Last Mountain Single Cask 100 % Wheat Whisky
Review: Last Mountain Single Cask 100 % Wheat Whisky (87.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on February 15, 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”.
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.
Last Mountain’s Single Cask Wheat Whisky is Saskatchewan’s first Single Cask Wheat Whisky, and it is produced from wheat grown at the Brewster Farm in Earl Grey, SK. The whisky is drawn from a single cask once used bourbon barrel, non blended and non chill filtered. It is bottled at 45 % alcohol by volume.
In the Bottle 5/5
Last Mountain’s Single Cask Wheat Whisky arrives in the solid gray stubby whisky bottle shown to the left. The colour of the bottle is unique and draws the eye to it in a retail setting.The label is professional with a colour scheme which not only is easy on the eyes it also pairs very well with the gray bottle.
The fact that the whisky is made 100% from wheat, rather than from corn or rye is highlighted, and a closer inspection of the label reveals the cask number the whisky was drawn from (13-08-01). Not shown is the gray cloth bag which houses the whisky which looks quite nice as well.
My only niggle with the bottle presentation is that we are unable to see the fill line of the whisky inside. I like to know when my whisky bottle is almost empty so that I can go buy another before I run out. I suspect I am not alone in that sentiment. That is however, just a niggle, and I am very happy with what I see.
In the Glass 9/10
When poured into the glass, the Single Cask Wheat Whiskey displays itself as a light amber spirit which, when I tilt and twirl my glass, deposits small and medium-sized leglets on the inside of my glencairn. These leglets slowly grow longer and crawl back into the whisky. The initial nose is enticing with woodspice, butterscotch, honeycomb and vanilla as well as yummy accents which remind me of graham wafers dipped in corn syrup. There is perhaps a little initial astringency which is resulting from the higher than normal bottling proof and a few bits of orange peel which add to this mild sense of sharpness.
I gave the whisky time to breathe and was rewarded. The astringency evaporated with those orange peel scents merging into the butterscotch bringing to mind marmalade and canned apricots. As I let the glass sit, the oak builds up just a little giving us some hints of bitter sap, some fine sandalwood spice and delicious milk chocolate. I also notice very light baking spices with vanilla, cinnamon and hints coarse yellow/brown sugar. For a young whisky, this dram is surprisingly complex.
In the Mouth 52.5/60
The whisky brings all that flavour that the nose implied with lush butterscotch and milk chocolate flavours oozing out of the oak spice. The whisky was aged in a bourbon barrel and their certainly is a nice ribbon of corn whisky running through the spirit. Vanilla, baking spices, honeycomb and orange peel (and orange marmalade) join in the onrush of whisky flavour with more than just a little alcohol heat which that threatens to bash the tonsils.
I added a bit of ice to the dram and found the whisky takes to the cold cube in a big way. The dram became creamier with both milk chocolate and bittersweet dark chocolate impressions growing, and a light winding bitterness which reminds me very much of malted rye coming forward as well. There is just enough butterscotch sweetness in the whisky to provide the right balance for the bitter and the oak spice.
In the Throat 12.5/15
The whisky shows us its youth in the finish with just a little sharpness lingering in the throat. There is a wonderful ebbing bitterness which is very reminiscent of pot still rye and some delicious milk chocolate and butterscotch flavours providing a little relief for the heat. Although I note some sharpness, my feeling is that this whisky is quite smooth considering its age, and its high bottling proof.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
Colin Schmidt has crafted a wonderful whisky! The decision to bottle at 45 % alcohol by volume was an extremely good one. The higher proof concentrates the rich wheat and oak flavours. The barrel used to age the whisky was a new bourbon barrel which provided not only robust caramelized oak flavours, but also a lovely ribbon of corn whisky to compliment the wheat.
If this is Saskatchewan Craft Whisky, then I am all on board!
You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
This recipe inspired by two separate cocktails, Whoa Nellie the bar drink put together by Lally Brennan and Ti Adelaide Martin ( In the Land of Cocktails) and Tony Abou-Ganim’s popular modern cocktail, the Cable Car. The resulting cocktail, The Last Saskatchewan Pirate pays homage one of my favourite folk groups, The Arrogant Worms, whose fantastic song The Last Saskatchewan Pirate reinvigorated my love of Canadian Folk Music.
The Last Saskatchewan Pirate
1 1/2 oz Last Mountain Single Cask 100% Wheat Whisky
1/2 oz Spytail Black Ginger Rum
1/2 oz Orange Liqueur (In this case, Manitou)
1/3 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/3 oz Lemon Juice
2 dashes of Bitters (Angostura Cocktail Bitters)
1/6 oz Sugar Syrup
Lemon Peel Twist
Add the ingredients into a metal shaker with plenty of ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a twist of Lemon Peel
Please Enjoy Responsibly!
And if you are interested in more recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for my mixed drink recipes!
Please Remember…The aim is not to drink more, it is to drink better!
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)