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Thread: Kittling Ridge

  1. #1
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    Kittling Ridge

    I toured the distillery at Kittling Ridge in Grimsby, Ontario today. It was my first time in a distillery (they are also a winery but who cares?). For those that don't know, these are the folks responsible for Forty Creek whisky.

    It was interesting to see first-hand the massive fermentation units (for wine), the copper pot still, and the towering column stills (one steel, one copper). Neat little operation they have there.

    One thing that struck me was how much they stress that they are unique in not using a mash bill for Barrel Select whisky, but rather distilling the whiskies and aging them separately before blending and finishing. As if every other distillery in Canada doesn't do something similar (Canadian Club excepted).

    Out of the four whiskies I sampled (Barrel Select, Three Grain, Mountain Rock, and Pure Gold), I thought the cheapest was the best: Pure Gold. The most traditional in style, it had the fullest body, the most balanced flavour, and the least harshness to my palate. Nice buttery notes with hints of maple.

    Speaking of maple, I also picked up their Oh Canada liqeuer, made with whisky, maple syrup and honey. Very tasty at 26.5% alc/vol.

    Just thought I'd share my visit with those interested.

  2. #2
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    Re: Kittling Ridge

    I think they talk about making individual whiskeys not because other Canadian distillers don't do the same thing -- and as you note Canadian Club is the only one that does not -- but because they are really oriented to the American market and that is in contrast with practice in the USA. I assume because of their location that most of their distillery visitors are foreign (i.e., us).

  3. #3
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    Re: Kittling Ridge

    Good report, Mike.

    Gary

  4. #4
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    Re: Kittling Ridge

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    I think they talk about making individual whiskeys not because other Canadian distillers don't do the same thing -- and as you note Canadian Club is the only one that does not -- but because they are really oriented to the American market and that is in contrast with practice in the USA. I assume because of their location that most of their distillery visitors are foreign (i.e., us).
    Ah, well that would make a lot more sense, then. It was also interesting to find out that before John Hall bought up the distillery, which was previously used to make eau-de-vie and various fruit spirits, it was illegal in Ontario to make wine and spirits in the same facility. Apparently Mr. Hall lobbied for three years to change this.

    I do wish that John Hall would venture away from his wine-makers mentality of "mixed vintages" and just release a well-aged whisky some time soon. I suppose they are still young, though.

    In September the new Confederation Oak expression comes out. Should be interesting, though I don't know about $70 for a bottle.

  5. #5
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    Re: Kittling Ridge

    Barrel Select though has some good age on it, something like 8-12 years if memory serves. The whiskies are fine, the only thing I would do is emphasize the pot still and de-emphasize the others.

    Gary

  6. #6
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    Re: Kittling Ridge

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillman View Post
    Barrel Select though has some good age on it, something like 8-12 years if memory serves. The whiskies are fine, the only thing I would do is emphasize the pot still and de-emphasize the others.

    Gary
    I had heard 6-10 years for Barrel Select though the woman giving the tour indicated that 4 year old whisky is used in the blend. I don't have much confidence in her statements, though; she stated 4 years as the legal minimum in Canada, among other erroneous statements.

    She also led me to believe that Barrel Select, and the rest of their whiskies for that matter, are distilled in the copper pot. Interestingly, the one I enjoyed the most, Pure Gold, incorporates some column-still whisky as well.

  7. #7
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    Re: Kittling Ridge

    Well, perhaps it was 6-10, but anyway there is definitely some well-aged whisky in that bottle. If it is all distilled in pot stills (except I guess for part of the Pure Gold), then what I mean is, I would think the blends would benefit from using more whisky distilled at a low proof. When I taste those whiskies, they seem to have a lightness that may derive from distillation at a relatively high, clean proof. Even pot stills (with enough runs or other adjustments) can be made to produce a higher proof, clean spirit. I'd prefer in a word a heavier-bodied taste to those whiskies. However, Barrel Select is an excellent product still, it is always in my bar.

    Gary

  8. #8
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    Re: Kittling Ridge

    He makes corn, rye and malt whiskeys. The normal thing in Canada would be to use the column still for the corn and the pot stills for everything else. I assume that's what he does.

  9. #9
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    Re: Kittling Ridge

    I was at Forty Creek/Kittling Ridge for the release of the Confederation Oak Reserve. On the tour, I was also led to believe that their current whiskies (Barrel Select, Double Barrel, and Confederation Oak) are entirely pot distilled. Tour guides are never wrong...
    "Good" may be subjective, but that doesn't mean it's arbitrary.

  10. #10
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    Re: Kittling Ridge

    Quote Originally Posted by dbk View Post
    I was at Forty Creek/Kittling Ridge for the release of the Confederation Oak Reserve. On the tour, I was also led to believe that their current whiskies (Barrel Select, Double Barrel, and Confederation Oak) are entirely pot distilled. Tour guides are never wrong...
    In this case they were probably right. I think all the whiskies except Pure Gold and Mountain Rock are advertised as "pot distilled." Incidentally, Mountain Rock isn't half bad either, if you like Barrel Select.

 

 

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