Despite the claims on the website, this isn’t “scotch styled” single malt. It’s single malt, reimagined. The malted barley notes do come through, but this is a North American style single malt. I do hate going on about this point, but marketing needs to meet expectation, and this isn’t “scotch styled.”
It is, though, a single malt made in British Columbia. That deserves its own label, bragging rights, and expectations for flavour. North American single malts are going to be huge. This is a category that was lacking several years ago, but today, North American distilleries are making impressions. I learned this when judging the World of Whisky Awards. I had some terrific single malts from the United States.
Laird of Fintry is released via lottery. I was fortunate to have a sample of the 2016 given to me by a friend with no ties to the distillery. I’m glad they did! It’s quite the pour of whisky. In 2016, it was said that 8000 put their names in for the bottle, and only about 1500 were sold at $75 Canadian.
The distillery is Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery. They’ve been releasing this single malt since 2013. The malted barley is 100% BC locally grown. Their other products include pretty much everything, including infused whiskies, gins, and vodkas. Proceeds from sales go to help support the Friends of Fintry charity.
Laird of Fintry 2016 - 42%
Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery
Category: Single malt, Canadian whisky
Nose: Youthful bright citrus notes. Noses a touch too young, but it’s not stringent. The caramels are beautiful, and the zest is peppy. There’s nice herby nature to the this that compliments the nuttiness. As with any young whisky, it’s reminiscent of perfume scents, but this is a nice celebration of that nose. Ultimately, it’s a mixed bag of scents not commonly found together, but it works pretty well!
Palate: Nutty, caramel, flat cola. These are the first things that come mind. It’s quite pithy! It’s a little thin in mouthfeel, and the orange citrus notes are watered down, but they hold their own through the finish. The pepper notes are tempered, but present. The finish is quite dry, pithy, and spicy. There’s hint of bitters (the bad kind), but plenty of oily notes to make up for it. It’s herbal, unconventional, and interesting. Liquorice. Bitters. A little of those fake sugar notes. The tasting notes really do go on and on. They’re all brought back together by those nutty cola orange citrus notes that work quite well.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ If the opportunity strikes, get it! It won't disappoint.
Aged in both American oak and French oak, this whisky is a handful. It’s rare that a whisky with this much going on “works.” My tasting notes were all over the place. Saying that, this is a great interpretation of a single malt from BC. It has that nice edge, a decent weight of flavours, and the nose, palate, and finish tell a great story. Is this a whisky for everyone? That’s hard to say. Though I will say that if you have an opportunity to taste this, do it! If you’re able to win future releases in the lottery, this is an easy buy.
*Whisky Cabinet Rating Explained:
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Not recommended
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ Good whisky, but not a ‘must-have’
★ ★ ☆ ☆ Your great regular rotation whisky that'll come and go
★ ★ ★ ☆ Excellent, a near must-have
★ ★ ★ ★ Extraordinary, memorable, and original