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- Brand: 66 Gilead
- ABV: 47%
Prince Edward County, in Ontario, is a beautiful area with quaint B&Bs and terrific wineries - it makes for a fantastic long weekend. Spirit your significant other away here and they will love you forever. And - it boasts a micro-distillery: 66 Gilead.
I don't know much about them, but they make for a nice visit as it is on a beautiful farm, and a cooper works on the property. And when you visit, you will see that they are as hand-crafted as Still Waters, if not more so. They have distilled vodka, gin and shochu and have recently done a few whiskies - small batch, non-coloured and non-chill-filtered.
Wild Oak is a bourbon-style whisky, chiefly corn with rye, wheat and "a hint of smoke" (whatever that means). It is distilled in a copper pot still and aged in new charred oak casks.
The colour is a reddish deep gold. On the nose I get sandalwood, strong oak, underripe green banana and a hint of patchouli (which I find unpleasant, but it's minor). Definitely a young whisky, despite the colour - it has some of the qualities of a grappa. There is smoke but I cannot quite place the source - though it's wood, not peat. Cherrywood? Something in it reminds me of a smoky whisky from another micro-distiller, Corsair in Tennessee, called Triple Smoke. A weird note of...Aquafresh (yeah, I know...) Water brings out the rye and more woodsmoke. All over the place but never boring.
On the palate there are more raw wood notes - more pine than oak. Indeterminate herbs, cherries, ginger, chili pepper and that odd sandalwood/patchouli quality. Water evens things out a bit, adding rye spice. Again - there is nothing quite like it but it doesn't fully work.
The finish is spicy but otherwise very nondescript - a bit of oak at the death. Well, this one's a little nuts. On one hand, you can tell it's young. On the other, it's very oaky. How is this possible? New charred oak, which is very unusual as the sole wood influence of a Canadian whisky. Even the colour tells you this has huge wood, despite its youthful qualities. And this one is really hard to score. If I take apart its individual elements - nose, taste, finish and balance - it scores low. But my gut would score it higher overall just because it's so goddamn weird. In other words, it's greater than the sum of its parts. Though as one friend put it, "It's not quite ready for prime time." 66 Gilead is an interesting distillery (and definitely worth a visit) and I'm excited to see what it can do with longer maturation.