“Curious” – Shelter Point Montfort District Lot 141 Single Grain (2018) 46%

Something you really do need to know about Shelter Point distillery from BC, Canada is when they say “field to flask”, they really do mean it. The grow their own barley on their farm with this particular expression named after the lot:

Raised right here on our family farm on Vancouver Island, Montfort District Lot 141 is a truly unique field-to-flask whisky. The name itself is the very lot in which the single-grain barley was grown, and the coordinates to the exact field are included on every bottle. Distilled in our traditional copper pot stills, aged in American oak and French oak at our oceanfront warehouses, and bottled on-site by the Shelter Point family, Montfort DL 141 is a proud product of our distillery home.

I was so enthusiastic about our 2018 edition Shelter Point quartet that I arranged to share it with our Whisky Ladies, our original Mumbai tasting group and other enthusiasts…

Here is what we discovered! Starting with the Whisky Ladies of Mumbai when the bottle was freshly opened…

Shelter Point Montfort District Lot 141 Single Grain (2018) 46%

  • Nose – Lots of fruits, sour mash, “barnyard funk” not in a bad way, just very rustic, like a dusty granary. Then chocolate mousse, cider, grape… with the aromas continuing to evolve… an unmistakable juicy fruit, gummy bears and dried tropical fruits
  • Palate – An odd sweetness, grape mash, becoming even sweeter, the oak is also there, a creamy or buttery quality
  • Finish – Limited
  • Water – Surprising how much it opened it up, yet also became less layered in the aromas

There was no doubt that the aroma was the most complex element… a few remarked how it was a shift after the beautiful Artisanal Single Malt.

A few weeks later, our original Mumbai tasting group had a chance to sample:

  • Nose – Benedryl, lots of cherry cough syrup, sweetened berries, cut green apple, tempered from earlier, single mono note, sweetest fruit, milk chocolate
  • Palate – Chocolate fudge, coconut “Bounty” candy bar, good body, cream
  • Finish – Short

More like a liqueur than a whisky… Shelter Point shares that the grain came from a single field. Yet we had lots of speculation about what the grain could be – was it barley that was unmalted? Or something else…? And what casks were used to achieve that berries and chocolate cream combination?

Then a revisit with friends familiar with Shelter Point whiskies soon after that:

  • Nose – Raw husk, bourbon-like, honey, faint liquorice, purple grape
  • Palate – At first so different than the aroma, heavy spice, sweet, farm like… Next sip was completely consistent with the nose – the light liquorice very much there, same with the purple grape
  • Finish – A fennel herbal finish with spice

This one requires a bit of effort. Particularly after the delightful Artisanal Single Malt, this Shelter Point is a definite contrast. Curious, challenging… one that takes patience to unravel. Yet worth taking time and feel privileged to have sampled.

As for the folks over at Shelter Point have to say?

  • Tasting notes: On the nose, Montfort DL 141 has distinct notes of vanilla fudge, dried fruits and hazelnut. The palate is honied and herbaceous with a luxurious assortment of dark chocolate cherries, leading to a warming spicy finish, with lingering oak and almond nougat.
  • Still: Custom-designed copper pot still
  • Base: 100% unmalted barley (That’s it. Nothing else)
  • Distillation: Small-batch, 3x distilled
  • Spirit: Natural colour and non-chill filtered

It also won the best Canadian grain in the World Whiskies Award 2019 having this to say:

“Floral and honey nose, orchard fruits and peaches with a light toffee colour. Spice, but very well balanced. The palate brings in green wood and flavours of baking spices, coconut and marmalade. Smooth and buttery in the mouth. Medium finish.”

What else did we sample in our Shelter Point 2018 Edition evenings?

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Douglas Laing’s Old Particular – Invergordon 28 year Single Grain 56.5%

After the Girvan 8 year and Strathclyde 25 year, the last of our Single Grain Trio was from Invergordon from the Highland region – at the ripe age of 28 years.

Invergordon 28 year (Aug 1987/Nov 2015) DL 11004 56.5% Douglas Laing’s Old Particular, 490 bottles

And what did we find?

  • Nose – Muted varnish, honey vanilla, more wood with a sharp element too, lemon, herbs, quite musty, one even described it as a ‘dirty dish rag’
  • Palate – Burnt toast like marmite, very salty, like sea water, some cinnamon and spice
  • Finish – Dry roasted spicy salty peanuts, very dry
  • Water – Brought out even more spice with a hint of liquorice

On 1st sip one remarked “makes an impact”… that sharp element on the nose came through as a bit harsh on the palate initially. It was exceptionally dry and it was certainly the saltiest finish I’ve ever come across. One even said “It’s like gargling salt water.”

Was it our style of whisky? No. Was it worth trying? Absolutely.

Here is what the folks over at Douglas Laing have to say:

  • Nose: Opens with a spiced toffee character, with polished oak and a sweet home baked quality
  • Palate: Mouth coating and sweetly spiced, with caramel butter cream and a treacle character
  • Finish: A spicy, sweet and pleasantly long finish, showing late oak

For another perspective, here is what the chaps at Master of Malt have to say:

  • Nose: Cinnamon and rich toffees, vanilla, resin and oak.
  • Palate: Soft fudge, dates, brioche, molasses and a hint of pot pourri.
  • Finish: Spicy oak.
  • Overall: A rich and dignified single cask grain.

What else did we sample in our Single Grain Trio with Indian Whiskies Duo evening?

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Berrys’ Girvan Single Grain 8 year (2006/2014) 46%

Our Single Grain trio evening began with a ‘statutory warning’… a not so gentle reminder to free ourselves from expectations of superior single malts and instead consider the humble grain that mostly goes disguised into blends…

And what did we find?

Girvan 8 year (2006/2014) Cask 532398 46% (Berrys’)

  • Nose – Though only 46%, had an initial ‘hit’ of pure alcohol! Quite grainy, then slowly sweet bananas, some vanilla from the oak wood, lemon drop sweetness peeped out… all the elements were very subtle with the overall scent of light varnish
  • Palate – First pronouncement was “Well… it isn’t unpleasant” Hmm… Oddly, the 2nd sip was a bit harsher, back to the initial nose of alcohol… as we continued to sip, a bit of coconut could be found..
  • Finish – Yes… there is a finish… of pepper and spice
  • Water – Add a few drops or dollop and it pumps up the spice, shifting to quite a bitter quality
  • After airing – We set it aside and returned after nearly an hour to find it had settled into quite a sweet nose – almost cotton candy like! Whereas the palate and finish remained much the same

Overall… it was interesting to sample a single grain but it wouldn’t be the whisky of choice for any of us. I flipped back to notes from an earlier experience with the Girvan 28 year – clearly age helped yet there was enough to discern some similarities.

Distilled in 2006 and bottled in 2014 unchillfiltered and uncoloured.

For another perspective, here are the producer notes:

”This ex – Bourbon barrel single grain whisky has pronounced fragrances in vanilla, custard creams and some lively citrus. The palate is surprisingly full and oily with waves of coffee cream, spice and juicy lime. To finish there is a delicate spicy prickle.”

While I can’t say for certain, I strongly suspect this bottle was purchased from LeClos, Dubai Airport for $42. We sampled it 31 August 2017 from a closed bottle.

What else did we sample in our Single Grain Trio with Indian Whiskies Duo evening?

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Exploring Aged Grain Whiskies – Girvan, Strathclyde + Invergordon

Once upon a time if you had asked me to characterize our Bombay Malt & Cigar club, I would have said it was a set of gentlemen in pursuit of the finer things in life. In terms of their preferences – quality older Scottish single malts would be the ONLY whiskies to make the cut.

Fast forward to find we’ve come a long way… we’ve explored a Westland trio from the US, undisclosed distilleries, blends, bar night fare, proving these gents aren’t so stuffy after all!

So when our August 2017 session featured a trio of single grains followed by a duo of Indian whiskies… we knew we may not be in for the BEST whiskies but we were game to try some DIFFERENT drams.

Single Grain Trio:

Indian whiskies duo:

Would any of these whiskies be ones any of us would want to run out and buy? No. But was it worth spending a bit of time trying? Absolutely!

For our tasting notes, read on over the next few days…

This session also happened to be our annual partner’s night… A chance for our better halves to enjoy an evening, jointly socializing after the ‘serious business’ of whisky tasting concludes and desultory puffing on cigars with conversation commenced.

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on: