In the last few years, BC has seen a surge in the number of craft breweries around the province. That surge has naturally led to a growth in the craft distilling market as well, with several BC based breweries adding spirits along side their beer offerings. This has worked well when it comes to developing craft gins and vodkas, along with other unique aperitifs but one spirit has been noticeably lacking: whisky.
Now this has as much to do with the complexity of the spirit as it does the amount of time and commitment it takes for whisky to mature. Distillers intent on offering a whisky product have to wait at least three years before they can even call it a whisky, which means a lot of planning goes into developing the product.
Which leads us to this week’s release of Lohin McKinnon, Central City Brewing’s first single malt whisky. Aged in bourbon oak barrels since 2013, the single malt is surprisingly approachable. For such a young whisky, there are subtle notes of vanilla and butter, with some dark fruit coming off the nose. It’s the kind of sophistication you’d expect from a much older whisky, and definitely not the kind of offering you’d expect from a first time release.
The Central City team has already proven they know what they are doing. Brewmaster Gary Lohin and Head Distiller Stuart McKinnon (thus the name Lohin McKinnon) have crafted a spirit in line with their award winning craft beer and spirit releases like the Queensborough gin. They already have their sights set on future releases, with a Canada 150 anniversary release planned for July and future years experimenting with aspects like chocolate malt and peat.
For $59.99 at BC Liquor stores, it’s a reasonable price for a pleasant whisky. If other annual Central City releases, like their sour series, are any indication, than the whisky is just going to improve over time.