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Last Mountain Single Cask Single Malt Whisky

Review: Last Mountain Single Cask Single Malt Whisky   86/100
Review by Chip Dykstra
Published August 18, 2022

Last Mountain Single Cask Single Malt Whisky is produced in small batches at the Last Mountain Distillery in Lumsden Saskatchewan. I have been following the progress of this distillery since it first came to my attention when they opened their doors as Saskatchewan’s first micro-distillery in August of 2010. Back then, the Last Mountain Distillery was run by its two principals, Colin and Meredith Schmidt, the husband wife team who co-founded the operation. They began by selling vodka and whisky, and I was fortunate enough to be able to taste and review some of their earliest offerings.

Since then the operation has grown by leaps and bounds, and when I checked the distillery’s website I found they now boast 14 full time employees (17 if you count the shop dog, Chloe, and the two Schmidt children, Griffen and Ryker.) The Distillery also boasts a full range of Vodka, Gin, Whisky and Rum as well as an assortment of what they call their unique creations.

This is the review for the distillery’s new Single Cask Single Malt Whisky, made from 100% Saskatchewan Barley. The spirit was aged for 78 months in a freshly emptied Heaven’s Hill white oak bourbon barrel, and then finished in a new white oak barrel before being bottled at 45 % alcohol by volume.

In The Bottle  4/5

Last Mountain’s Single Cask Whiskies arrives in the stubby whisky bottle shown to the left. The labeling is professional although I do quibble with the clear plastic seal on the cork topper which sort of downgrades the overall display. I would prefer if this plastic seal were made from a solid colour which I think would accent the presentation in a more positive manner. The glass bottle itself is nice, but again I would prefer a thicker glass base at the bottom which would elevate the look.

I should note that these more economical decisions on the part of Last Mountain Distillery have kept the price of this offering below 80 dollars, which is a very attractive price when compared with other Canadian Single Malt Whiskies.

In The Glass  8.5/10

Colour: Pale straw

Nose: Vanilla/butterscotch and almond melded nicely into fine oak spice. Hints of leather and milk chocolate appear as does a light fruity quality which reminds me of orange peel and apricot brandy. There is some development in the glass as I let the whisky breathe, the oak spices become more prominent and begin to throw out impressions of cinnamon. There is also a light rum-like quality developing with hints of brown sugar and molasses. My final sniff brings very enjoyable wisps of tobacco tainted lightly with licorice.

In The Mouth 52/60

The flavour is very much to my liking with a lovely triumvirate of vanilla, almond and butterscotch combing with fine oak spices to bring about impression of fine toffee and marzipan. The level of malt sweetness pairs well with an underlying pithy bitterness of toasted grain. Hints of maple, and a nice grassy tobacco flavour join along for the ride.  Maybe its just my imagination, but I seem to catch hints of baking spice and rum building as I sip.

At 45 % alcohol by volume the spirit the spirit is perhaps just a touch heated, however a well placed ice cube provide just the right amount of coolness and it allows me to notice flavours of milk chocolate and hints of licorice within the tobacco and toffee.

In The Throat 13/15

Considering that this is a whisky aged for less than 8 years, I am very pleased at the smooth finish. There is heat from grain and wood spice, but no appreciable burn. Vanilla and butterscotch coat the tongue and oak spice tickles the tonsils. With Ice added, some nice chocolate settles in the exit.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

In my opinion, Last Mountain Distillery has done what only a few other few Canadian Distilleries have managed to accomplish. They have produced a Single Malt Whisky which compares favourably to the Scottish Single Malts from across the sea when comparing spirits both price wise and age wise. I am not sure why Colin and Meredith have succeeded so well, perhaps their new shop dog is making an impact.

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

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As always you may interpret the scores I provide 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 more 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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