Dillon’s white rye
My wife and I had recently attended a private tour at dillon’s distillery in beamsville. We were met by the master distiller, Geoff, who for being a master distiller, looked like he was old enough to be attending college. We sipped on incredible gin and tonics and toured the small facility. Upon entering the back room I saw the guts of the entire operation. It’s a very small warehouse to ferment, distill, rack and bottle, and they rent out room to a local winery, but they make it work.
The still is a fairly small copper alembic beside a triple column still. Geoff told me how this was a unique still, one of a kind. It had several arms that attach from the pot to the column, to accommodate whatever operations they were running that day. It could go from a pot still for rye, to a pot-to-column for gin, or be used solely as a column. The column still itself had over 2 dozen ports to engage the condenser pans, which allowed them to customize just how much they were going to strip from the distillate for different products. Doesn’t sound very unique, perhaps, but to see how certain pipes swivel and attach to create a custom beast for each job, it is unique by far.
Geoff was kind enough to pour a couple samples straight from two barrels , one virgin Ontario oak, one first use bourbon oak from four roses. The spirit poured was one year old rye, so its not quite whisky. the results from the new and used wood were obvious. The virgin Ontario wood picked up a very spicy, pencil shaving like woody quality, while the bourbon oak had knocked off the sharp edges and gave the slightest vanilla and caramel taste to the barely yellow spirit. The difference was immediate. Only one year in oak and we had two completely different products.
‘we’re planning on releasing single barrel whiskies’ Geoff had explained. Being a very young distillery(established in late 2012), they have no whisky, just distillate sitting in wood for a couple more years . being a craft distillery, not basing on whisky sales alone, they also sell other distillate. So we should be seeing some small, craft whisky projects from dillon’s in early 2016.
So, here we have the first offering from dillon’s. a 100% rye grain distillate. Free of oak.
an unassuming, squat bottle, with a wooden cork. The label is small, but very busy. It seems they try to cram everything they could onto the label, which makes for an interesting read. Grain makeup, tasting notes, mission statement. the font speaks of an old political satire comic.
grain. Its so nutty and grain like, including the apple. Its fresh, virgin and unadultered grain spirit. A bit of red field berry sits behind roasted grain. Simple and non-complex. Very one note. Hardly any spirit to smell. A bit of pleasant perfume.
Sweet, spicy and nutty. Theres the apple again. Almost a touch of soap. Very simple and straightforward. the finish is tingly on the lips and tongue. spicy pepper.
This has been crafted from 10% malted rye and 90% unmalted rye. Typically, the malted grains offer much of the fruity qualities in rye, which is why we aren’t seeing that in this white offering. Potential is there for a good whisky, but there must be some aging involved, as this doesn’t pack enough punch on its own.
Personally, I saw much more character involved with the aged stuff, even though it only had a year in wood. This is somewhat flat, flavourless and it doesn’t really live up to the rye grain liveliness. The texture is a bit thin, and watery. If this were released at 50%, im sure it would really be exceptional.
I wont buy this product again. We’ll see you in 2016.