The Cowichan Valley distillery wows the world with its handcrafted spirits
Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley may seem far away from just about everywhere, but that doesn’t mean the world isn’t taking notice. That’s thanks to an artisanal distillery named Ampersand Distilling Co., which is scooping up all sorts of awards for its carefully handcrafted spirits.
Earlier this year, for instance, the World Gin Awards awarded the distillery’s flagship Ampersand Gin “Canada’s Best Classic Gin.” It’s been made since 2014 from B.C.-grown wheat, eight botanicals and fresh spring water from the five-acre farm owned and operated by the Schacht family, Stephen and Ramona, their son Jeremy and his wife Jessica.
• Per Se Vodka
• Ampersand Gin
• Imperative Dry Vermouth
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