Shifting gears and geographical location once more, door number eleven brings us a lot closer to home (if your home also happens to be Calgary or thereabouts). Today, our Whisky Calendar giveth to us Release 2 of Eau Claire Distillery’s Single Malt Whisky!
Time flies. Eau Claire Distillery in the Turner Valley is now three years in on the whisky game. This year saw two whisky releases from them. Though we are tasting mini/50ml bottles of the Eau Claire Single Malt Whisky Release 2 that was behind door number eleven, the full-sized bottles of Release 3 were just made available on November 21st. The other whisky release from Eau Claire for this year was their Ploughman’s Rye Whisky. That was there first Rye Whisky release, and boy, was it good stuff. if you can still track down a bottle, I would suggest doing so.
Let’s go back a few years. Eau Claire Distillery was originally founded in 2014 by David Farran. It resides in the town of Turner Valley with is about an hour’s drive southwest of Calgary. The Distillery was installed in what was once Turner Valley’s movie theatre and Dance Hall, a building that was originally built 1929.
Eau Claire always planned to make whisky – more than that – they wanted to make whisky using grain from local fields when possible, even going old school and horse harvesting when they could. In order to do this the distillery of course needed income, and to enable this they have been making Vodka, Gin, and other spirits, and now even their own tonic water. This is party of the template for opening a distillery, and Eau Claire was the first craft distillery to do it in Alberta though many others have followed since.
The very good news for Eau Claire is that all of their products have been well-received, not just their whisky. Their story and operation gets people to make the trek to the distillery itself as well, or at the very least to go see their booth at the Calgary Farmer’s Market, which is also good for income.
So far, the future seems bright for the Eau Claire Distillery, so lets pour a glass of their Single Malt Whisky and offer them a toast before jumping into the glass ourselves!
The full sized bottles of this release are sold out, but Eau Claire was kind enough to bottle some of Release 2 in 50ml form exclusively for KWM and our Calendar. Release 2 was aged in a combination of ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry casks before being bottled at 43% ABV. Un-chillfiltered and with no colouring added. The whisky in this batch is between three and four years of age.
Evan’s Tasting Note
Nose: More wood is prominent than I recall noticing in the inaugural release. Cocoa powder, nugat, toasted hazelnuts, and cloves along with underlying fruit notes of bananas, lemons, and fresh peach slices.
Palate: Very creamy and also oily on the palate. Pastries and fresh out of the oven baked bread, chocolate coated almonds, vanilla and marmalade.
Finish: A bit more spice and wood notes on the finish. Lemon jujubes and a touch of Frangelico in there as well.
Comment: Like the First Release this is an oily and well-balanced whisky, especially for being so young. I do feel that the First Release had a bit more fruit on the nose and palate, but I have not tasted them side by side. I still hope that one day Eau Claire will do a release at higher than 43% ABV. This may be balanced and approachable, but it would be a ton of fun to taste a cask strength version of it.
Going back and re-tasting Release 2 of the Single Malt Whisky from Eau Claire was a lot of fun for me, especially hot on the heels of getting in the third release. Which one is better? Tough call – I should probably write up a tasting note for Release 3 when I have the time. But the Whisky Calendar comes first, so see you tomorrow at door number twelve!
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