44% ABV - British Columbia, Canada
Nose: An overwhelming amount of spice (nutmeg, clove, cinnamon) followed by some bread, fresh oak, and a light sweetness in the background.
Taste: Lots more of those spices, but now accented with roasted malt, roasted nuts, roasted coffee… a slight woodiness, and there is still a background of fruit sweetness. Teasings of smoke.
Finish: Spices, wood spices, clove, and dry grasses. There is a slight sweetness that mixes and lasts with the spice. Capped with a slight smokiness at the end… must be from all that roasted-ness.
The flavours immediately remind me of another small craft distillery located in Cannon Beach, Oregon, …the Cannon Beach Distillery. When I tried the single malt they are producing down there, I thought that it was so unique and so memorable and that I’d never come across it again! Alas, here it is just a handful of hours away from me. Some sad news though as I was reminiscing; I learned that the Cannon Beach Distillery has closed for good. I believe that the bottles were only available in Oregon, so if you see any it’s your last chance...
But, let’s get back to this bottle of whisky from Pemberton Valley that I have in hand. Did you know that this is an organic malt? The certification is printed right on the bottle! Which, the bottle by the way, has a beautifully printed label right on the glass – no paper and glue found here. Big points on the bottle design in general, although I am not a fan of the white wax seal… I think that I had quite the struggle getting it off.
The text on the back of the bottle states the production of this whisky used "full size bourbon barrels" for aging, but I would have sooner guessed that new American Oak played a big part. I wonder if they source barrels from neighbouring distilleries in Washington state, like Chuckanut Bay or 2bar Spirits?
One of my first thoughts regarding the flavour profile is that some more age might work wonders, but this here is nearly 6 years old. It’s remarkably spicy–no, not like chili or jalpeño–but, rather it is filled with baking spices and wood spices. I really feel that this has been imparted by the cask. It would be great to try this side-by-side some new make spirit from the distillery to see what the difference is. This one, for my palate, will be better enjoyed in a cocktail, or possibly with soda, where the spices can be tamed. Other reviews that I found for Pemberton Valley Single Malt Single Cask suggested there should be more fruits, but I couldn’t come across another posting that sampled the same cask or distillation date.
Details: Cask 02. Bottle 175. Distilled September 2014. Bottled June 2020.
Tasted 17 July & 27 October 2020. (Posted 28 October 2020.)