WhiskeySith Review: Found North Single Barrel #1 – Sample

Found North Rye Whisky - Season 1, Batch 1

Meet Found North Whisky Canada. The Canadian Whisky not available to the Canadian buyer. Does that make me mad? Absolutely, however it also makes me happy because they are striving to “unlock the potential of Canadian distillate by creating unique, complex whiskies keyed to the American whiskey drinker’s palate and bottled with the Bourbon drinker’s mindset — undiluted, non-chill filtered and without additives”.

BOOM!. How can you not love that mission?

Heading North to Canada, Nick and Zach Taylor searched out mature distillates aged in our cold Canadian climate. Instead of finding ready-to-bottle single barrels, they discovers a vast array of cask teeming with potential. This created a rare opportunity to bring Canadian blending to the US market.

An extra special thanks to WhiskyTran. His generosity to provide me with a sample to try this whisky and write a review on is greatly appreciated. Bonus, he provided the great photos for this post and my Instagram.

Single Barrel | Season 001 | Barrel 001

Meet the inaugural single barrel. By the bottle: 204 bottle yield; new American Oak Char #3; 54.7% ABV (109.4 Proof); 66% Rye, 30% Corn, 4% Malted Barley; non-chill filtered; no additives; natural colour.

Found North’s single barrel program captures the precision of Canadian Whisky blending with the magic of selecting and bottling of a single barrel. Using well-aged whiskies they create an initial blend, then re-cask that blend into a variety of different barrels, oak types and char levels to create varying flavour profiles and unique style for each single barrel.

So what’s a season? From foundwhiskynorth.com: Each blend we create that transforms into a batch of single barrels constitutes a “Season.” Every subsequent round of single barrels we release will start with a new and different blend that can be identified by which “Season” is denoted on the label.

Season 1 started as a blend of 3 whiskies

  • 50% 12 year old rye
  • 20% 19 year old rye
  • 30% 21 year old corn

blended and married in December 2021 and re-casked it in January 2022 into 18 barrels. End of the day, know that they put a lot of attention into the making of their whisky and Single Barrel releases.

Well, how is it?

When Danh told me he was sending a sample, I was extremely excited. I have read a lot of posts on the web and Instagram about people tasting and reviewing this whisky. One question came to mind though. This is a Canadian Whisky, we have a lot of great Canadian Whiskies here that we don’t let leave our country. Will this one stand up to those? Time to dive in and find out.

Nose: immediately this is old rye, caramel, chocolate, black cherries. I’m not finding any youthful rye notes. Diving deeper, sour apple with cinnamon spinkled on the slices.

Taste: there is not a hint that this sip is 54.7%. That is an achievement for a rye; no ethanol burn; it’s all flavour. It gives a generous oily mouth coating with cracked peppercorn spice. Moving into an array of burnt bacon in dark chocolate, rich oak, old leather and a hint of what I imagine the smoke from my smoker while using mesquite would taste like. As the sip ends, I’m presented with a sweeter oak spice and nutmeg with hints of cayenne pepper as it begins to dry the palate.

Finish: black pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg hug you in a nice gentle blanket for a decent amount of time, somewhere between a medium and long finish. The spicy oils stick to my inner cheeks with a wonderful savoury and sweet flavours.

Wrapping it all up

Having a chance to taste this whisky expression that is both sold out and unavailable in Canada is a special experience. A very well made rye whisky by any standards, but one that has been master fully blended together, takes this bottling to the next level. I would very much like to be able to find a whisky like this in Canada. It is both familiar and something I have not tasted before.

I’m looking forward to hopefully having the chance to find another expression or two from Found North Whisky the next time I’m in the U.S.

Where to find me? You can find me hanging out mostly on Instagram and at WhiskeySith.com.


WhiskeySith Review: GrainHenge Arrowwood Rye Whisky

GrainHenge Whisky Arrowhead Rye Whisky Release

Rye whisky seems to be in a renaissance right now and today I’m talking about the newest release from GrainHenge Whisky out of Red Deer, Alberta Canada.

It’s hard for me to believe that just over a year ago, I was tasting GrainHenge’s first release, a single malt released at cask strength, Meeting Creek. Wow, that was a whisky distillers and distilleries dream about releasing as the first release. Since then they have followed it up with the easily drinkable single malt Elevator Row and what would be called bourbon if it had been made South of the 49th Parallel – Alliance (a store pick by Wine & Beyond).

Each previous release was unique to itself and all were released at Cask Strength.

“I am not creating rye whisky; I am creating whisky from rye.”

— Garret Haynes, Head Distiller

About Arrowwood

This 39-month-old whisky was not made to improve the Canadian classic but was to take inspiration from Canadian Rye and make something distinct. Bottled at 46.6% ABV, aged in #4 char new American white oak, 61% flaked rye (think steel cut oats, but rye) and 39% rye malt. You know this dram won’t be that classic Canadian Rye Whisky by any means. Oh, there are only 554 bottles available.

Well, how is it?

I wasn’t sure what to expect when this bottle arrived. Even better, it arrived just as a snowstorm was hitting us. This would allow me and a couple others to dive in and see what Arrowwood was all about.

Nose: beautiful spicy rye notes come through quickly without any burn. You can bury your nose in your glass on this. As I dive deeper, wonderful sweet scents begin to show: caramel; vanilla; brown butter, blending in with cinnamon and baking spice.

Palate: with a creamy mouthful, the palate matches the nose. Delicious rye spice (no offensive menthol or mint), moving into caramel, vanilla, double bubble (come on, we all know that gum from our childhood) and some candied fruit. It makes my mouth water for more.

Finish: after the sip, I’m left with rye spice, a hint of oak and lots of candied fruits that continue to linger before taking my next sip. Even with the 46.6% ABV it gives a gentle rye hug inside.

Wrapping it all up

Garret has achieved what he set out to do, create whisky from rye. The flaked rye in the mashbill gives this rye whisky a flavour that is deliciously different from using unmalted rye. It hits all the right notes for me, and I want to dive in to the next sweet candy sip.

It’s not often that a new distiller and distillery release can continue to follow up an initial release with not one, but 3 more whiskies that people want to drink. Some how GrainHenge is managing to do this and I’m glad I have all four releases on my shelf to enjoy and share.

Where to find me? You can find me hanging out mostly on Instagram and at WhiskeySith.com.



This bottle was generously provided to me from GrainHenge. Thank you for allowing me to enjoy, share and review it with no strings attached.

In-Depth Review: Boulder Spirits American Single Malt – The Trailhead

Here’s the Cole’s notes on this whiskey. During a business trip in Colorado, Steve (@park.whiskey) and Travis (@edmontonscotchclub), who run PWS Imports, the agency that has Boulder Spirits in their portfolio, tasted a sample of this whiskey at the distillery. They said “We want all of this.” And we all lived happily ever after. The end.

This tale is mostly accurate. Canada got 700 of the 850 bottles from the cask.

Just like Scotch and single malt brands from all over the world, American Single Malt distilleries and blenders are utilizing cask finishing and peated malt as well. Boulder Spirits is among a handful of brands that have had peated malt expressions from the start.

American peated single malt is a very different animal that the medicinal, briny, Lemon Pledge sort of vibe you get from Islay. It’s earthy and rich, like a campfire in a west coast cedar forest. With Boulder Spirits at least, their expressions are only very lightly peated. It’s more about the smoke than the peat.

Cask finishing is another element that is being more frequently utilized in American Single Malt. Sherry barrels of all types are most common, but I’ve seen Cognac, Tequila and Armagnac used too. And the list is growing rapidly.

The Boulder Spirits Trailhead expression, which is what I have in my glass today, is an attempt to take all of these things and pack it into a single bottle. This is a combination of peated and unpeated malt matured separately for four years in new, #3 char American oak barrels. Both casks were then dumped into an ex-PX Sherry barrel to marry for one more year. It’s bottled at 52.5% abv.

Nose: Scotch drinkers may expect the Sherry cask influence to be present right from the get go. Not so here. Even after a one year PX cask finish, the original cask maturation is at the forefront. Ripe, slightly sour cherries, lots of sponge toffee, a bit of dark roast coffee and a dash of cinnamon. After a while in the glass, the smoke from the peated malt starts to waft out of the glass. Underneath all of this is the undeniable signature of the PX cask. Combined with the barrel char of the American oak, it smells like the crispy caramelized edges of a freshly baked Christmas cake. The darker spices, the dried fruit. It’s all there.

Palate: The entry is like eating a milk chocolate fruit and nut bar. Rich and creamy. The PX cask is clearly asserting itself now. This this is quickly joined by still more raisins and a few prunes. Then the peat kicks in during the development. It’s slightly sour, but doesn’t consume the initial sweetness. Cinnamon, nutmeg and a good dose of clove arrive half way through and slowly build rather than crash in like a wave. The stages of this experience slowly ebb and fade so that one builds upon another.

Finish: Slightly sweet with a bigger dose or sour. Almost like the stuff they sprinkle on Sour Patch kids. Makes my mouth water. Rich cocoa emerges pretty quickly and fades slowly. As I breathe in and out after I have swallowed, that campfire smoke comes back again.

With water added

Much more of the PX cask influence now on the nose. Dark chocolate, raisins, nutmeg. It’s a little bit nutty too. Walnuts mostly. Instead of sponge toffee, I get soft Kraft caramels. The fruit and nut bar sticks around a lot longer now on the palate, resulting in a creamier mouthfeel throughout. The sourness from the peat doesn’t dig in quite as hard either. Nor do the spices. Lighter and creamier overall. The finish is less of the sour and more of the cocoa powder.


Any way you cut it, this is a phenomenal pour. It’s not a Sherry bomb. It’s not a peat monster. It’s something quite different, but incorporating enough from each of those extremes to make this a highly balanced experience. The only exception to this is that I feel like the unpeated malt kind of gets lost due to the peat and the PX cask finish. The sour peat note on the development kind of washes away the unpeated spirit too much. However, with everything else that this whiskey offers, it’s a solid “buy” recommendation from me.

Instagram: @paul.bovis

In-Depth Review: Boulder Spirits American Single Malt – Bottled in Bond

What’s one extra year’s worth of maturation time in whiskey? If you’re talking Scotland with its cool(ish) climate, it hardly makes a difference. Not so in other places around the world. Generally, hot and/or temperate climates really help to supercharge the aging process. Although not known for its searing heat, Boulder, Colorado is certainly temperate to cause noticeable differences from one year to the next.

Since I last wrote Boulder Spirits reviews, quite a lot has happened in the American whiskey world. Most importantly, American Single Malt, like Bourbon, is now an officially recognized category by the American Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). This has been a years long effort by a consortium of US distilleries such as Boulder Spirits, Balcones (Texas), and Westland (Washington). Although the rules are slightly less stringent than Bourbon, it is nevertheless a huge hurdle that has been overcome and will hopefully encourage still more distilleries to hop on board the barley train.

Since Boulder Spirits has been distilling single malt for quite a while now, they are one of the first distilleries in the country to be able to offer a whiskey that is Bottled in Bond (as well as their Bourbon, by the way). In the United States, Bottled in Bond whiskey requires the spirit to be distilled in a single season, matured for at least four years in a federally bonded warehouse and bottled at no less than 100 proof (or 50% abv). Their New American expression is one year less than the Bottled in Bond (which is in my glass today) and bottled at 46% abv. They are both matured in new American oak barrels that have been treated to a #3 char.

Let’s answer that initial question now, shall we? In the process, I’ll compare both the Bottled in Bond and American Oak.

Nose: It’s a bit shy at first. Give it a few minutes to open up. The cask has taken a firmer hold on the whiskey after an extra year. Quite a noticeable change. A nice balance between spirit and cask. The New American expression was bright, youthful, barley sugar with a slight hint of cardamom pods. This Bottled in Bond is much darker and richer. Grilled pineapple, ripe cherries, toasted cinnamon, freshly shaved nutmeg. After nosing more, I get a tiny bit of coconut.

Palate: Quite sweet on the entry. Vanilla cream and caramel with a little bit of zest thrown in. Tart cherries start the development, but dark roast coffee, cocoa powder, and a hint of dark chocolate mix with that not soon after. The sweetness from the entry mostly fades mid-way through the development, drying out the experience a bit. At the end of the development, there’s a ton of cinnamon. It’s kind of overpowering the rest of the spices.

By comparison, the New American retains that sweetness all the way through the development, allowing that spice cake/ginger snap cookie vibe to shine through at the end. That’s what I wanted to see with the Bottled in Bond as well, but instead, I’m treated to a richer experience. It’s a trade-off, for sure.

Finish: The coffee and cocoa powder hang on, but slowly fade along with the cinnamon. There’s just enough sweetness to prevent this from becoming too bitter at the end. The finish is definitely on the long side.

The finish on the New American isn’t as long, but I like the ginger snap cookie/cocoa powder notes more than the Bottled in Bond.

With water added

The grilled pineapple and cherry notes come out a lot more on the nose now, nicely balanced with the cinnamon from the cask influence. Water has made a huge difference in the development. The sweetness from the entry hangs on a lot longer, giving me that spiced cookie note that I love from the New American expression. The finish is sweeter and not as bitter.

With water, I like this more that the New American. Just with one year more, the Bottled in Bond gives me the best of both worlds. The richness that I got without water added, combined with the extra extra sweetness that I like from their New American.


Although I had some quibbles with this Bottled in Bond initially, it not only stands up incredibly well to water, it actually improves the experience dramatically. The same can be said of their New American expression as well. To me, this is a mark of a quality whiskey: one that has enough depth of flavor so that it doesn’t collapse with a few drops of H2O.

Instagram: @paul.bovis