Potter Distilling Company 15yo 1985/2000 (54.9%, Cadenhead, Indian Corn, Bourbon Barrel, 360 bottles)

For the first time on these pages we’ll have a look at a Canadian Whisky, sorry Davin, I hope you can forgive me. This is some sort of oddity considering the place this was distilled as well as the grain used. Let’s start with the latter. It’s easier. For this Whisky, Indian Corn was used. Indian Corn is better known as flint corn, with a hard (as flint) outer layer, making it also suitable for use as popcorn. It has a very low water content, so it is more resistant to freezing than other vegetables and thus pretty resilient under harsh conditions. This is actually one of the three types of corn cultivated by Native Americans hence the name Indian Corn. Most Indian Corn is multi-colored.

Information about The Potter Distilling Company was a bit harder to find. Potter’s Distillers was founded in 1958 by Ernie Potter in Langley B.C. The company first operated as a bottler of Liqueurs but after a few years expanded into spirits. Sometimes the distillery is also known as the Cascadia distillery. In 1962 Captain Harold John Cameron Terry (Born in Australia) bought Potter’s Distillers and headed the business for more than two decades. According to the website of the current owners Highwood Distillers, production was moved in 1990 from Langley B.C. to Kelowna B.C. where it remained until 2006, after which it moved to its roomier current location at High River, Alberta. Does this mean the label of all those Cadenhead’s bottlings are wrong? The Whisky in those bottles was distilled in 1985 (a 14yo, 15yo, 31yo and a 32yo) and 1989 (a 10yo, 11yo, 24yo and a 26yo), but state Kelowna B.C. and not Langley B.C. Oops!

The picture below is from the 11yo, 1989 bottle, but the 15yo I’m about to review, looks exactly the same. Both Whiskies were bottled in 2000. I tried both before buying and I ended up with the 15yo…

Color: Pale gold.

Nose: Sweet and fatty, yet very fresh with a nice touch of wood and Bourbon Whiskey. Very big nose. It has two sides to it. One big on creamy notes with vanilla, fudge, caramel, toffee, butter and pudding, you know where this goes. The other side is sharper, like a breath of fresh, very cold air. Nice defined wood, sharp and spicy. Toasted oak and licorice. The alcohol is quite pronounced as well. Notes of mocha. This is a big strong Whisky, which has been open for a long time and these are literally the last few drops from the bottle. Time and air can’t hurt it. Well balanced and slightly dusty now. A wonderful nose, that you need to add to your library of Whisky smells.

Taste: Sweet and tasted blind I might have said Demerara Rum, or Rhum Agricole even. Somewhere in between both. Definitely closer to a Rum, than a Single Malt Whisky. Just like the nose the alcohol is pronounced in the taste as well. Yup, sweet vanilla, warm butter and notes of a liqueur. Hints of toasted oak, tar and caramel and some slightly burnt sugar. Beyond the sweetness, there is more. It does have a certain depth to it. In a way it has something of a Rum, a Bourbon Whisky and the added freshness of a Gin. This is a Chameleon of a drink. The finish is not as long as expected, and a nice warming creamy, buttery and toffee note stays behind for the aftertaste, which is of medium length.

Another bottle finished as I’m writing a review. I’ve had this a for long time (I opened it in 2006). You can’t drink this sweet stuff very quickly. This needs its moments, and if you pick them wisely, you’ll have this around for a while, but every time you’ll get it, it’s great. I’m actually sad its empty, and for old times sake I’ll try to get another one of those Potters by Cadenhead’s. I can be a very sentimental guy sometimes.

Points: 84

Glengoyne 21yo 1985/2006 (53%, OB, First Fill Sherry Butt #629, 632 bottles)

Two years ago Master Quill had a week specially dedicated to Glengoyne. In that week I reviewed a Glengoyne from 1985 called “Summer” a Limited Release. There also was a Winter (1984 Vintage), a Spring (1972 Vintage) and an obviously an Autumn (1969 Vintage). Essentially all four are Single Cask releases (SC) like the one I’ll be reviewing shortly. This 1985 should be quite interesting since it was drawn from a sister cask of the “Summer”. Summer was drawn from cask #608, and this SC was drawn from cask #629, so that should be interesting.

Glengoyne 21yo 1985/2006 (53%, OB, First Fill Sherry Butt #629, 632 bottles)Color: Mahogany brown.

Nose: Nice Oloroso Sherry nose, with lots of fruits. Fresh and acidic. Wonderful depth. Earthy and dusty, but never dull or heavy. Creamy with hints of vanilla. A very vibrant fruity nose. This probably was a considered a contender for the “Summer” spot. Small hints of warm asphalt. Dusty with some licorice, mocha and licorice. Meringue. Extremely balanced and likeable.

Taste: Cardboard, almonds and quite some licorice again. Warming. Spicy and soft old wood. Creamy and very nice. Fruity vanilla, pudding with warmed up red fruits on top (part fruit, part sauce). Spicy sharpness (hot) because of the alcohol, without that, quite soft and creamy. Slight acidic touch towards the finish, and enough wood. Again, just like the nose. Extremely balanced. Wonderful Oloroso Sherried bottling.

Although a very good Glengoyne Single Cask, I thought the “Summer” was even better. More complexity and even better integrated aroma’s. A bigger body and an even better finish. However, make no mistake. This Butt #629 is no dud, far from it. Hardly any Sherry bottling these days is a good as this is. You know the lonesome tropical Island question, and what to take? If I had to take this one instead of the “Summer” I still would go in a heartbeat!

Points: 89

Linkwood 21yo 1985/2007 (43%, The Secret Treasures, Bourbon Cask #4548, 348 bottles)

Linkwood 21yo 1985/2007 (43%, The Secret Treasures, Bourbon Cask #4548, 348 bottles)Here we have a Linkwood bottled by a Swiss outfit bottling under the name of The Secret Treasures. Their website is quite amateurish and uninformative. Some basic information is there, but seems a bit outdated. The firm is known for some great rums, like Demarara and Guadeloupe, and apart from Whisky also bottles a Bitter (Els from herbs only found in the Eiffel region), a Gin and some fruit distillates. Their Whiskies are bottled at 43% ABV, a strength that also seems a bit outdated where single cask bottlings are concerned. Bottle looks nice though!

Color: Gold

Nose: Spicy wood, sweet with some vanilla notes. The typical smell of a Whisky coming from a Ex-Bourbon Cask, but with quite a lot of aroma. It smells big and fruity. Das pronto clay, I remember from my childhood. Nutty as well, with some flowery notes but also some candy sweetness. Mocha, tiny hint of mocha coffee. Small hint of cask toast mingled with some dry old spices. Creamy and powdery. I think you get the picture. Very balanced (after extensive breathing) and slightly salty even (dry lips). It doesn’t smell reduced, and this has hints of cannabis in the aftertaste. A big plus for this Linkwood.

Taste: Vanilla and oak. Big and slightly toasty. Small hint of cannabis (again), which is not quite unusual for this type of oak. Wax, maybe ear wax. Perfect fruity sweetness. Vanilla ice-cream with some pencil shavings and fresh almonds. Even though this is reduced to 43% it is quite hot at times, and the hotness stays around for a while. The finish itself, tastewise, is much shorter. Hints of fermentation (yeast, cow dung?) and then a bit sour. However, don’t get me wrong. This is very appetizing. Big and just nice even at this lower ABV.

Quite sweet and in part light. Nice sweet body with a hot finish that stays longer than the taste itself. To me this Whisky shows some small faults in distillation, but has way more good things to it. Initially it seems a nice Malt, with a nice smell and so forth, but the taste already shows some unbalance, nevertheless it needs some air to settle and reaches a higher balance. Nice entry, than heavy on the sweet part, and full body, but sometimes a bit hot and a medium finish at best finish. Not bad! A word of caution. This isn’t as good when freshly opened, it really needs a lot of air and patience to really shine, even this reduced Whisky, needs time.

Points: 84

Glengoyne Week – Day 6: Glengoyne 19yo 1985/2004 ‘Summer’ (52.6%, OB, Cask #608, 606 bottles)

After the cold, cold winter we actually had (are still having), with lots of snow, I guess it’s time for a nice long hot summer! First day of spring went by some time ago, and it still was snowing on that day, so I guess we all need a bit of summer in our lives. Unlike yesterday’s 1984, 1985 is a year more common to find a Glengoyne from. In 2006 Glengoyne even bottled a sister cask of this ‘Summer’ edition, that was a Butt, so it’s probably safe to assume, that this is from a Butt as well.

Color: Dark orange brown.

Nose: Typical musty Sherry. Spicy and leafy. Butter, honey and raisins. Mocha coffee. Coal and tar. This is by far the best dark Sherry cask up untill now in this Glengoyne week. A slightly acidic freshness, like lemon pie inside a raisiny heavily sherried dram. Dusty old polished wood, with ageing lacquer on it. Dark fruits emerge afer a while, Blueberries! Perfect balance and lots of character.

Taste: Big body, spicy with just the right amount of wood, and almonds. Did I say wood? It’s not just any kind of wood, this is tarry wood, steam locomotive wood. Blueberries infused in honey, with some added acidity. Again very balanced stuff this. It reminds me a bit of the great Longmorn’s of the early seventies. Those are legendary, and Glengoyne were able to make this in the mid eighties! Were are it’s sister casks?!?!

This cask was bottled in 2004, so it wasn’t around anymore when the mashmen of Glengoyne made their choices, so let’s call this, this consumers choice.

Points: 91

Thanks go out to Erik (Master Quill’s apprentice) for providing the sample.