For our big whisky interview today, we travel a few miles away from Scotland, the west coast of Canada to be exact.
Shelter Point Distillery is located on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.
One day I hope to get myself there ... tour the distillery and of course drink myself to a heavenly state! Me being head angel and all.
Paul was chatting to Patrick Evans.
"Paul; morning Patrick, thanks very much for your time, I guess my first question is - why would you build a single malt distillery on a island off the west coast of Canada?" Patrick; This starts with my background , which is absolutely removed from the world of fine spirits and whisky , I grew up on the island here in the small community of the Comox Valley. My Dad started a dairy farm in the late 60 s, which my brothers and him still operate today , Growing up on a island with a dairy operation tends to give you a variety of skills sets from animal husbandry to machines’ An interest in soils , raising and growing stuffs from cranberry’s , forestry , fruits fabricating equipment , there is never a lack of creative things to do . I married my high school sweet heart in 1990, within 8 Years we had four beautiful daughters. So the task began ..from 1991 to 2006 I poked, prodded, lured to no avail to get my daughters interested in dairying , but no matter how I coloured the sky they couldn’t understand the glamour of getting crapped on and kicked by a 1200 lb. estrogen rich Holstein bovine !So the story we began looking into different value added agriculture opportunity’s. We have grown cereals before , but typically a very light return on investment and I never considered the processing on site scenario ., and what better place to review grain processing than Scotland . We toured numerous distillery’s For a three week period ..needing to get back to Canada to sober up ……..thinking back; We left Canada with a beer and pretzel / rum and coke profile…. came back from Scotland /Ireland with a huge interest in single malt whisky …….the variety of different flavour profiles ….the beauty of them all coming from a single cereal barley ..there was something simple , something elegant yet complex . Somewhere at this point ..a seed was sown. (Paul, och slow doon Patrick, cannee write this down that fast - Patrick was getting right into it and his excitement made him yap fast!)
Paul; so exactly what expert skills do you have? Patrick; Vancouver Island is on the road to becoming known for single-malt whisky. Its Shelter Point Distillery is the second such whisky producer in Canada. Shelter Point’s trump card is Mike Nicholson, who’s been a master distiller at some of Scotland’s finest — Lagavulin, Royal Lochnager, Blair Athol, Glenkinchie and Caol Ila.
Paul; so when do you expect to introduce your first dram? Patrick; Our first release will be when its ready. I have had the opportunity to try some very young whisky which I thought were brilliant ..and some older ones which maybe not so much. I think as long as we maintain good consistent sensory analysis on a regular bases to ensure maturation is proceeding to a high standard, this is an ongoing programme. If I thought we could put a good product out tomorrow , it would be …that’s with my short term financial hat on , ….My long term financial hat says 8-10 years / marketing hat says it will be the 5 year mark (my intuition says - create a warmer climate and humidly control in the cask storage room, monitor regularly ….)
Paul; what is annual volume produced? Patrick; production of 150,000 for the first 6 months was light as we are conditioning pumps boiler /stills etc. , and finding the correct rhythm of the plant.
Paul; any techno details for me? Patrick; The stills are from Forsythes, a very traditional style a 5000 litre and a 4000, however our 5 – 5000 l fermentation tanks are made in Canada, are stainless steel, insulated and glycol chilled. This combined with a Programmable logic control system we are able to monitor control and maintain preferred fermentation temperatures .The mash tun was also made in Canada by a company called accent stainless steel , and has capacity of 1000kg. We anticipate a yearly production of 150,000 a/a. Saying that when we constructed the facility we put in place the ability to double our production by adding additional fermentation tanks to plant. As a new distillery there is little room for non-essential serves and we run a very tight ship while we wait for our spirit to age. All our products will be un chilled.
Paul; What about the first expression? Patrick; interesting question, no doubt with our Scottish stills there will be an influence , however ... let’s appreciate each country for their own products, Mexico for tequila , usa for bourbons , champagnes for France and of course , Scotland for single malts and Ireland for a distinct product - With our climate, soil conditions, equipment, and ageing areas, its no doubt we will have our own unique flavour profile.
Perhaps if we do another interview in 6-12 months we can sample our new made and have our own sensory analysis. At least it would have been in a cask long to get the sides wet !as the first cask was filled June 2011!
THANKS VERY MUCH PATRICK, WE LOOK FORWARD TO A SAMPLE SOON AS!
UPDATE; Paul and Liz of Angels will be taking a trip to Shelter Point in January 2013, courtesy of Lawrence; whisky intelligence. This will be at the same time they atteend the Victoria Whisky Festival in Canada! For more information visit www.shelterpointdistillery.com
Shelter Point Distillery will be offering a limited number of casks from its yearly production to whisky lovers who would enjoy being part of the adventure from its very beginning. A cask of Shelter Point has a volume of 200 bulk litres of spirit. In cask the alcohol strength will be around 60% During maturation, some alcohol will evaporate. This is known as the 'angel's share' and represents approximately 2% per cask per year. If bottled at cask strength, the owner would get approximately 250 x 750ml bottles of whisky. If bottled at 40% (which we would recommend), the cask owner would get approximately 300 bottles. Provincial and federal duty and tax will be due when bottled. Insurance and storage charges are included in the price for the first five years. Shelter Point Distillers will arrange the bottling of the cask. Labels can be designed by the cask owner and must fit standard bottling requirements.