Image courtesy of @frombarreltobottle
Shelter Point is not the first craft distillery in Canada to focus on whisky, that honour surely belongs to Cape Breton’s Glenora Distillery. Nor is it the first to produce a Scottish style single malt. There again, Glenora has them beat by more than 20 years with their Glen Breton Single Malt.
But there is something unique about Shelter Point, a similarity to the early Scottish distillers that is unique in the booming craft spirits industry in Canada. Shelter Point is first and foremost a farm. At the moment the berry sales to jam makers like Smuckers are really what’s paying the bills. The farm also grows barley, and what better way to add value to your product than make something more valuable from it. Founder Patrick Evans describes himself as a “farmpreneur”, and I can’t think of a better way not only describing Patrick but Shelter Point itself.
Patrick Evans’ is a third-generation farmer whose family has been farming in the Comox Valley of British Columbia since the turn of the 20th Century. He is now joined in the business by at least one of his three daughters and his son in law Jacob. Patrick purchased the land that is now Shelter Point Farm and Distillery in 2005. Situated along the coast of Vancouver Island where the Oyster River meets the sea, it was formerly a University of British Columbia research farm with a large dairy barn. That dairy barn now serves as warehousing and barley storage.
Construction on the distillery began in 2009, with the first spirit running in 2011. As with many other new and small-scale distilleries, white spirits provided some cash flow until the first whiskies were ready for sale. The first single malt, a 5-year-old, was released late in 2016. It was a big hit. The distillery has released a half dozen other expressions since then including a number of single casks, which takes us to today’s KWM Advent bottle.
This is the first of two Canadian single malts in the 2018 edition of the Kensington Wine Market Whisky Advent Calendar. We’ll leave it to your imagination to guess what the other is… This is also the second year in a row in which we have had a Shelter Point Single Malt in our calendar, but this year’s version is extra special. This time around we are showcasing our first Kensington Wine Market exclusive Shelter Point Single Malt single cask. We have also bottled a cask of Rye from Shelter Point (spoiler alert it is Alberta Distillers Rye)!
We hope you enjoy our first cask of Shelter Point Single Malt. We think it shows a tremendous amount of promise as the distillery moves forward!
Shelter Point 2012 Single Malt KWM Cask 206 – 59% – 6 Year – American Oak -
Andrew’s Tasting Note
Nose: honeyed and fruity with juicy malt; a soft earthy minerality makes way for Jujubes and warm apple-cinnamon pie; fall grasses and faint sea breeze; orange and subtle cloves.
Palate: round, juicy, fruity and warming; chewy malt, barley sugars and loads of candied citrus; the warm apple-cinnamon pie fresh from the oven is still there as are the Jujubes and honey tones; the body is smooth and creamy with soft spices; a touch of savoury maritime notes.
Finish: warm, coating, decadent and fruity; the finish is long and smooth.
Comment: this 6-year-old Canadian single malt is lovely; it is fruity and round with some lovely layers and oils; it is a sure sign of the even greater things still to come from Shelter Point! – $116