Urban Distilleries

A trip to France and an unplanned tour of a Cognac distillery put Mike Urban on the path to making his own liquor. He now owns the largest distillery in the province.

325 Bay Ave., #6, Kelowna

Read more about Urban Distilleries:
• Urban Legend: How one Okanagan man’s hobby became a serious business


• Paul’s Tomb Gin
• Spirit Bear Espresso Vodka
• Spirit Bear Gin
• Spirit Bear Naturally Infused Vodkas
• Spirit Bear Vodka
• Urban Single Malt Whisky
• White Bear Spirit
• Apricot Schnapps
• Blackberry Liqueur
• Blackcurrant Liqueur
• Blueberry Liqueur
• Calvados
• Cherry Liqueur
• Kirsch
• Okanagan Muscat Grappa
• Sweet Mead Honey Wine


Spirit Bear Gin

FRAGRANCE: Lavender.
FLAVOUR: Chamomile tea, more lavender.
FEEL: Very even; similar tone from start to finish.
FINISH: Long, really dry. Quite perfumed.
BEST ENJOYED: In an Aviation—hold the Creme de Violette.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Worth a try if you enjoy floral flavours. —Josh Pape, April 2016

Urban Single Malt Whisky

FRAGRANCE: Mild grain, sweetness with citrus and subtle grassy notes. Definitely some oak.
FLAVOUR: Vanilla, citrus and wood.
FEEL: Oily with a nice smoothness.
FINISH: Medium. The grain sticks around, the sweetness doesn’t.
BEST ENJOYED: Splash of ginger ale.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Released in 2011, decent for the first single malt style whisky produced in B.C. —Trevor Kallies, July 2016

Blackcurrant Liqueur

FRAGRANCE: Grape jelly, port, sour cherry.
FLAVOUR: Welch’s Grape Fruit candy (in a good way).
FEEL: Sweet at first, with a burst of acidity.
FINISH: Tart, fruity, acidic.
BEST ENJOYED: In classic English cocktail, the Bramble.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Buy a bottle, it’ll last for a while. A little goes a long way. —Shaun Layton, October 2016

Spirit Bear Espresso Vodka

FRAGRANCE: Fresh brewed coffee.
FLAVOUR: Bitter cacao and coffee.
FEEL: Astringent and dry.
FINISH: Lasting coffee flavor.
BEST ENJOYED: As an Espresso Martini.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Locally roasted beans in Kelowna bring a dry style espresso-flavored vodka great for drinking on the rocks or in an Espresso Martini. —Robyn Gray, February 2017

Sweet Mead Honey Wine

FRAGRANCE: Honeysuckle, baked sweets.
FLAVOUR: Sweet, dry, nutty; orange blossom, orgeat, candied rose complemented by fall spice.
FEEL: Beautiful, silky sweet, yet not too syrupy. Riesling-like finesse.
FINISH: Slightly sweet, nutty, almost like an Amontillado sherry.
BEST ENJOYED: Solo in a small wine glass.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Phenomenal honey wine. Very versatile. Buy now. —Shaun Layton, October 2017


Sons of Vancouver

James Lester and Richard Klaus now have a lounge licence at their North Vancouver distillery, meaning cocktail service is in
full effect.

1431 Crown St., North Vancouver


• No. 82 Amaretto
• Vodka Vodka Vodka
• Chili Vodka


Chili Vodka

FRAGRANCE: Peppers. Red bell and chillies.
FLAVOUR: Fire. All chillies all the time.
FEEL: Hot. Spicy.
FINISH: Lingering heat.
BEST ENJOYED: Sipped neat or in a Caesar.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A fun one to try if you like it hot. Very hot. —Josh Pape, July 2016

Barrel Aged No. 82 Amaretto

FRAGRANCE: Kalamata olives and vanilla. In a good way.
FLAVOUR: Marzipan, vanilla, with a touch of stone fruits.
FEEL: Velvety, lingering.
FINISH: Lingering heat.
BEST ENJOYED: Go old school: Godfather would be cool (with Scotch) — add a lemon twist to balance it.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Delicious. More complex than the original version. —Josh Pape, October 2016

No. 82 Amaretto

FRAGRANCE: Way more apricot jam than the more traditional apricot pits. 
FLAVOUR: More dried apricot flavour, raisin, caramelized fruit and honey.
FEEL: Sweet and sticky.
FINISH: Honey on toast.
BEST ENJOYED: On ice or over ice cream. Seriously: Enjoy this. 
THE BOTTOM LINE: Not your typical amaretto and better for it. Delicious. —Trevor Kallies, October 2017

Old Order Distilling

At their Penticton distillery, Graham Martens and Naomi Gabriel take barley from Vanderhoof, malt it in Armstrong, then distill it with spring water from Anarchist Mountain.

270 Martin St., Penticton


• Heritage Vodka
• Legacy Gin
• Genesis Whisky
• Blessed Bean Coffee Vanilla Liqueur


Legacy Gin

FRAGRANCE: Dill, licorice.
FLAVOUR: Anise heavy, funky fruit.
FEEL: Thin.
FINISH: Citrus and aniseed.
BEST ENJOYED: In a Corpse Reviver #2.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Mix with citrus and absinthe. —Shaun Layton, April 2016

Blessed Bean Coffee Vanilla Liqueur

FRAGRANCE: Raw vanilla; imagine opening a bag of vanilla bean pods.
FLAVOUR: Milk, vanilla and coffee. Almost a barista drink.
FEEL: Not as sticky as expected. Smooth and clean for a liqueur.
FINISH: Nice coffee bitterness at the back.
BEST ENJOYED: Great addition to coffee or latte, or on rocks as a decent after dinner option.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Very good alternative to commercial coffee liqueurs. —Trevor Kallies, July 2016

Black Goat Vodka

FRAGRANCE: Sweet, lightly toasted grains.
FLAVOUR: Vanilla, tropical fruits, white pepper.
FEEL: Silky and soft.
FINISH: Sweet, shorter.
BEST ENJOYED: As your favourite highball. But darker.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Bit gimmicky. If you want black vodka, go for it! —Josh Pape, October 2016

Heritage Vodka

FLAVOUR: Some heat with a decent amount of grain.  
FEEL: Innate creaminess.
FINISH: Touch of grainy smoothness.
BEST ENJOYED: Toss it in the freezer and drink it ice cold. 
THE BOTTOM LINE: Wax dipped with no tab, so required a knife to open. They leave a decent amount of grain flavour in the distillate so it is enjoyable to drink! —Trevor Kallies, February 2017

Sheringham Distillery

Jason MacIsaac was a successful chef before he turned distiller, and he brings his local, sustainable attitude toward food to his small batch spirits.

2631 Seaside Dr., Shirley

Read more about Sheringham Distillery:
A matter of taste: At Sheringham Distillery, Jason MacIsaac brings a chef’s palate to the still


• Akvavit
• Seaside Gin
• Barrel Aged Seaside Gin
• Vodka
• William’s White



FRAGRANCE: Floral, with white pepper nose.
FLAVOUR: Light, slightly sweet.
FEEL: Well balanced, thin finish.
FINISH: Tad bit of tropical fruit, very pleasant.
BEST ENJOYED: On the rocks, lemon twist.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Pleasing, great packaging, good Martini vodka. —Shaun Layton, July 2016


FRAGRANCE: Citrus and anise.
FLAVOUR: Spicy caraway.
FEEL: Oily and mouth-coating. 
FINISH: Sweet and warming. Long.
BEST ENJOYED: As an aperitif before a good meal, especially fish.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A beautiful medley of botanicals that sing in perfect harmony. A great twist on the Scandinavian spirit. —Robyn Gray, October 2016

Dark Chocolate Vodka

FRAGRANCE: Cocoa nibs and raw bitter chocolate.
FLAVOUR: Real, proper crushed cocoa.
FEEL: Lean. More booze than sugar.
FINISH: Long and even.
BEST ENJOYED: An a well made chocolate Martini — spirit forward and not overly sweet. 
THE BOTTOM LINE: A refreshing alternative to all of the sickly sweet chocolate products available in our market. —Josh Pape, February 2017

Seaside Gin

FRAGRANCE: Fragrant, floral, damp wild flowers, seaside walks.
FLAVOUR: A bit savoury, piney juniper notes, candied violets, wild elderflower.
FEEL: Very balanced, great viscosity.
FINISH: Danky, savoury, pleasant briny finish.
BEST ENJOYED: This gin screams G&T or a citrus forward cocktail. Works great with shrubs. 
THE BOTTOM LINE: A phenomenal gin, not for Martinis, but for mixed drinks. One of the best in BC, buy now! —Shaun Layton, July 2017

Barrel-Aged Seaside Gin

FRAGRANCE: Salty and briney, mild citrus.
FLAVOUR: Citrusy, mostly lemon. Some juniper and savoury notes.
FEEL: Mouth-coating. Very pleasant.
FINISH: Lengthy, with more of the savoury botanicals sticking around.
BEST ENJOYED: Cold with lemon zest.
THE BOTTOM LINE: I can typically take or leave oak-aged gins; this one is interesting and worth a chance. —Trevor Kallies, October 2017

Shelter Point Distillery

Self-described “farmpreneur” Patrick Evans and family established a distillery on their 380-acre farm near Campbell River, growing their own barley for their single-malt whisky and vodka.

4650 Regent Rd, Campbell River

Read more about Shelter Point Distillery:
Whisky in the jar: After five long years, Shelter Point’s single malt has come of age


• Shelter Point Single Malt Artisanal Whisky
• Shelter Point Cask Strength Whisky
• Double Barrelled Single Malt Whisky
• Canada One Artisanal Vodka
• Sunshine Liqueur


Yo! Off the Wall Spiced Vodka

FRAGRANCE: Cinnamon.
FLAVOUR: Barley sweetness and cinnamon spice.
FEEL: Clean and smooth.
FINISH: Residual sweetness and tickling spice.
BEST ENJOYED: In a highball with an artisanal cola.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Barley spirit makes this nicely balanced vodka easy-going. —Robyn Gray, April 2016

Shelter Point Single Malt Whisky

FRAGRANCE: Mild grain, little citrus and oak.
FLAVOUR: Slight hint of spice, fruit sweetness and a hint of chocolate.
FEEL: Smooth and silky.
FINISH: Medium long, grain lingers and is very pleasant.
BEST ENJOYED: Neat or rocks; you’ll be fine either way.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Balanced and delicious. Easily mistaken for a more established distillery.
This is a good buy.
 —Trevor Kallies, July 2016

Canada One Artisan Vodka

FRAGRANCE: Quite neutral. Very clean, a hint of spring flowers.
FLAVOUR: Heaps of anise, black pepper, mace.
FEEL: Buttery feel, in a great way.
FINISH: Coriander and black pepper, long, pleasant finish.
BEST ENJOYED: Very cold and crisp classic Martini, no garnish.
THE BOTTOM LINE: This one was a real surprise; thumbs up! —Shaun Layton, October 2016

Barrel of Sunshine Liqueur

FRAGRANCE: Quince, orange marmalade, maple custard, mulled wine.
FLAVOUR: Tarte Tatin in an ISO glass! Quince, apple cider, candied orange.
FEEL: A little thick, but for what it is very pleasant.
FINISH: Christmas spices, citrus explosion.
BEST ENJOYED: In a Sidecar or Brandy Crusta. Or with soft cheese and fruit preserves after dinner.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A great addition to any back bar. —Shaun Layton, July 2017

Double Barrelled Single Malt Whisky

FRAGRANCE: Caramel and cacao.
FLAVOUR: Pronounced alcohol with baking spices.
FEEL: Light and astringent.
FINISH: Lasting toffee warmth.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Baking spice flavours play amazingly with sweet vermouth. —Robyn Gray, October 2017


Arbutus Distillery

Head distiller Michael Pizzitelli brings both a background in science and his experience in brewing to Arbutus Distillery’s ever-growing range of botanical-forward spirits.

1890 Boxwood Rd., Nanaimo



• Coven Vodka
• Empiric Gin
• Juniperus Lupulus
• Baba Yaga Absinthe
• Grand Visco Brandy
• Espresso Vodka


Coven Vodka

FRAGRANCE: Very little alcohol vapour, mild caramel and vanilla.
FLAVOUR: Dark caramel, toast.
FEEL: Creamy.
FINISH: Long finish of dark toast and caramel.
BEST ENJOYED: Martini or mixed drinks.
THE BOTTOM LINE: With the strong vanilla caramel notes, citrus isn’t the way to go with this one. I’d be interested to see it in an Espresso Martini. 
—Trevor Kallies, July 2016

Juniperus Lupulus

FRAGRANCE: Forest and wood.
FLAVOUR: Extremely rustic.
FEEL: Quite soft.
FINISH: Slight sweetness on the finish.
BEST ENJOYED: Not your usual gin. Could add a rustic twist to a Negroni or work well for a Dirty Martini.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Very unusual and unexpected. The wet hops and aged oak add really intense flavours some may find overpowering in a gin.
 —Wendy McGuinness, October 2016

Espresso Infused Vodka

FRAGRANCE: Coffee! Roasted beans. 
FLAVOUR: Not overly sweet. Tastes like cold brew.
FEEL: Better than other products — less thick/rich/cloying.
FINISH: Pleasant. Some sugar but not out of control.
BEST ENJOYED: Really cold. Maybe over ice, but dilution isn’t necessary.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Excellent product. If you want an espresso-flavoured spirit, this is worth a shot. —Josh Pape, February 2017

Baba Yaga Genuine Absinthe

FRAGRANCE: Fennel, licorice, citrus.
FLAVOUR: Dash of water, fresh citrus and tons of anise.
FEEL: Medium to full body.
FINISH: Long, hot, super delicious.
BEST ENJOYED: Neat or with a dash of water. A fantastic rinse for your Sazerac.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A very enjoyable absinthe. But be careful! –Scott Barber, June 2017

Empiric Gin

FRAGRANCE: Full of juniper and lemony citrus aromas.
FLAVOUR: Lemon with a touch of coriander, moving into juniper.
FEEL: Thin, slightly oily. Some heat on the back end.
FINISH: All juniper with the other botanicals taking a step back.
BEST ENJOYED: Some playful Gin & Tonic opportunities here.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Not a bad addition to the gin shelf. —Trevor Kallies, October 2017

Ampersand Distilling Co.

Father and son, Stephen and Jeremy Schacht, hand craft their spirits on five acres of organic farmland in the Cowichan Valley, distilling their gin and vodka from B.C. wheat.

4077 Lanchaster Rd., Duncan


• Per Se Vodka
• Ampersand Gin.


ampersand ginAmpersand Gin

FRAGRANCE: Juniper and coriander.
FLAVOUR: Juniper forward, floral, spiced finish.
FEEL: Medium to high viscosity.
FINISH: White pepper spice.
BEST ENJOYED: In a Gibson Martini.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Great value. Mix in citrusy drinks or a classic Martini. 
–Shaun Layton, July 2016

Per Se Vodka

FRAGRANCE: Light and creamy, almost vanilla.
FLAVOUR: Same, familiar creamy, semi-sweetness of a wheat vodka.
FEEL: Mildly mouth coating and pleasant.
FINISH: A little heat on the back, but easy to sip neat and at room temperature.
BEST ENJOYED: Chilled with not much else. Martini bound!
THE BOTTOM LINE: Not surprised it was voted B.C.’s best vodka two years running. –Trevor Kallies, October 2017

Central City Brewers & Distillers

The successful B.C. brewer of the popular Red Racer beers, Central City began distilling after it moved into a giant new facility in North Surrey in 2013.

11411 Bridgeview Dr., Surrey

Read more about Central City Brewing and Distilling:
Royal flush: Central City’s newly-released gin pays homage to its B.C. roots

B.C.’s gold-medal gin: Central City strikes award-winning balance with Queensborough

Roll out the barrel: Surrey’s Central City may have begun as beer brewers, but they are fast becoming one of B.C.’s most important distillers of single malt.

B.C. distilleries aim to produce world-class whiskies


• Lohin McKinnon Single Malt Whisky
• Lohin McKinnon Barley & Rye Lightly Peated Whisky
• Seraph Vodka
• Queensborough Gin
• Spirit of IPA
• Spirit of Merlot


Queensborough Gin

FRAGRANCE: Spruce tip.
FLAVOUR: Spruce, juniper and citrus.
FEEL: Soft and smooth.
FINISH: Lasting botanical bouquet.
BEST ENJOYED: In a Last Word cocktail.
London Dry style gin with added spruce tip gives a unique West Coast flavor. Well rounded. —Robyn Gray, July 2016

Spirit of Merlot Liqueur

FRAGRANCE: Very light. Background of wine fruit.
FLAVOUR: Light and subtly sweet. Allspice and anise notes.
FEEL: Thin, with some alcohol warmth.
FINISH: Lengthy. Sits on palate with a background of fruity notes.
BEST ENJOYED: Chilled or alongside a warm beverage.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A fun, local eau de vie. –Trevor Kallies, October 2016

Lohin McKinnon Single Malt Whisky

FRAGRANCE: Stonefruit, honey, heather, slight oak.
FLAVOUR: Christmas cake, toffee, candied citrus.
FEEL: Lovely silky feel on the palate.
FINISH: Subtle spice, stewed fruit, charred oak.
BEST ENJOYED: As is, no water, no ice.
THE BOTTOM LINE: If this is three years old, we are in for a treat in the next ten years on the West Coast for whisky. –Shaun Layton, February 2017

Spirit of IPA

FRAGRANCE: Floral, mild hops, citrus, jelly bean.
FLAVOUR: Slightly sweet, some chocolate notes.
FEEL: Light to medium body.
FINISH: Super clean, spicy, delicious.
BEST ENJOYED: Neat. Would also make a fantastic Gin Sour.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Super-cool product. Not overpowering or as hoppy as you might expect. –Scott Barber, June 2017

Lohin McKinnon Barley & Rye Lightly Peated Whisky

FRAGRANCE: A touch of peated grain when you search for it.
FLAVOUR: Peat smoke more present on palate. Rye spice is nice.
FEEL: Spicy.
FINISH: Nice rye spice.
BEST ENJOYED: Neat at bottle strength or a touch of water.
THE BOTTOM LINE: They did a good job on this one. It’s a fun whisky to sip on. –Trevor Kallies, October 2017

Odd Society Spirits

This East Vancouver distillery’s three founding self-described “odd” owners are busy producing different expressions of gin, vodka and both white (unaged), and single malt whiskies.

1725 Powell St., Vancouver


• East Van Vodka
• Wallflower Gin
• Mongrel Unaged Spirit
• Oaken Wallflower Gin
• Crème de Cassis
• Bittersweet Vermouth
• Mia Amato Amaro
• Canadian Single Malt Casks


Bittersweet Vermouth

FRAGRANCE: Gingerbread spice, bitter orange, vanilla.
FLAVOUR: Upfront viscous sweetness, making its way to the back of your palate with a lovely bitterness.
FEEL: Full and coating mouthfeel.
FINISH: Sweet orange and chocolate lift for an enjoyable bitter finish that goes on and on.
BEST ENJOYED: Serve at room temperature as a digestif; could shine in many different cocktails.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A must have! —Wendy McGuinness, April 2016

Wallflower Gin

FRAGRANCE: Lavender.
FLAVOUR: Surprisingly balanced.
FEEL: Lovely and fragrant.
FINISH: Sweet, long boozy finish.
BEST ENJOYED: As a boozy cocktail. Martinez or Pink Gin. Maybe even an Old Fashioned.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A really fun spirit. If you like floral notes then jump in — you won’t be disappointed. —Josh Pape, July 2016

Crème de Cassis

FRAGRANCE: Prunes, dried red fruit, berries.
FLAVOUR: Dried figs, raisins and currants.
FEEL: Rich. A bit cloying, but not overwhelmingly so.
FINISH: More balanced than expected.
BEST ENJOYED: In an El Diablo with Dickie’s ginger beer. Kir Royale (go easy, it’s quite concentrated).
THE BOTTOM LINE: The best cassis you’ll likely ever try. —Josh Pape, October 2016

Mia Amato Amaro

FRAGRANCE: Sweet, chocolate, with a musky background.
FLAVOUR: Semi-sweet bitterness, herbal. 
FEEL: Viscous.
FINISH: Long with a great balance of bitter and sweet. 
BEST ENJOYED: Cold neat, or try in a Paper Plane. 
THE BOTTOM LINE: Packaging knocks it out of the park. Fun and engaging, with a fantastic auburn colour. —Trevor Kallies, February 2017

Mongrel Unaged Spirit

FRAGRANCE: Buttered bread and light malty notes.
FLAVOUR: Complex and refined, very nice for an unaged rye-based spirit. Very well balanced. 
FEEL: Pleasant sweetness.
FINISH: Slightly hot, loads of spice, in a good way.
BEST ENJOYED: Makes a great White Whisky Sour. Begging to be shaken with citrus. 
THE BOTTOM LINE: Makes a great White Whisky Sour. Begging to be shaken with citrus. —Shaun Layton, October 2017

Legend Distilling

In a former doctor’s office on the Naramata Bench, Dawn and Doug Lennie created Legend together, drawing on the local bounty of the Okanagan for the base and flavours of their gin and vodkas.

3005 Naramata Rd., Naramata


• Doctor’s Orders Gin
• Shadow in the Lake Vodka
• Black Moon Gin
• Slowpoke Farmberry
• Blasted Brew Spiked Coffee
• Slowpoke Sour Cherry
• Manitou Orange and Sumac Liqueur
• Naramaro


Doctor’s Orders Gin

FRAGRANCE: Slightly funky, tropical fruit.
FLAVOUR: Apples in the botanical mix add a bright freshness, floral notes.
FEEL: Nice mouthfeel.
FINISH: Floral, with slight bitterness.
BEST ENJOYED: In mixed cocktails, a Bramble perhaps.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Nice mixing gin, great packaging. —Shaun Layton, April 2016

Shadow in the Lake Vodka

FRAGRANCE: Alcohol, pepper.
FLAVOUR: Hot, spice.
FEEL: Lean up front.
FINISH: Dry, lingering heat.
BEST ENJOYED: In a Moscow Mule.
THE BOTTOM LINE: More of a mixer than a sipper. —Josh Pape, July 2016

Manitou Orange & Sumac Liqueur

FRAGRANCE: Fresh mandarin peel.
FLAVOUR: Slight sweetness that is packed with fresh mandarin and a light finish of sumac.  
FEEL: Light.
FINISH: The mandarin lingers on the back palate.
BEST ENJOYED: A good substitute for Cointreau or Triple Sec.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A lovely liqueur that packs a citrus punch with a touch of spice.  —Wendy McGuinness, October 2016

Black Moon Gin

FRAGRANCE: Familiar gin notes with a background of savoury aromatic rosemary.
FLAVOUR: Soft and savoury with both the juniper and herbs shining. 
FEEL: Oily in a good way with slight front-of-mouth tingle. 
FINISH: Long and herbal. Juniper and pine stays around. 
BEST ENJOYED: Would make for a fun cocktail gin with riffs on Gimlets and Collins coming first to mind.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A fun gin to play with. —Trevor Kallies, February 2017

Blasted Brew Spiked Coffee

FRAGRANCE: Fresh, sweet, roasted coffee bean.
FLAVOUR: Well integrated, sweet yet reserved coffee flavour. 
FEEL: Mouth-coating and viscous.
FINISH: Long-lasting sweet toffee and coffee.
BEST ENJOYED: In an Espresso Martini.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A well-suited substitute in coffee liqueur-based cocktails. —Robyn Gray, July 2017


FRAGRANCE: Cream soda. Candied citrus.
FLAVOUR: Citrus, gentian, licorice. In that order. 
FEEL: Sweet and bitter battling it out on your palate.
FINISH: Long. Sweet but dry.
BEST ENJOYED: Neat after a big meal. Maybe over vanilla ice cream or even added to an affogato.
THE BOTTOM LINE: More citrusy than most amari. Worth a shot. —Josh Pape, October 2017

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