Written By Guest Writer Events / Libations / Spirits / Vancouver May 27, 2014 Report: BC Distilled. SHARE VIA: Facebook Twitter PinterestCraft distilling in BC has variously been described as a fad, a trend and a phase. Judging by the turnout at the recent BC Distilled event in Vancouver’s CBC Studios, it’s an honest-to-god boom. Organizer Alex Hamer of BC Distilled corralled all 16 of BC’s licensed distilleries (plus one from the Yukon) in two rooms, to show off everything from grappa to shoju to maple liqueur. BC’s oldest distillery, Okanagan Spirits, was there, as well as the newest, Sons of Vancouver.Vodka was the most-poured spirit, and you’d be wrong in thinking that a neutral spirit couldn’t show character and nuance. Pemberton was a standout for me, with its rich mouthfeel and lingering finish characteristic of potato vodka. Liberty Distillery’s Truth Vodka, made from organic BC wheat, is a silky counterpart with notes of citrus and vanilla. Left Pemberton Distillery Tyler Schramm. Right Longtable’s Rita and Charles Tremewen Gin was next, and here the styles varied even more dramatically. Although juniper provides the signature resin-y flavor in all gins, the list of bit players, called botanicals, is wide and creative. There was the traditional coriander, cardamom and licorice-y star anise. But I also tasted sarsaparilla, lavender, and my favorite, spruce tips—a creative local twist. Standouts were Longtable’s London Dry Gin, Victoria Gin, and Urban Distilleries’ Spirit Bear Gin.I apprenticed at the venerable Bruichladdie Distillery in Islay, Scotland, so my bar for single-malt is set pretty high. But I wasn’t disappointed. I sought out two whiskies I knew were soon to be released, from Pemberton Distillery and Shelter Point. Both whiskies are barely three years old, but show mature flavours of toffee and spice, vanilla, and dried stone fruit. Most distillers at the event were also pursuing whiskey; here’s hoping they will also explore rye, corn, wheat, and blends as well as malted barley.Last to be tasted and enjoyed was the wide variety of fruit brandies, schnapps and liqueurs from craftsmen like Merridale, Okanagan Spirits, and Maple Leaf Spirits. Merridale is fresh off a Gold Medal at the American Distillery Competition for its Stair’s Pear Brandy, aged in French oak for six long years. Although ten years doesn’t seem very old, Okanagan Spirits pioneered craft distilling in BC, and they have probably the widest range of spirits of any BC producer. Their absinthe has always been a standout for me among a wide range of great fruit-based spirits. Then there was the avuncular Rolf and Annette Engel of Maple Leaf Spirits proudly pouring their unique & delicious European-style liqueurs such as Cherry, Maple and Quince.In addition to restaurant, bar and media folk, the tasting was well attended by a would-be distillers in various stages of start-up, promising a lively craft spirits scene in BC for years to come. Will success spoil BC’s young distillery scene? As a consumer, I can’t wait to find out. — Ken WinchesterKen has a background in journalism, winemaking and distilling. He co-owns Niagara Grocery in James Bay, Victoria with Jennifer McKimmieMerridale Estate Cidery SHARE VIA: Facebook Twitter Pinterest Written By: Guest Writer We get many people writing guest articles for us, as well as past contributors. This is the Guest ... Read More You may also like Events / Victoria July 17, 2017 Vancouver Island Feast of Fields Celebrates 20th Anniversary Pictured above: The first Feast of Fields Vancouver Island organizing committee. (Left to right) Sinclair Philip, Alfons Obererlacher, Mara Jernigan, ... Read More Events / First Look July 1, 2017 Up Island News & Buzz (July/August 2017) This past winter gave all of us extra appreciation for a much anticipated warm sunny Island summer; the lineup of food and drink festivals ahead is ... Read More Events / Okanagan June 22, 2017 Deconstructing Dani García and the Feast: Food and Film Festival Everyone loves popcorn and junky food before a movie, but arguably—or absolutely—better are hand-selected local bites and drinks. Patrons to ... Read More Chefs / Events / Wine Events May 3, 2017 It’s true love when Chef Meets BC Grape Nowhere else can you taste so much great food paired with so much exceptional BC VQA wine. At Chef Meets BC Grape, you can sip from hundreds of wines ... Read More Causes / Events March 28, 2017 10 Questions for Food Activist Arlene Stein Arlene Stein is a Canadian food activist and the executive director and founder of Canada’s largest food symposium, Terroir, which takes place ... Read More Culture / Events March 27, 2017 Celebrating Canadian Gastronomy at Terroir, May 29, 2017 This year marks the 10th annual Terroir Symposium in Toronto, described as “a gathering of dreamers, disruptors and international luminaries in the ... Read More Comments are closed.