Where is it going I said enjoying the last drops in my glass. "USA".  USA?!  Where, who, how, when?  Barry laughed...  

So for those of you looking to try a really great Canadian Single Malt Whisky that will be bottled and available at cask strength keep your eyes peeled this month.  This fabulous whisky will be available in limited release to the following states:  ILLINOIS, MASSACHUSETTS, MINNESOTA, PENNSYLVANIA and WASHINGTON.

If you are lucky enough to be going to Jewbilee in New York City, some very lucky people will get to try Cask 5 Stalk & Barrel whisky from Stillwaters.  DON'T MISS OUT on the opportunity!  

Cask 8 will be available in Canada this Sunday, October 6th at the distillery.  It's bottled at 46%. Sorry, I didn't take notes, I simply enjoyed drinking it and would have taken some home had it been bottled and ready.

The surprise we tasted:  I asked he pour it blind, which he did.  I took my time and sat down to nose it.  Barry seemed to be bursting at the seams with this one and quite excited. Again, I can see why.  Quietly, I nosed/tasted the whisky as all of us enjoyed this lovely pour.  My initial thoughts:

Nose:  Fresh marshmallow root, powdered sugar and marzipan.  Beautiful light aroma of almond oil, with slight woody spicy in the background:  Sandalwood?  

Palate: Green apples (a bit of sour in the corners), wine gummies and beautiful mouth watering fullness!

Finish:  A bit hot, candied ginger peel. Not overly long but quite enjoyable.  It has spunk!

The reveal:  Their 95% rye that's still ageing.  It's only 1 1/2 years old!   WOW....  This is not at all what I had expected.  If this keeps ageing as well as it currently is, I highly expect this will be a lovely well balanced rye.  Probably one of the best on the Canadian market.  KEEP YOUR EYES AND EARS OPEN for this one in a couple of years!!!

So all in all, our distillery visit was not only fantastic but as always we were treated to great hospitality, great conversation and delicious whiskies.  

If you live in Canada and have a chance to get these whiskies, please do.  Not only are you supporting "local" but you are buying a very good Single Malt Whisky.  If you live in the USA and can get your hands on a cask 5 bottling, DO.  If you try this whisky and don't like it, I will BUY it from you!  Not kidding...
I will buy it.

Thanks Barry & Barry for yet another great whisky on the market.  I for one can't wait to see what happens next at your distillery.