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Macaloney’s Caledonian Glenloy Island Single Malt Whisky

Review: Macaloney Caledonian Glenoy Island Single Malt Whisky  (84/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published March 15, 2021

The Caledonian Distillery has been on my radar for a while now. I first heard of it when founder Graeme Macaloney invited me to an information seminar and whisky tasting several years ago. At that time the distillery was just in the planning stages and Graeme was touring the country raising money to build his distillery.

Twin Pot Stills at Victoria Caledonia Distillery and Brewery

Twin Pot Stills at Victoria Caledonia Distillery and Brewery

In the fall of 2016, word reached me that the Victoria Caledonian Brewery & Distillery had began to produce and age new make spirit. Then in January of 2017 the distillery reached out to me asking if they could share some samples with me, and soon thereafter I published a review for theie ‘whisky in progress”, Victoria Caledonian Mac na Braiche.

As we fast forward to 2021, the Macaloney Caledonian Distillery is now producing spirit which has reached the required maturity to be sold as Whisky in Canada. Their world-class distillery is built on a foundation of traditional Forsyth’s copper pot stills (see right). Using Canadian barley, with island water the distillery produces a range of produces a small range of Island Whiskies .

The Glenloy is the distillery’s Whiskymaker’s Signature Selection. It is produced from a combination of differently matured single malt whiskies. Sixty percent of the blend is from 1st-use Bourbon casks; fifteen percent is from Portuguese STR Red-wine barriques, fifteen percent is from Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks and ten percent  is from Spanish PX casks. This was the Macaloney Distillery’s inaugural release whisky.

The Spirit is bottled at 46 % alcohol by volume.

In The Bottle 5/5

The Glenloy whisky is sold in the blue box and squat long necked bottle display shown to the left. Each bottle and each box is individually numbered. (This is a limited release of just 1,276 bottles.) The carton has an image of Vancouver Island that wraps around all four sides, emphasizing that the Glenoy an ‘Island Single Malt Whisky’. Descriptive tasting notes are included on the carton as well as a brief description of the history of the spirit and why it is called Glenoy. (I’ll leave that for you to discover.)

I like the presentation and wish that more companies in Canada would use such detail.

In The Glass  8.5/10

Colour: Dirty Straw

Nose: Honey, rum and brown sugar. Sherried notes of raisin and dates with hints of cherry, oak, vanilla and a touch of cinnamon

The effect of the sherry barrels is obvious giving the dram a honeyed sweetness on the nose which is almost rum-like. Rich notes drawn from the Sherry and PX casks follow and finally the oak itself begins to assert itself. Underneath it all are some barley notes struggling to break free. This is quite nice and certainly invites us to take a sip.

In The Mouth 50/60

The flavour is all there as all those impressions on the nose translate though the delivery. However, a great deal of alcohol heat translates though as well making the dram a little difficult to sip. Adding ice helps, and it also brings out the sherry notes ever more. Dates and chocolate are now implied. I am beginning to taste a herbal/floral component I hadn’t noticed earlier, as well as more oaky spice.

Over ice the dram is pleasant as a sipper with enough complexity from the multitude of aging barrels to keep me engaged.

In The Throat 11.5/15

The finish disappoints as without ice the dram brings a little too much burn to the throat. This is where the youth of the whisky speaks the loudest. With ice though this is quite nice with lingering flavours of the sherry cask and a light bittersweet quality that is very pleasant.

The Afterburn 8/10

Macaloney Caledonian Glenoy Island Single Malt Whisky is a dram which relies on a blending of whiskies from different styles of aging barrels (bourbon, Sherry Cask, and PX) to provide extra layers of complexity to the spirit in lieu of advanced maturation. It almost works, however the youth of the whisky ambushes the finish with a touch of unwanted burn. I found pleasure sipping the whisky over ice where the sherry flavours flourish and the unwanted astringency of youth was quelled.

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


Each of my review contains a rating or score out of 100 and these scores can be interpreted using the following scale:

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 a

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