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Vancouver Island distilleries win big at Canadian Artisan Spirit competition

(DEVINE Distillery & Winery/Facebook) (DEVINE Distillery & Winery/Facebook)

Three Vancouver Island distilleries were among the winners of this year's Canadian Artisan Spirit competition, including the winner of the best overall spirit in Canada.

DEVINE Distillery, located in Central Saanich, took home this year's overall Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year award with its Ancient Grains whisky.

The whisky beat out hundreds of other entries from nearly 80 distilleries across the country to take home the award.


The Ancient Grains spirit was named the Canadian Artisan Spirit of the year, as well as the best "Young Whisky" for 2022.

One judge described the whisky as having notes of "huge fruit and cedar on the nose, with salty caramel, tangerine, and tarragon and lemongrass on the palate, with white pepper on the finish."

The judge added that the spirit had a "rich, almost oily texture (that) carries lingering tastes," and that it was a "flavour bomb of a young whisky."

The whisky also received an "excellence in terrior" honour, which means the use of local ingredients is noticeable in the spirit.

"Ancient Grains has demonstrated its pedigree over several years, earning gold medals and Best in Class (Young Whisky) in 2019, 2020, and 2021," said Alex Hamer, founder of Artisan Distillers Canada, in a release on Feb. 9.

"It’s fitting, that this year, this outstanding spirit has claimed the top spot," he said.


This year's Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition had 23 awards categories, and two other Vancouver Island distilleries earned gold medals.

Shelter Point Distillery, located just south of Campbell River, won two awards with its whiskies.

It took home first place in the Single Grain Whisky category with its Shelter Point Montfort 151, and was awarded the gold medal in the Single Malt Whisky category with its Shelter Point Double Barrel 6.

Meanwhile, Ampersand Distilling Company in the Cowichan Valley won the year's best Contemporary Gin award with its titular Ampersand Gin.

This year marked the fifth Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition, which is put on by Artisan Distillers Canada.

For the purposes of the competition, artisan distilleries are defined as small scale, independent producers that use their own techniques to "ferment, blend, infuse or age" their spirits. Top Stories

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