A Little Bay of Holiday Cheer


The holiday season is always busy, between family visits, parties and overindulgences; however, as much as we miss the festivities, we would be lying if we said we weren’t (at least a little bit) looking forward to getting back to business as usual.

The seasonal celebrations may have involved us sipping more than a couple different scotches and Irish whiskeys, but one that left a particularly strong impact on us was Oban Little Bay.

Admittedly, we’ve had a small love affair with Oban for awhile—for one of us, it was the first scotch we tasted…and fell for instantly. This may or may not have been due to the fact that we were on a tour bus with one of our all-time favourite mandolin players…but that is a story for another post. Another reason we find Oban so delightful is the fact that the distillery is one of the smallest, operating with just two pot stills and producing 650,000 litres of liquid magic yearly.

This whiskey starts out as the famous, lightly seated and bright 14yr-old single malt Oban, then is transferred to, and finished in, new oak casks. This gives Little Bay a copper gold colour with a bold, forward start that opens up and surprised us with a deep, smooth finish. We also enjoyed the spicy clove and citrus notes that came in with the warmth of the whisky. You could add a little splash of cold water to Oban Little Bay—this increases the oiliness of the whisky—but we find it detracts from the spicy finish that we loved so much.

A great value for the price point (where we live, you can get a bottle for around $90), Oban Little Bay goes down easy and leaves us satisfied. It just might be one of the tipples we choose to indulge in come Robbie Burns Day…



A Festival and a Prophecy


Sun setting, whisky tasting about to commence, at the Cowichan Valley Whiskey Festival.

We recently had the pleasure of attending a whiskey festival on beautiful Vancouver Island. A number of brands present we were already familiar with, though we were introduced to a new cast of characters as well including an interesting Indian whiskey, a chocolate whiskey and very tasty bourbon.


We’ll gladly sip in a setting like this, any time.

However, true to nature, we were most drawn to the single-malts. One in particular stood out, and we found ourselves making our way back to that table for a second (ok, maybe it was a third…or fourth) taste—fortunately, the lovely gentleman pouring at the table indulged us. Although we’ve enjoyed Jura Superstition in the past, this was the first time that Prophecy had graced our palates and it packed the peaty punch we’d been searching for all night!

juraprophecyThe nose is dominated by peat, with a good amount of smoke and a slight sweetness. The peat and sweet balance and complement each other beautifully on the palate, while a hint of spice and brine emerge, further highlighting the smoke. The balance of the dram carries through to the mouthfeel, with an oiliness that’s isn’t too thick or syrupy, but certainly not thin or watery.

As the story goes, “In the early 1700’s the Campbells of Jura evicted a wise old seeress. Bristling with resentment, she prophesied that the last Campbell to leave the island would be one-eyed with his belongings carried in a cart drawn by a lone white horse. In 1938 it came true when Charles Campbell, blind in one eye from the Great War, led his white horse to the old pier for the last time. Just like Jura, Prophecy is a dram that’s steeped in stories, and every drop has a different tale to tell.”

Prophecy is aged in Limousine oak casks, matured without chill filtration, and has easily become our favorite Jura.

Vancouver’s Craft Distilleries



Though steeped in tradition, whiskey has certainly garnered a ton “buzz” recently—especially small batch whiskey. Trying new types of whiskey is, of course, one of our favourite pastimes, and when we came across this piece from All Things Considered on NPR it definitely got us thinking. Now, that’s not to say that our enjoyment of these varieties is lessened in any way! It’s simply a reminder to be aware of labeling practices and, if you’re interested in the origin of your whiskey, to do some research.

That being said, we have been loving the distilleries popping up around Vancouver lately, producing (truly) local small batches of whiskey…and more!


The Liberty Distillery: Situated on Granville Island, the Liberty Distillery proudly handcrafts their spirits from quality BC ingredients using traditional artisan distillation methods—from the fermentation of the grains to the triple distillation process in handmade copper stills. In addition to their vodka and gin, two white whiskeys are currently available—including one infused with Chilliwack River Valley Wildflower Honey—and an aged whiskey, made from 100% BC organic barley is anticipated for a 2016 release. Experience Liberty’s spirits at their 110yr old antique bar (1494 Old Bridge Road) or enjoy a distillery tour to witness the process up close. thelibertydistillery.com

Odd Society Spirits: Located in East Van, this craft distillery ferments and distills small batches on site, using 100% BC agricultural products. They also offer the unique opportunity to privately own a cask of Canadian Single Malt, matured at the distillery for three years before being bottled for you. Visit them online—oddsocietyspirits.comand check out their tasting lounge at 1725 Powell Street.

Long Table Distillery: Having the distinction of being Vancouver’s first micro-distillery, Long Table’s selection of premium gins, vodkas and “seasonal spirits” are produced from organic, natural and often foraged ingredients, focusing on local and sustainability. Small-batch whiskeys are part of a long-term plan for the company. Their tasting room is open Wednesday-Saturday at 1451 Hornby Street—we recommend trying the Bourbon Barrelled Gin! Find more information at longtabledistillery.com.

Central City Brewers & Distillers: Their award-winning craft beers have been local favourites for years, but Central City entered the world of craft distilling this year with the launch of their small batch vodka and gin. They’re also focusing on putting Canadian whisky back on the map with their 100-percent rye whisky, currently in the works. Find out more at centralcitybrewing.com or in person at 11411 Bridgeview Drive, in Surrey.

Yaletown Distilling Company: This latest venture by the Mark James Group also brings artesian distilling to Vancouver, utilizing 100% BC ingredients—all milled, washed, fermented and distilled in Yaletown. Current offerings include herbal-infused gins and vodkas, with whiskey production next on the agenda. The distillery offers guided tastings and tours five days a week, at 1132 Hamilton Street. ytdistilling.com

Still Sipping…but we’ve missed you!


We may have been slacking on the posts the past few months (sorry for the temporary abandonment!) but we pinky-promise there has still been a good deal of what we like to refer to as ‘research’ going on.

Most recently, we have been working our way though a bottle of Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban. This delicious edition spends ten years in white oak barrels before being transferred and finished in port casks from the Quintas—wine estates of Portugal—for another two.

Unlike many other port-finished Scotches, the Quinta Ruban is at a price point that won’t hurt your wallet, making it a great find for the scotch lover on a budget—particularly because this beautiful, dark, sumptuous amber treasure truly makes you feel like you’re drinking something more expensive.

The nose is citrusy and fruity, mixing with bold notes of nutmeg and walnut, and once the smooth liquid hits your tongue, the velvety dark chocolate mint flavours emerge, and mellow out with more sweet orange.

Although the Quinta Ruban may not have the smokiness that we’re often most drawn to, it is certainly a delightful scotch that is sure to be a crowd pleaser—and definitely has us coming back for more! Another strong bar cart addition.

A Storm We Don’t Mind Being Hit By…



Last year, one of our favourite single-malts, Talisker, expanded its portfolio with three new releases: Storm, Dark Storm (matured in heavily charred casks) and Port Ruighe (with a port finish). We recently tried Storm and couldn’t agree more with one review describing it as “…everything that you love about other Taliskers, with the settings turned right up.”

Storm has a bold aroma and flavour, achieved by using a mix of refilled casks and rejuvenated casks. Rejuvenated casks are casks that have been de-charred and re-charred to give them a second life. Although Storm doesn’t carry an age statement, its smooth finish and mouthfeel would never betray a true age.

Golden in colour, with a buttery, smoky nose and teasing notes of vanilla and black pepper, there is no mistaking that this is Talisker. While we can’t decide which Talisker we like best, we certainly agree that with a similar price point to the 10yr, Storm will definitely be a welcome addition to our bar cart.