A purveyor of single malt whisky sown, grown and distilled right here on Vancouver Island. Nestled between Courtenay and Campbell River this nearly 400 acre estate is home to Shelter Point Distillery. Since my first visit to Shelter Point Distillery they have added Still Master Vodka, a tripled distilled vodka infused with flavours. This recent visit I was accompanied by three gentlemen, two of whom are scotch whisky lovers.
The facility is both a surprise and a delight. A new timber frame structure holding massive copper stills and stainless steel vats.
Besides the structure itself there is a large patio adorned with potted flowers and features an arbour running the full length of the building. Overlooking the two hundred acres of barley and beyond towards the ocean.
Inside the Distillery is reminiscent of a fine gentlemen’s club with leather club chairs and sofas, two gas fireplaces and extensive use of stone throughout the building. Passing through the large entry foyer you first encounter the lounge with the grand fireplace and comfy seating. The fireplace is double sided and on the opposite side is a slightly larger room again furnished with leather sofas and club chairs with a large bar at the end of the room. Along the outside wall of this room are windows that have been frosted with scenes of barley fields, each one slightly different that look out towards the fields. Most days you can catch sight of the resident deer who think the barley has been planted just for them.
Passing through a double set of frosted glass doors you find yourself in what is the distilleries working area. The space is surprisingly elegant in a relaxing way. The use of the dark grey stone is prevalent through the building and in this room it compliments the ever so high timber framed wooden ceiling. On an upper level are the copper stills and the vats for distilling the whisky.
Of course the purpose of our visit is to taste. The gentlemen are anxious to get started. James the project and operations manager starts with a tasting of the line of Vodkas currently available. There is a wonderful selection of flavoured Vodkas from Maple to Chocolate Mint. After experiencing a flight of flavours the gentlemen next were treated to a taste of the developing single malt whisky. Although young there was a consensus that the potential for greatness is definitely on the horizon.
Next we headed up the stairs to the second level of the main room for a complete tour and full explanation of the operation. The stills are an impressive site, all imported from Scotland. Used for both the single malt whisky and vodka distilling. The vodka is an 80 proof triple distilled process influenced by flavour concentrates, fermenting at a lower temperature processed through a carbon filter.
The single malt whisky is scheduled to be ready to market in early December of this year. A small quantity will be available for sale with most of this original stock held and aged. Eventually the whisky is reduced in quantity as it improves in quality as it ages. As each year passes a small quantity will be available for sale as the whisky continues to age to its maximum 18 years. Something to look forward to. Unlike wine, whisky ages not in the bottle, only in the barrel. Cask sales are also available.
For 2014 tour are free:
Monday or Tuesday – Sales only (12pm-5:00pm)
Wed. thru Sun. – Tours and Sales (12pm-5:00pm)
Private tours available by appointment.
Where to buy:
At Shelter Point Distillery (directions)
Private liquor stores (list)