Recently the Toronto Whisky Society was privileged enough to be visited by Victoria Caledonian Brewery and Distillery. They are a newer brewery and distillery who have been making beer and whisky for quite awhile.
The whisky that is being made by Victoria Caledonian is called Macaloney’s Victoria Caledonian Mac Na Braiche – STR Cask. Well, without the STR cask. And no, that doesn’t stand for “Strength” and you don’t have to roll a d100 after you go above 18.
The STR cask is an ex Portuguese red wine ‘barrique’, picked specifically from the late Dr. Swan, master whisky cask person. It’s known as less rich than an average sherry cask, but was used to allow more whisky notes from the new make to come through. This isn’t the first time someone has done something like this: Kavalan Vinho Barrique and Glenmorangie Milsean are other examples as well.
So this is young. Quite young. But remember that the people who started Victoria Caledonian have a background in scotch. And I heard rumours they might have talked to those geniuses at Kilchoman, who make young malt.
So let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Cask Type: Ex Portugese red wine ‘barrique’
Age: 120 days
Colour: 5Y 9/6
Nose: Anise, butter, carrot, honey, Turkish delight, marshmallow
Yes, it’s young. However any rough notes doesn’t take too long to start with a sweeter element.
Initial taste has a lot of sweet notes. Good earth mixed in too. Good buttery note too. Don’t get me wrong: There’s rough elements of youth on the nose. But not as many as you’d expect.
Taste: Grass, vanilla, marshmallow, malt, pickling spice
Younger malts typically are quite hot, earthy, and rough. This one isn’t as rough as that. It’s more a ton of grass off the bat.
Given time, there’s more sweet notes, some spice that hasn’t quite hit the good “autumn” point yet. Good progression so far.
Finish: Oak, brown sugar, tree sap, cola, malt, floral
Finish has the most cask influence of the bunch, and it needs it. There’s quite a bit of youth here.
I like the brown sugar and floral elements. However it’s quite rough still, and needs more time.
Conclusion: I’m impressed. I’ve had quite a few different young malts in the last year, and this one has to taste the best of the bunch. When tasting this, it has the elements of a 5 year young malt from a craft distillery, and yet it’s only 120 days.
There’s a lot of cream, sweet, and some spice here. I think more spice from the STR cask or a sherry cask would really help. Not to mention what peat will do.
I’m very excited to see what they bring out after 5 years. Personally I’m trying to get a cask around that age just to try it.
World Whisky review #217, Canada review #74, Whisky Network review #1031
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