Côte des Saints Distillery
As of, December 7, 2019, the Côte des Saints distillery has finally opened its doors to the public for the sale of their first gin production. Availability in sufficient quantities for the province of Quebec will be offered at the SAQ as of February.
I mention “finally” because their story started about four years ago with the purchase of the fields for growing barley. More or less, a year and a half later, the distillery was built, the equipment was installed, etc … but the eight partners took their time with a guiding idea in mind; to produce whiskey that will compare to the best and it takes time to produce good whiskey. I am thankful as I spent the last two years, fortunate enough to assist privately for certain important moments (meetings, tastings of prototypes, barrels …), as well as allowing me all access for photography and perfecting my knowledge.
It was also necessary to find the rare pearl who knows how to genuinely run this show. Master Distiller Matt Strickland, a native of Nashville, USA, with several years of experience, decided to take up the challenge and move to Quebec. From what I have already tasted, he is definitely progressing in the right direction.
In regards to the equipment, everything is being completed on site including the drying or smoking of the grains. However, the vast 750-gallon copper still remains the centerpiece of the place !
While waiting for the whiskey to age, a gin including a selection of twelve quality ingredients was produced from the same locally grown barley base. These certainly include juniper berries and coriander but also include others such as cardamom, mint, fenugreek, lemongrass verbena and rosemary. Their quantity is no doubt doubled compared to the usual conception of gins and all is distilled directly into the still to fully extract the flavors. To ensure your gin tastes equally from start to finish, it is left to rest for three weeks before it is released. The result is a product rich in essential oils, colorless at room temperature but capturing a frosty hue when refrigerated. Although displaying 46.2% alc./vol., it is sweet to drink.
It is advisable to contact the distillery directly to make an appointment before visiting their site in Mirabel (QC).
Photos by : © Nemo [ photographe ] for Distilleries Canada