Food & Drink Awards 2019

Page 70 LUXlife 2019 Food & Drink Awards Not all whiskeys are made equal, and Shelter Point Distillery’s certainly stands above the rest. Using traditional techniques and good-old-fashioned-know- how, the team at Shelter Point make a whiskey that is truly unique. We caught up with Manager, Jacob Wiebe to find out more. Shelter Point Distillery: Best Artisan Spirit Distillery - Canada Halfway up the eastern coast of Vancouver Island, one of Canada’s largest craft distilleries is turning out one of the world’s most exquisite whiskeys. Turning out top- notch spirits is no easy task, especially when you have a reputation to consider. ‘Clients expect high quality spirits, so we have to deliver with every release we have,’ explains Jacob. It sets a high standard, with an implicit promise that no bottle will disappoint. Shelter Point do their best to ensure that they never do. Setting Shelter Point apart from a more commercial provider is simple. Shelter Point’s team are trained to an exceptionally high standard – some have studied at Heriot-Watt in Scotland – and all take an active approach to the production of smooth whiskeys that soothe the soul. ‘We are very hands on with our equipment which allows us to control every aspect of our operation, ranging from distilling to bottling to selling,’ Jacob tells us. ‘We only use grain sourced in BC, and we distil and ferment on-site. This makes our cost of production cost a little more but allows us to support local agriculture.’ This source of the barley from which the spirits are made is very local indeed. ‘We are one of only a handful of distilleries that grow their own barley and distil on the same site,’ explains Jacob. ‘We are naturally blessed with the key ingredients of exceptional handcrafted artisanal spirits: fertile fields to grow our barley, a large underground aquifer to provide naturally filtered water and crisp sea air compliments of the Salish Sea.’ This combination of factors is a perfect storm, allowing the team at Shelter Point to create a truly unique sort of spirit, influenced entirely by the beautiful surroundings. Taking five years to age in barrels hand- selected by Kentucky-Bourbon producers, this delicate process is given all due care and attention. According to Jacob, the secret of their distinctive flavour comes from a surprising source. ‘A whisky’s flavour and quality are determined by a number of things, but the three main factors are the barley, the water and the unique attributes of the equipment,’ he explains. ‘Aging takes place within a few hundred yards of the ocean, which imparts a wonderfully unique flavour to the whisky.’ The methodology behind making Shelter Point Whiskey is fascinating, and necessarily slow. ‘Nothing is particularly hurried here,’ says Jacob with a smile. ‘We took our time to get the distillery right, and we’re doing the same with everything else.’ The distillery has been developed to gather specific tastes for the customer. Forsyths of Rothes are recognised experts in the copper pot stills used in Scotland – and also at Shelter Point. This, along with the barrels, makes the production of whiskey and other spirits at Shelter Point a fascinating experience. The distillery has been specially constructed so that visitors can get an up-close view of the process and the final product. Free tours and tastings run from Wednesday to Sunday between 12 noon and 5pm. Tastings are available 7 days a week from 12 noon to 5pm. Those looking for something a little more selective can book a private tour if they so wish. Unfortunately, not all distilleries can be like Shelter Point. It’s an artisan paradise. From barley to bottle, an incredible amount of care, attention and love is put into ensuring that only the finest spirits reach their customers. Contact: Jacob Wiebe Company: Shelter Point Distillery Website: Telephone: 001 778 420 2200