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LohinMcKinnon Craft Distilled Single Malt

Review: Lohin McKinnon Craft Distilled Single Malt    (80/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted On June 13, 2018

Central City Brewers + Distillers is a small craft producer of beer and spirits. They began business as a brewpub in downtown Surrey (British Columbia), where they created their Red Racer craft beer. After this initial  success they turned their attention to spirits using Canadian Barley to produce their whisky and Rocky Mountain Berries to produce their gin.

According to the company’s website:

We craft our premium spirits on 3 state-of-the-art Holstein Stills, manufactured in Germany on 3 different sizes: 2500 litre, 1250 Litre and 500 litre, to allow greater versatility. All fitted with reflux columns and one with up to 20 plates, this Stills are capable of producing up to 90% ABV and can produce almost any spirit our distiller can imagine.

I sampled Lohin McKinnon Craft Distilled Single Malt  (a collaborative effort between Central City Brewery’s Master Brewer Gary Lohin, and Master Distiller Stuart McKinnon as part of my judging duties for the 2018 Canadian Whisky Awards. I kept brief notes for each of the spirits which I tasted, and after the reveal, I decided to pen a brief review based upon those tasting notes, as well as from a small tasting sample I was able to obtain afterwards.

Lohin McKinnon Craft Distilled Single Malt is bottled at 43 % alcohol by volume.

In The Bottle  4.5/5

The Lohin Mckinnon Whisky bottle is shown to the left. It’s a medium tall bottle with a bubbled neck for easy grabbing. The spirit is sealed with a synthetic cork stopper and features a professional label with an easy to read colour scheme. The bottle and label give me confidence that the spirit inside was crafted with the same professionalism.

In the Glass 8/10

The Wine Barreled Single Malt Whisky shows me a very pale straw colour in the glass. When I tilted and twirled the glass, I saw that the spirit produced very small droplets which turned into skinny legs that ran slowly down the inside of the glass.

My tasting notes from the 2018 Canadian Whisky Awards included the following:

Initial Aroma: Malt Barley with light nuttiness of almond and scents of dry burlap

Decanted Aroma: Bits of vanilla and butterscotch, light oak spices with just a hint of cinnamon.

The notes indicated a young malted whisky which is beginning to show some development from its stay in the oak barrel.

In The Mouth 48/60

The whisky is light bodied and carries the brashness of alcohol astringency and grain spice into the delivery. My tasting notes from the CWA judging were as follows:

Initial Taste: Light Malt whisky with pleasant vanilla and butterscotch, pears and green grape

Follow up: Almond, burlap and touch of mint/menthol

Again my notes indicate that the character which stems from barrel aging is just beginning to show itself. The flavours are pleasant, but the light astringency of the dram makes sipping a challenge unless ice is added to the dram. When that ice is added, pleasing milk chocolate flavours come forward.

In The Throat 11.5/15

A touch of alcohol burn knocks the score down just a little. Fortunately there is a hint of menthol which provides cooling relief.

Body and Length: Light bodied but a touch of oil gives the spirit a little length

Flavours during Swallow: almond and vanilla with touch of butterscotch/malt sweetness

Lingering Flavours: peppery grain spice heat and alcohol burn, touch of menthol

The Afterburn 8/10

Here is my final comment that I wrote down after my blind tasting sessions were finished:

Final Thoughts: Tastes like a young Malt with pleasant flavours but light and not very complex.

My feelings towards almost all of the young single Malts I tasted in the competition were that they lacked development and needed more time in the aging barrels to reach their full potential. Lohin McKinnon Craft Distilled Single Malt was no exception, although to be fair to the spirit, it showed me greater promise than most of the field.

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


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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