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Two Brewers Yukon Single Malt – Classic Releases (13 and 16)

Review: Two Brewers Yukon Single Malt – Classic Releases No. 13 and 16  (79.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted On February 29, 2020

In 2009, the folks at Yukon Brewing decided that it was time to expand their horizons, and so they grabbed a still, formed the Yukon Spirits Company, and began to make whisky. When I first learned about this several years ago I was a little surprised. The Yukon is quite a ways north and it is not a place where you would naturally think of folks making beer, let alone whisky. Then again it just might have been the perfect place for both the start-up beer and spirits companies. You see up in the North, they like to support one another, and it wasn’t long before Yukon Brewing and Yukon Spirits were doing a nice business supplying northern communities.

Their whisky is made in small batches which they release one at a time. Each release is made with a variety of malted roasted grains, using different fermentation techniques and a mixes of different barrels. The goal is that as each expression emerges, it is layered and complex and probably will never be repeated. Having said that, the releases are slotted to fit into one of four specific categories: Classic, Peated, Special Finishes, and Innovative.

A few years ago I reviewed  Yukon Brewers Classic Single Malt Release No. 1 (here),  Today I am revisiting their Classic Releases by taking a look at their recent Classic Releases No. 13 and No. 16. I tasted both Single Malts recently and found that my scores and tasting notes were very similar between the two drams. So rather than writing two reviews, I felt one review covering both releases was sufficient. The tasting notes included here are for Release No. 13, but the scores for Release No. 16 would be very similar.

(Note: Releases No, 13 and 16 are each bottled at 43 % abv.)

In the Bottle 4.5/5

As you can see from the bottle shot to the right, the folks at Yukon Spirits do a fine job with their whisky presentation, A corked bottle with a mid-length neck (for easy pouring) and a fine-looking stubby bottle (for easy storage) that fits easily in the hand. The labeling looks smart and attractive, and rudimentary tasting notes are right on the light orange band to guide the consumer. Well Done!

Note this is the bottle shot for Release 1, Two Brewers uses the same style of bottle and label for each Single Malt Release.

In The Glass 8/10

The Classic Release Single Malt Whisky presents itself with a golden straw hue which looks pleasant in the glass. The initial nose is honeyed with obvious aromas of vanilla, almond and malt barley. Some oak spices begin to build  with fine baking spices and impressions of dusty straw and chaff.

As the glass breathes we gain impression of dry fruit in the form of raisins, as well as citrus in the form of orange peel, marmalade and apricot jam. The nose is pleasant although a few warning notes of astringency appear to keep the score down.

In the Mouth 47.5/60

The delivery is somewhat biting which surprises me in a bottling which is 86 proof.

I taste honeyed spices with almond and vanilla joining in. The barley grain is in clear evidence with a malty sweetness apparent as well as impressions of burlap and leather. As I continue to sip, I begin to notice an herbal flair within the dram. The impression grows, and I am trying to decide in my mind if this is a whisper of herbal peat, or pot distilled esters giving the dram impressions of herbal grass and heather.

Scoring is somewhat difficult, and the flavours all seem quite nice and pleasant; however, the bite in the entry dissuades me from sipping neat, and once ice is introduced the dram seems rather ordinary and unexciting.

In The Throat  11.5/15

The whisky is light to medium bodied featuring flavours of burlap and leather through the swallow. There is a nice lingering honeyed sweetness and well as an herbal finish. However there is also unwanted heat and astringency.

The Afterburn  8/10

I know from judging competitions where I score spirits in a blind format, that I seem to score the Single Malts from Two Brewers (Yukon Spirits) much lower than my fellow Canadian Whisky jurors and reviewers. In these competitions, we are scoring the spirits blind, and therefore all bias is removed both from them and from myself.  It is not until well after the competitions are over that the whiskies which we scored are revealed to us. And as I said, I consistently score the Yukon Spirits much lower than the mean. So I guess it is fair to say that my review should be taken with a few grains of salt, as others apparently see (or taste) the spirit much differently than I do.

My experience with Two Brewers Yukon Single Malt – Classic Release No. 13 and No. 16 is that I found both of the drams underdeveloped and relatively immature when compared to other single malts in my marketplace. I would like to see more development and oak structure. Rather than sippers each will serve me as a cocktail whiskies. My suggested cocktail is shown below.

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


Suggested Serving

Northern Aurora

1 3/4 oz Two Brewers Yukon Single Malt – Classic Release
1/4 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Lemon Juice
dash of Orange Bitters
Sugar Syrup to taste

Mix a metal cocktail shaker with ice
Shake it up until the shaker frosts over
Strain into a fancy glass of your choice
To keep things easy, no garnish required

Enjoy Responsibly!

If  you are interested in more cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink servings!


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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