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Shelter Point Artisanal Single Malt

Review: Shelter Point Artisanal Single Malt Whisky 78/100
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted: September 25, 2017

Shelter Point Artisanal Single Malt Whisky is distilled in small batches on Vancouver Island (British Columbia). The distillery uses a single grain approach, and the Canadian barley used for distillation is grown right on their own family farm (in Oyster River) and never blended with other grains. The water source is the spring water that comes from the mountain-fed aquifer directly beneath the Island. Perhaps the only things that aren’t sourced locally are the oak barrels, which were sourced from Kentucky bourbon distillers, and the massive copper pot stills which came from Scotland.

The final whisky is bottled at 46% alcohol by volume.

In The Bottle 4.5/5

As seen from the bottle shot to the left Shelter Point uses a standard medium tall clear glass bottle with a synthetic cork stopper. The neck has a slight bubble to make grabbing the bottle easier, and it is long enough to make pouring easy. The graphics on the label are quite attractive especially considering that Shelter Point is relatively new and probably does not have a huge budget for bottle and label design. I like what I see.

In the Glass 8/10

The whisky has a pale gold colour and when I tilt my glencairn and give it a slow twirl I see that the spirit deposits a thin-film on the inside of my glass the crest of which drops small leglets which develop into skinny legs.

The nose contains a light punky corn scent which indicates fresh bourbon barrels used to age the spirit. Alongside the corn I notice maple and wood spice, some musty burlap, almond and a few tinges of sour fruit. There is an herbal tinge in the air which hints at anise and licorice as well as a few hints of mint and menthol. I like the engaging complexity which seems to contradict a young spirit; however there is a somewhat penetrating quality which brings that youth back into focus. A few hints of astringency in the air keep me from scoring the nose higher.

In the Mouth  46.5/60

That hint of alcohol bite on the nose comes though more forcefully at the end of the delivery making the whisky just a little difficult to sip neat. I taste a bevy of wood and grain spice as well as a ribbon of malt grain sweetness. What came across as musty burlap in the breezes has settled into a nice flavour of nutty barley which gives the dram a robust quality which I enjoy. Herbal menthol and licorice provide some relief for the effects of the high alcohol content and its youthful bite.

When I add ice some nice flavours of milk chocolate come through, and when I add a splash of ginger-ale with the ice I have a nice tall drink I can enjoy.

In the Throat 11/15

The mid-length finish is sweet and spicy with fading milk chocolate flavours. Both the youth of the whisky, and the high alcohol content make their mark as there is more than just a little burn making itself felt in the back of the mouth and down the throat. The exit also includes trailing flavours of butterscotch, corn and burlap with additional hints of herbal grassiness, almond flavours and a hint of menthol.

The Afterburn 8/10

This is my first experience with Shelter Point Whisky, and I am impressed so far. A robust barley flavour highlights the dram which with a few more years of aging could certainly develop into a very nice whisky indeed.

As well you may read some of my other Whisky 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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