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The Spring Mill Distillery Spring Mill 'Traditional Straight Whisky'

Finally, a craft whisky which exceeds expectations

4 093

@MegawattReview by @Megawatt

8th Oct 2022

1

  • Nose
    23
  • Taste
    22
  • Finish
    24
  • Balance
    24
  • Overall
    93

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  • Brand: The Spring Mill Distillery
  • ABV: 40%

This whisky intrigued me for several reasons: it is from my hometown of Guelph, Ontario; it was founded by John Sleeman of Sleeman's Brewery; and the marketing blurb makes it sound more like a bourbon than a Canadian whisky. So what do we know? It is a 3 year old whisky aged in virgin oak, made using a secret mash bill (i.e., not a blend), and is non chill-filtered.

Nose: bourbon! And not as in "a hint of bourbon"; this is a dead ringer for Kentucky straight bourbon. Fresh-baked bread, beeswax, cedar, and cinnamon on the nose. A bit of ginger and stone fruit. Baked apple skins. Very complex yet approachable. Light tobacco smoke, and pumpkin spice. And finally, vanilla and caramel, the only tasting notes mentioned on the label. I love it already.

Taste: a smooth palate entry becomes full and intense. Tingling oak spice surrounded by yeasty bread notes with a sweetish core. Nothing subtle here, yet it shows a refinement uncommon, perhaps unheard of, in such young craft whisky.

Finish: medium-long, with smoky oak notes and gently fading spice. No bitterness or off-notes at all.

Balance: someone knew what they were about when they made this stuff. What I get from this bottle is a clear sense of purpose: they wanted a whisky to compete with good bourbon and in my opinion, they got it. Rather a bold move, and one which sets them apart from most contemporaries. I've only tried one or two other Canadian whiskies even remotely like this one; Crown Royal Bourbon Mash comes to mind. In any case, they have done everything right with this one. Even bottling at 80 proof seems like a solid move, as the whisky drinks perfectly at this strength. A repeat buy for sure.

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