Turner Valley’s Eau Claire Distillery is continuing its winning ways, recently earning three awards at a prestigious world competition.
The craft distillery’s Rupert’s Exceptional Canadian Whisky earned double gold at the 2022 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Master Distiller Caitlin Quinn said the blended whisky was released during the COVID-19 pandemic and was made to bridge a gap from the company’s higher-cost single malts to be more approachable to people who might not be familiar with whisky.
When it was released, “we weren’t sure how it was going to be received,” Quinn said.
The judges are looking for flavour profile, she said, and consider the smell, the taste and the finish of the whisky. The whisky also got a gold medal at last year's competition
“I was really excited to see that it's still being well-received.”
“I can tell from multiple awards across multiple years that we are being consistent in the way we are making it, and people are still enjoying it.”
Quinn has a degree in chemistry as well as a master’s degree in brewing and distilling. She has been in charge of production since she started at the distillery seven years ago.
“Everything that comes out is ultimately one of my brain children.”
Eau Claire’s Batch 005 Single Malt Whisky won gold, and their Cask 47 Single Cask Single Malt Whisky received bronze at the event.
Batch 005 was their seasonal release, made from 100 per cent malted barley and stored in ex-bourbon, ex-sherry and new European oak barrels.
“It ages for three years in separate casks and after three years we blend them together,” Quinn said.
The Cask 47 came from one single sherry cask, where it was stored for six years and was a very limited release.
“We had just over 300 bottles,” adding that the last few bottles were sold last week.
“Making great whisky is a labour of love,” said Quinn, in a press release. “It’s incredible to see our whiskies recognized on the world stage, from one of the most renowned spirits competitions in the world.”
Rupert’s Exceptional Canadian Whisky is the distillery’s first year-round Alberta whisky. The non-chill filtered whisky has no artificial colouring and uses some of Eau Claire’s best whisky barrels, which, the company says, results in a rich balance of flavours.
David Farran, founder, Eau Claire Distillery said any award from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition is a cause for celebration.
“But to receive such an esteemed award as double gold for our Rupert’s Exceptional Canadian Whisky is a testament to our dedicated to quality, and producing exceptional whiskies here in Alberta," he said.
The San Francisco World Spirits Competition began in 2000 and is considered the world's most influential competition of its kind. This year, over 4,000 entries were submitted in all categories.
The Distillery also won three awards at the 2022 World Whiskies Awards earlier this year, to go with awards won in 2021 from the SIP Awards, Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition, Alberta Craft Distillers Awards and the Canadian Whisky Awards.