From the May/June 2011 issue
Victoria Spirits, located on the Saanich Peninsula on Vancouver Island, has been producing their signature Victoria Gin since 2006. Using a special formulation of nine botanicals (plus a tenth secret ingredient), distiller Peter Hunt works with wood to fire his German copper pot still, taking nearly a full day to produce one batch of 120 bottles.
Remarkably smooth and richly aromatic, Victoria Gin is redolent of juniper forests, cinnamon bark, and citrus groves. It has won numerous awards, including a silver medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, where it tied with the far better-known Hendrick’s Gin.
Taking their flagship product one step further, Hunt is now one of a very few distillers in the world who are ageing their gin in oak. Using American oak barrels, the Oaken Gin takes on a soft amber color and an aroma that is distinctly gin, but with softer undertones. On the palate the power of the gin remains, but there are nicely integrated caramel and toast accents, giving the gin a unique character.
And that’s not all. Victoria Spirits also produces a distinctive vodka product called Left Coast Hemp Vodka, using hearts of hemp (shelled hemp seeds) to obtain a mildly nutty nuance and silky texture. There is also their orange bitters under the Twisted & Bitter label, and a wine grape-based eau de vie (available at their tasting room).
And in the future, Victoria Spirits will be releasing a whiskey (tentatively titled Craigdarroch) made from barley grown, malted, and made into a beer wash entirely on Vancouver Island and aged in Garry Oak barrels. Now that will be something to toast!