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Last Mountain Private Reserve

Review: Last Mountain Private Reserve Wheat Whisky   (88/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on May 05, 2017

The Last Mountain Distillery is Saskatchewan’s first micro distillery. It is owned and operated by the husband and wife team of Colin and Meredith Schmidt. Colin Schmidt took a rather round about road into the distilling business as his original dream was to play pro hockey. He was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in 1992 and signed his first pro contract in 1996. Unfortunately Colin’s pro hockey experience was brief, cut off by a few shoulder injuries after a brief stint with the big club playing what Colin referred to as “left bench”.

Photo Courtesy Brittany Bellamy (All Rights Reserved)

Photo Courtesy Brittany Bellamy (All Rights Reserved)

Fortunately for us, Colin had aspirations beyond a hockey career. After Colin left hockey behind, he and his wife, Meredith began to look for business opportunities in Saskatchewan, and the idea of starting up their own micro-distillery still appealed strongly to both of them. To make a long story short, in August of 2010, the ambitions and hard work of Colin and Meredith paid off when they opened Saskatchewan’s first micro-distillery, in Lumsden, Saskatchewan, called the Last Mountain Distillery.

According to the distillery website,  Last Mountain’s Private Reserve Whisky is a blend of 4 to 5-year-old wheat whisky which has been aged in a combination of used bourbon barrels and then finished in new 10 gallon oak barrels. The Wheat Whisky is bottled at 45 % alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle 4/5

Last Mountain bottles their Reserve Whisky in the rectangular bottle shown to the left. The front label is perhaps a little bland, however the back label gives us some nice information about the whisky (including the silver medal the spirit was awarded at the Canadian Whisky Awards in 2015) and the fact that the Last Mountain Distillery (proud to be Saskatchewan’s First Micro-distillery).

I like th synthetic cork topper, and my only real quibble is that the neck on the bottle is rather short which makes pouring a little difficult.

In the Glass 9/10

The whisky shows me a pale gold colour in the glass which gives me the inclination to believe that very little if any caramel colouring has been added to this 4 to 5-year-old whisky. When I give the glass a slow tilt and twirl I see that the film inside the glass has left a well-defined crest which drops medium-sized leglets which run at quickened pace back down the inside of the glencairn.

Initially the breezes above the glass bring me dusty wood spices and light rye-like scents as well as impressions of chaff and fresh grain from freshly harvested windrows. As I let the glass sit, some nice maple, butterscotch and sweet corn-like scents begin to build with yummy toffee, vanilla and light baking spices (cinnamon, ginger and a touch of cloves). There is a light fruitiness as well with both orange peel, apricots and a touch of orange marmalade. The wood spice has evolved as well bringing light indications of cedar alongside the oak.

In the Mouth 53/60

The rich nose does not disappoint in terms of flavour across the palate. I taste yummy butterscotch and maple melding with oak spice, leather and tobacco. There is a very appealing rye-like flavour and bitterness as well as a dusty dry spiciness which features both grain and wood spice combining with orange pith and touches of cinnamon. The whisky evolves as I sip, the flavours becoming more robust and appealing.  When I add ice to the dram some lovely chocolate flavours appear and the light sweetness of the whisky is diminished slightly.

I mixed a few cocktails, starting with a Canadian Whisky Splash, and then an Old Fashioned. Both serving were very good, although I certainly would also recommend sipping neat or on ice as well.

In the Throat 13/15

When sipped neat the whisky exits with flavours of maple combined with a lingering bitterness of rye and orange pith. Touches of cinnamon and wood spice complement the experience. When an ice-cube is added a soothing milk chocolate is drawn from the whisky.

The Afterburn 9/10

Last Mountain Private Reserve Whisky sits at that threshold with perhaps only a few more years of aging needed to cross that fine line which would send my scoring into the stratosphere. This is no fault of the whisky, The Last Mountain Distillery just hasn’t been around long enough to have any of its whisky reach that next level of maturity. Colin and Meredith have only been distilling whisky for a six years, and it seems they are well on their way to mastering the craft.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.

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Suggested Recipe:

Here is a cocktail which works well with any good Canadian Rye Whisky.

Canadian Whisky Splash

2 oz Last Mountain Private Reserve Whisky
2 or 3 Large Ice-cubes
Splash of Ginger-ale
Slice of Lemon or Lime

Add the Ice-cubes to a rocks glass
Pour the Whisky over the ice
Add a splash of Ginger Ale
Garnish with a lime slice
Enjoy!

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The Old Fashioned Cocktail

1 1/2 oz Last Mountain Private Reserve Whisky
1 tsp Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
1 dash Angostura Bitters
2 large Ice Cubes
1 twist of Orange Peel

Add the first three ingredients to a rocks glass over the ice cubes
Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink. (This will release the oil from the orange zest into the drink)
Drop the peel into the cocktail if desired.

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

Note: If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

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I am always asked what my numbers actually mean. In order to provide clarification, you may (loosely) interpret the scores as follows.

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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