ABV: 45% Bottle Size: 750ml
Single Malt Whisky
Bottler: Official Distillery Bottling by DeVine Distillery
Region: British Columbia
Cask Type: Ex-Bourbon
Age: 3 Years Aged
Release: Standard Small Batch Release
Cask Strength: No
Chill Filtration: No
Added Colouring: No
Peat Smoked: No
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**From the 2020 batch 5 release**
This is one of those whiskies which can be used as “Exhibit A” in any argument that tries to claim that small craft distilleries cannot stand up to the big guys. Quite simply put, this stands shoulder to shoulder with standard releases from well-established single malt distilleries around the world – and I would say it is actually better than a great many of them.
Glen Saanich is already a local phenomenon from its previous small releases and medal wins. Now with this first full-size release, I’m sure that its reputation will spread much further afield. Especially, as I would say unequivocally that this is the best release yet. It retains the now hallmark notes of spice, citrus and pear but adds layers of complexity, balance, and subtlety that simply were not there in previous releases.
That is not to say that previous releases weren’t also good, they certainly were. In fact the third edition (which wasn’t even a whisky yet as it was under three years old) came in second place at our whisky club’s blind tasting of distilleries beginning with “Glen”. When you’re up against 7 single malt scotches, and the only one that beats you is a 30-year-old single cask from Scotland’s oldest distillery, you know you’re onto something good.
Personally, the only “flaw” I found in the previous releases was that it was a bit too heavy on the bitter notes. The trademark spice blend was a bit raw, and there was the lingering note of shaved oak on the finish. With the swap to full size barrels instead of the previous quarter-sized ones, this is no longer an issue. The spice remains but is harmonious and balanced with the sweet, savoury, and zesty notes that come naturally from this wonderfully unique spirit.
For those unfamiliar with this style of tasting notes, it is borrowed from the playbook of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Whiskies are not just a list of flavours, they are a multisensory experience. Each one has a unique personality, and a name to suit. I dub this – “A Zensational Breakfast”
ADAM’S TASTING NOTES
**From the 2020 batch 5 release**
As you entered the cafe, aromas filled the room of the various breakfasts being enjoyed around you. One customer tucked into a thick creamy Greek yoghurt topped with a sharp gooseberry compote and slightly under-ripe strawberries fresh from the garden. Another was enjoying freshly made doughnuts, one stuffed with vanilla custard and another with applesauce spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and white pepper. Both were enjoying the smoothie of the day, yuzu kiwi delight.
After perusing the menu, you could not decide between sweet or savoury – so why not both? You started off with home-made peanut butter on a multigrain bagel. Nutty, malty, thick, and chewy. Then for the sweet part. Rich buttery shortbread spread with brandy butter and topped with a single leaf of fresh peppermint. This already decadent dish was made even more so with the inclusion of a slice of pear slathered in dulce-de-leche. No breakfast is complete without a cup of tea, so you opted for a vanilla London fog, which came with candied fennel seeds floating on the creamy foam. An all-around life-affirming experience which went above and beyond the call of duty for any breakfast.