Originally the Sivó family started in Hungary making fruit brandies. They were well received by many people in Hungary.
Jump ahead to today, and we’re in Quebec, which is like Hungary except French is a lot easier to learn and the country is younger. Oh, and all those other things that differ Hungary from Quebec.
Now Sivó distillery is currently creating the first Quebec “Single Malt” and a real “Rye”, not a fake one like other Canadian whiskies. They carefully select their grains, distill in small batches, and use gently toasted oak barrels for aging.
They use an “Aroma” type still. I’ll admit this is the first time I’ve ever heard of one. From what I see, it’s made in Germany, handcrafted, and is originally designed for very aromatic spirits. I think this comes from the family’s history of making brandy. It is a 5 plated column
They also use pure Champagne yeast, which is a first for me as well. Finally the water comes from their own source on Covey Hill, in the Adirondacks in Montérégie, where the distillery is located.
As well, they recently reached out to the Club de Scotch Whisky de Québec to help them choose what to release. While I heard that they differed, that shows they care about others thoughts to at least give them the chance and see what they think.
The other thing is they are very up front about the specifics of their whiskies, which is a whisky nerds dream. So let’s get to each of the whiskies, shall we?
I guess I should have said “almost” whiskies, as each of these aren’t quite 3 years yet. So keep that in mind.
Up first we have Sivó L’essence du rye. It’s non-chill filtered, and this is the first edition of it. Also they used port, meaning that they’ve been keeping up with how amazing port and rye work together.
Let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: $35.75 CAD at the SAQ
Mashbill: 33% malted barley, 67% rye
Cask Type: 225 liter Cornish oak barrels of medium toast and barrels previously used for port.
Colour: 5Y 8/6
Nose: Floral, butter, brown sugar, apple, cinnamon
The floral aspect of the rye makes it’s way through the port, as well as the brown sugar.
Very surprising for a young rye. As I’ve said before, some ryes can do well at a young age, and others are jerks. This is definitely working at a young age. Good amount of spice.
Taste: Light caramel, banana, cereal, oak, lemon
The young nature shows up on the taste. Nosing this blind I would think it was a fully matured rye, which I know varies. Still, with the exception of some strong cereal notes, the taste isn’t too rough. Light, somewhat simple, however after 1 year in a barrel? Quite impressive.
Finish: Dill, ginger, malt, cloves, nutmeg, oak, pepper
Ah, here we go. Quite spicy finish, though short, and a little rough. Also some of that dill in there, which I seem to remember means some lactobacillus made it’s way into the whisky. Which honestly happens to large distillers, so I’m not surprised.
I like the malt element on the finish. Given some time this will be quite interesting. For now it’s probably the roughest part.
Conclusion: Well this is quite a surprise for a young malt. It’s spice forward, the floral aspect doesn’t overdo it, and there’s some malt elements that really play well into the whole whisky.
That said, the finish is very spice dominant, there’s some dill notes that are throwing it off (a little), and it needs time. It’s simple.
However I’m quite impressed. They’ve figured out a whisky that tastes good at a young age. That’s step one in making whisky. So kudos, I look forward to trying it again as it evolves.
Sivó L’essence du Single Malt is the other whisky sent to us. It’s 100% malted barley from Quebec, and made in a very similar fashion to the rye. Shall lightening strike the same spot twice?
Price: $44.50 CAD at the SAQ
Cask Type: 225 liter Cornish oak barrels of medium and high toast
Colour: 7.5Y 9/6
Nose: Cedar, grain, malt, pine
Not so far, no, it does not hit the same part twice. This is more of a young spirit. There’s a lot of wood elements. The malt is quite nice though.
Taste: Lemon, pine, caramel/butter, mineral
The taste has started developing. Now it’s not as high level as the rye, however we’re starting to see citrus and butter/caramel.
That said, the pine/mineral parts of the too young malt is still quite dominant.
Finish: Bread dough, ginger, musk, malt, Pinesol
It’s a very chemical flavour. Needs more time. However it’s building an Irish type flavour, which is interesting.
Conclusion: I’ll be frank: After having the young rye, the Single Malt seems like it was made by someone else. This is going to need some time to build a flavour. It’s not going to come quickly.
That’s the way of some whiskies, especially single malts (barring those companies like Kilchoman that have figured out how to make whisky quickly).
Personally I’d fall back on the rye to start, use it, and age the Single Malt for another 10+ years before coming back.
World Whisky reviews #251-252, Canada reviews #78-79, Whisky Network reviews #1124-1125