About This Dram
If you are a whisky lover from Vancouver Island, chances are high that you’ve heard of Shelter Point. Based up in Courtenay, they have staked their claim as one of Canada’s best distilleries. That claim was backed up at the 2020 Canadian Whisky Awards as they took home eleven medals total for their whiskies – including a bronze medal for this exact whisky! Here at the Strath we’re no strangers to having medals awarded to our exclusive local whiskies though, as our first two single cask Shelter Points also both took home medals in 2019.
This eight-year-old whisky is the follow-up from last year’s silver medal-winning Classic Single Malt Whisky which we nicknamed “Raspberry Cheesecake”. In fact, it’s a sister cask to that whisky – from the same distillation and in the same type of cask. It’s a classic Scottish-style malt whisky, which as far as we can tell is the oldest BC Single Malt ever released!
Made with 100% BC barley, this whisky embodies the passion that Shelter Point puts into every bottle. As anyone in distilling knows, releasing whisky is a hard balancing game. You need to make money, so there’s always the temptation to sell your whisky early. But you also know that if you wait then the quality will go up substantially. It must have been hard then for Shelter Point to have held on to so much of their early whisky for this long. When we were offered a cask of eight year old – we were simply stunned. Eight is a number to be proud of. We have official bottlings of single malt Scotches on our shelves that are that age right now! Glendronach, Glenfarclas and Lagavulin just to name three – and no one can deny their quality. In truth, we were offered several different eight-year-olds – but this one was particularly good in our eyes.
Who is this “us” I speak of? Well, normally I’d be talking about the Strath tasting panel which includes Brett, Dave, Megan, and others. But in this instance, we had some external help choosing our casks. You may notice on the bottles that this whisky is “Exclusively at The Strath & The Union Club of BC”. Our friends across the road will have the honour of putting this behind their bar shortly – after an official launch party and tasting next month. Several club members and staff joined us on the panel including Spirits Advisor Angus Fedoruk, former Spirits Advisor Rick Sousa, Beverage Manager Richard Delowski, and Bartender (and Strath Alumni) Pat Dunlop. The Strath was actually outnumbered, as it was just Brett and myself representing the store!
The nose was very reminiscent of a Highland malt. In a blind tasting, I’d likely say Glen Garioch or maybe Glenglassaugh. That’s quite the compliment for the relative new-kids-on-the-block. There were notes of cherry wood, toffee, cloves, and walnuts followed by that classic banana note.
The palate revealed pralines and Maltesers with freshly baked scones. There was a note of dried grass, and somewhat curiously something that reminded us of raw cotton. A beautiful whisky that balances perfectly between subtlety and volume.