You’ll note in the photo above some jars. Those jars have within them some corn meal, brown sugar and one has a lively bit of sourdough starter in it. These are remnants from a kitchen filled with the wonderful smells of baking to ward off the deep winter cold we had this year. That cold also inspires a favourite pastime of mine: sipping whisky.

One of the whiskies I used to stave off the last chills before full on spring was Barnburner, a new whisky by vodka maker Maverick Distillery. Shawna had gotten me the bottle as a gift and truth be told I had never heard of the maker. It took a bunch of Googling to find that they are the makers of Tag Vodka (or Number 5) that is available in the LCBO.

That Googling also told me that a lot of people really like the bottle – a more square shape than usual – as it reminded many people of the whisky they would find in their father or grand fathers whisky cabinet. I have to agree, it certainly brought on a sense of nostalgia as soon as I saw it.

On the bottle itself it says the product is “double barrel aged” and then goes on to talk about oak barrels. It’s quite normal to use bourbon barrels – when it’s a requirement to use fresh barrels every time reselling your old ones to craft distillers makes all kinds of sense. What I am not used to is “Double Barrel Aged.” They don’t really go into specifics on what they mean or what the process is. Do they simply buy barrel aged “juice” as some call it and then barrel age it further, using their marketing chops to make sales or do they wait patiently for the required three years and then mix the best tasting whiskies in another barrel?

They advertise that this product is a mix of corn and rye and it can certainly be tasted as you’ll see in the tasting notes below.

You can purchase a bottle at the LCBO for $34.95, a bargain for the quality and it sits at 41.6% ABV, which is a very odd ABV in a world filled with 40%. The number isn’t common in proof measurements either. Maybe the distiller decided to focus on flavour alone and let the ABV sit wherever it made sense for taste.

Tasting notes:

Appearance: Somewhat thin legs, golden brown colour, wonder if its natural colour or they added a little to it.

Aroma: Orange Peel and tangerine first, cinnamon and a hint of vanilla.

Taste: It coats the mouth and you get maple mixed with the cinnamon and morning biscuit.

Aftertaste: A bit nutty, maybe almond.

Overall: Pretty good. Enjoyable to have on the last stretch of winter to warm you up with the citrus to remind you of the warm days to come.

Food pairing: Would go well with dark chocolate covered pretzels or salted caramel.

Kole McRae

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