When it comes to enjoying an adult beverage, there’s something special – for both the consumer & the producer – about having a bottle that’s won an award.
There’s the World Whiskies awards celebrating the global manufacturers.
Some people reference Jim Murrays Whisky Bible awards.
In Canada, there’s the Canadian Whisky Awards, which has award-winning author Davin de Kergommeaux at its lead, celebrating the amazing products from across the country.
This year in January, the 2018 awards were announced at the annual Canadian Whisky Awards event.
Last Mountain Distillery won a coveted Gold Award for their Cask Strength 100% Rye Whisky.
Colin & Meredith Schmidt opened Last Mountain in 2010. It was the 1st micro-distillery in Saskatchewan.
Last Mountain can be credited with introducing all kinds of innovation to the spirits landscape in this province.
a few bottles of which are still available at the Last Mountain location in Lumsden.
The fact they chose to produce a 100% Rye, Saskatchewan Rye to be exact, really speaks to their commitment to their craft.
Rye is incredibly tricky to work with. Braeden, the Production Manager at Last Mountain Distillery, told me their 1st few attempts actually resulted in concrete.
The team persevered and eventually was able to put their rye distillate into once-used Kentucky Bourbon barrels for aging for the minimum 3 years.
That waiting period has its own challenges, but at the end of it, Last Mountain had a product they knew would be a winner, a few bottles of which are still available at the distillery location in Lumsden SK.
Many Canadian Whisky’s are bottled at the minimum requirement of 40% abv.
But Last Mountain chose to keep their 100% Rye Whisky at 60%, cask strength – the alcohol level the liquid comes out of barrel.
The great thing about Cask Strength Whisky is the mouthfeel.
Cask Strength spirits always pack a punch and you can feel the weight of the liquid on your palate.
This is a quality whisky that I wouldn’t recommend mixing or using in a cocktail; it’s best savoured slowly, as a sipper.
Nose it, take a sip, swish it gently in your mouth and then bask in the flavours it releases as it slides down your throat.
If you do need to lighten it up a bit, use a pipette to drop water, a bit at a time, and stay alert to the changes in aroma & taste with the addition of water.
Last Mountain Distillery Cask Strength 100% Rye Whisky.
Color: 14kt gold.
Nose: Honey. Grass. Butter.
Palate: Dark Chocolate. Black Pepper. Tobacco Leaf. Smoke.
ABV: 60% Cask Strength
Balance: Excellent. Medium+
Complexity: Flavours build on the palate from peppery sweetness to smoky, roasted meat. There’s a very pleasant nutmeg influence on the retro-hale.
Canadian Rye History
When Canada was being settled, farmers would distill their excess grain – usually wheat or corn – which typically comes out with flavours that are very approachable, but, at the time, lacking in complexity.
Then someone decided to add rye to the distillate, giving it a little more sweetness and a very pleasant “bite” to the dram.
This new expression caught on. Consumers soon started to ask for “rye” when ordering a shot of whisky to ensure they were getting a pour that had rye in it.
Today, distillers produce some stellar 100% Rye products, but corn, wheat and barley continue to be the main grains used for Canadian Whisky, the majority of which are a blend of grains.
I love the label of Last Mountain Cask Strength 100% Rye Whisky.
It pays homage to both the province of Saskatchewan with credit to the province on the the bottle, the label of which includes artwork of grain.
Saskatchewan grows some of the finest grain in the world and the province has every reason to be proud of what its farmers produce.
The rectangular shape makes me think of the landscape of the province immediately!
Take a look and you’ll see the Canadian Whisky Awards 2018 Gold Award sticker on the bottle.
A well deserved honour for the hard-working, innovative team at Last Mountain Distillery.