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  • Writer's pictureSean Kincaid

To The MOON Alice!!!



The oft-repeated commentary on Canadian Whisky is that we in Canada hoard the good stuff and send all the low quality, mass produced stuff outside the country. Whether or not you believe that to be true or not doesn't make much difference to the overall narrative. What is factual is that the whisky industry in Canada as a whole is on the upswing and the craft distilleries are leading the charge.

I will fully admit that two months ago I had no idea that Moon Distillery even existed. It was through word of mouth from a trusted palate of a friend and fellow whisky enthusiast that pointed my compass westward to Vancouver Island and specifically Victoria BC where Moon Distillery and Moon Under Water Brewery are located. The brewery itself was started in 2012 by Clay Potter and his team, and Clay learned his skills at the Heriot-Watt International Centre for Brewing and Distilling in Scotland. After succesfully launching the brewery, Clay and his team looked to distilling and whisky making. The distillery is currently producing various spirits such as Gins, Vodkas, infused whiskies and of course Single Malt Whisky. Thats where we are focusing our scope today and going to look at a pair of recent releases from Moon Distillery. Each whisky release currently is released as a single barrel release with hopes in the future to have some multi cask releaases come out.




What does Antifogmatic mean? Noun. An alcoholic drink taken in the morning to brace oneself before going out into bad weather.

We will first take a look at what has become a "core" release from Moon Distillery. IT falls under the name of Antifogmatic Bliss. Being located in Victoria on Vancouver Island my guess is that this influences the maritime style name of this whisky. When I say its a core release and use the quotation marks, its due to the base whisky in each release of Antifogmatic Bliss being made in a pot still from 100% malted barley grown on Vancouver Island at Field Five Farm which is about 20km from the distillery. What differs in each release of this core range whisky is the finishing cask used. A previous finishing cask was the breweries Frenc Oak Kokako Kiwi Sour beer barrel. This is barrel 4 which is a single malt aged for 3 years in American oak that previously aged Russian Imperial Stout and then finished for 2 further years in a Carribean Rum barrel. This is the first release ever from Moon Distillery that has whisky that is over 5 years old.

One thing that you will know if you have followed my journey at all is that I tend to despise anything matured or finished or in any way influenced by rum casks. I have in fact liked a select few Irish whiskeys that have had rum influence but for the most part they are a huge miss for me. Knowing this I approached this whisky with a slight trepidation.

Stats

-100% single malt (barley grown within 20kms of the distillery)

-Pot Still double distillation

-aged for 3 years in American oak that previously aged Russian Imperial Stout

-finished for 2 further years in a Carribean Rum barrel

-42% abv

-750ml bottle

-240 bottles total

-$64 direct from the distillery

Appearance

Dark Mahogany, yet translucent. A slight sediment at the bottom of the bottle and once poured into the glass, legs are slow and thing to fall, which is impressive for a lower abv whisky. Held up to the light there is a slight green hue along the edge of the liquid in the glass. The apparent oiliness coming on the appearance in the glass is definitely unusual for a sub 46% whisky but is also alluring and enticing.

Nose

An initial whiff of sweet brown sugar hits the nostrils. This develops into what I can only describe as brown sugar and butter reducing over the stove in a sauce pan. Deeper down there is a malt note that shows as a slight grassy or even freshly bailed hay. Theres a chocolate note found after a few initial sniffs, which i chalk up to the ex russian imperial stout cask used in the maturation. The rum cask finish only slightly shows up in the nose for me, and shows as a slight bready cooked banana note, with a slight rum style agricole note. The nose on this whisky is just begging you to take a sip. And that's just what I will do now...

Palate

Simply Stunning!!!

The instant this liquid hits the tongue there is a flavour explosion. Next to no heat at all and just washes over the entire mouth. That hinted oiliness from looking through the glass cements any doubt. It coats the mouth fully and seems to stick to the tongue, cheeks and roof of the mouth. This allows all the flavours to meld and form fully. Lots of that brown sugar sweetness up front, with hits of vanilla and caramels. This then transforms a bit to showing more of the cask influences. A rum soaked chocolate note comes in. Melding with the sweetness and a bit of maltiness this all comes together in beautiful harmony. The finish on this whisky is a lot longer and stronger than one would initially expect. That reduced brown sugar and agricole rum note seem to stick around for a decent amount of time. After the flavours finally start to dissipate, that milk chocolate flavour is found while taking in each breath. The only thing I can compare this finish profile to is a fresh warm banana toffee pudding with a swirl of vanilla soft serve on top.




 “3 Sheets to the Moon” Single Malt Whisky

The second bottle we will look at is the whisky I was initially referred to. Its a cask strength single malt release from Moon Distillery that is 3 years old and due to being released at cask strength, was released in "half" sized bottles to spread the release out to as many people as possible.

Stats

-100% single malt (barley grown within 20kms of the distillery)

-Pot Still double distillation

-aged for 3 years in American oak that previously aged Russian Imperial Stout

-58% abv, unfiltered and straight from the cask

-375ml bottle

-180 total bottles

-$47 from the distillery (unfortunately sold out now)

Appearance

A beautiful burnt orange/rusted cooper colour and a hefty oily nature in the glass. The legs take a very long time to even appear and when they do, they slide down the glass in a very hesitant way. Rolling the liquid around in the glass, it feels like the whisky doesnt want to release the edge of the glass. The 42% abv single malt still retained an oily nature through the glass and taste, so this cask strength whisky has my mouth salivating already just looking at it.

Nose

This whisky is so layered on the nose, it could easily be sniffed for over an hour as it changes and so many different layers of flavours come through. To try and sum it all up in one sentence would be next to impossible, but I will try my best. The nose of this whisky is like a mineralized dark chocolate that is filled with red fruits and then smoked before being tasted. There is a decadent dark chcolate note that comes through. This is followed by dark red fruits like cherries and even some juicy BC plums. Through the entire nose there is a mineral like note that is both unique and very intriguing. When I say there is a smoke like note, its not Peat smoke. Maybe barrel char type smoke note that sometimes happens. Its not overpowering in any way and only adds yet another layer to the nose of this whisky.

Palate

Holy mouthfeel BATMAN!!

This whisky may be one of the best mouthfeels and oily coating natured whiskies I have experienced in a long time. And this at only 3 years of age!! This whisky explodes in the mouth! Initially you are hit with that cask strength power and it comes with brown sugar sweetness along with that dark chocolate. The red fruits are a little brighter this time with alot of the cherry citrus flavours coming in. Again, that minerality shines in the mouth on this. A little deeper down some vanilla and malt notes come through and round this our perfectly. The finish on this goes on and on with waves of the brown sugar and vanilla sweetness fluctuating with the fruity cocoa and minerality and back again. A few minutes after my last sip I can still taste this interplay going on. One thing I did notice is that even after that first initial burst, the cask strength nature is never overpowering. In fact its easily sippable and although I will want to try and ration this half bottle as long as I can, it begs to be repoured over and over.




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