Lumsden's Last Mountain Distillery wins top whisky honours at national competition
Last Mountain takes home 1 gold, 2 bronzes for whiskies and was named Micro-Distillery of the Year
A Saskatchewan distillery took home top honours at this year's Canadian Whisky Awards, beating out bigger contenders for three medals and also being named Micro-Distillery of the Year.
Braeden Raiwet, master distiller at Lumsden-based Last Mountain Distillery, said he believes the smaller scale of the operation allows it to compete against bigger and more established distilleries.
"We're not making huge big batches at a time, we're kind of doing it by taste and feel. We have a little more freedom that way," he said.
The distillery won a gold medal for its single cask 100 per cent wheat whisky, made from wheat grown at a farm near Earl Grey, Sask.
The distillery describes it as a filtered 3.5-year-old whisky, aged in a once-used bourbon barrel, with Raiwet saying it has hints of of vanilla and caramel.
"One hundred per cent wheat isn't too common for whiskey so that might have been a little bit of different taste they picked up," he speculated.
The distillery also won bronze medals for its single malt barley and single cask rye whiskey.
The Canadian Whisky Awards saw 10 whisky experts blindly tasting more than 100 whiskies from across the country.
Competition ever fiercer
The art of making whisky is becoming more competitive in Canada, with awards founder Davin de Kergommeaux noting the top whiskies from just five or six years ago might only be silver medal contenders now.
"The competition is that intense," he said in a Canadian Whisky Awards press release.
You put in good grain, you're going to be getting good spirits.- Braeden Raiwet, master distiller
In 2015, Canadian malt whisky Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye was named the best whisky in the world, beating the powerhouse that is Scotland.
Raiwet said Saskatchewan has a natural advantage in the art of whisky making.
"We have some of the best grain in Saskatchewan. You put in good grain, you're going to be getting good spirits," he said.
"So I can only see things going up from here."