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Macaloney’s Caledonian Oaken Poitin Whisky

Review: Macaloney’s Caledonian Oaken Poitin Whisky  (82/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published March 03, 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

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 their ‘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.

Oaken Poitin is a triple distilled spirit matured in select STR (shave-toast-rechar) Portuguese red wine barriques. According to the distillery this is the first triple-distilled pot still whisky spirit sold in Canada and one of the first outside of Ireland.

The spirit is bottled at 46 % alcohol by volume.

In The Bottle 4.5/5

Oaken Poitin is sold in the squat, long necked bottle shown to the left. As far as I know the bottle does not have a matching box to house the bottle. It does include a small cardboard neck leaflet which lets the consumer know that this is the first triple-distilled pot still whisky sold in Canada. The green label is, I believe a nod to the Irish history of triple-distilled pot still spirits, and the imagery on the label is I believe a nod to the Vancouver Island landscape.

I like the display, it would have received a perfect score if accompanied by an equally attractive display box. (The retail price of the spirit is over $100.00, and so I do not believe a display box is too much to ask for.)

In The Glass  8/10

Nose: Fresh Grain and oak spice, leather, graham wafers, light honey and butterscotch, vanilla and mild notes of red licorice and raisin. A light fruitiness of yellow apple and pear is also evident.

The nose is very nice albeit perhaps a tad understated for a 46 % alcohol by volume spirit. However, I note as well that although the spirit is quite young, I do not notice any undo harsh notes or alcohol astringency.

In the Mouth 49/60

The first sip brings a bevy of oak spice and also a touch of alcohol heat forward. While the 46 % alcohol by volume bottling strength was hidden on the nose, it does carry its full weight through the delivery. The impressions formed on the nose translate very well to the palate in terms of taste descriptors with perhaps the grain spice dominating the oak to some extent. Leather, gooseberry, and hints of red wine add some dimension and this is joined by mild impressions of vanilla and butterscotch.

The dram is can be sipped with enjoyment providing you add a dollop of ice into the glass, although I personally prefer to also add a dash of ginger-ale. This is perhaps disappointing based on the retail price which is north of $100.00 Canadian.

In The Throat 12.5/15

The exit brings heated grain spice which livens the palate perhaps just a little too much which is why I suggested earlier to add that dollop of ice to the glass. As the spiciness fades, we encounter a lovely light lingering flavour of red licorice.

The Afterburn 8/10

I enjoyed sampling Oaken Poitin.  It is a solid Canadian Whisky in the Irish style, but the flavour has not developed to the point where its complexity and depth have met up with its price point. This is unfortunately true of much of the new whisky which is being bottled by Canada’s new distilleries. In this case however, it is rather extreme. Perhaps at half the price, I could recommend the dram, but not at anything approaching full price.

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

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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 and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

 
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