The Last Mountain Distillery is part of a small new wave of Micro-Distillers which have began to appear on the Canadian landscape over the last few years. These are small ‘mom and pop’ operations which make their spirits in small batches usually only a barrel or two at a time. This particular distillery is located in Lumsden, Saskatchewan, and it is owned and operated by the husband and wife team of Colin and Meredith Schmidt.
Colin Schmidt took a rather round about road into the distilling business as his original dream was to play pro hockey. He was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in 1992 and signed his first pro contract in 1996. Unfortunately Colin’s pro hockey experience was brief, cut off by a few shoulder injuries after a brief stint with the big club playing what Colin referred to as “left bench”.
Fortunately for us, Colin had aspirations beyond a hockey career, which included starting up his own small distillery. It was a few years later, after Colin left hockey behind, that he and his wife, Meredith began to look for business opportunities in Saskatchewan and the idea of starting up their own micro-distillery still appealed strongly to both of them. To make a long story short, in August of 2010, the ambitions and hard work of Colin and Meredith paid off when they opened Saskatchewan’s first micro-distillery, in Lumsden, Saskatchewan, called the Last Mountain Distillery.
Currently, they bottle two spirits at the distillery, Vodka and Whisky. Last fall I was given the opportunity to review the Last Mountain Hand Crafted Vodka (click on the link to read the review), and today I am letting everyone know that the first bottles of Last Mountain Canadian Rye Whisky are out of the barrels, and according to their website, can be purchased at their store on Hill St. in Lumsden, Saskatchewan.
As I understand it, Colin and Meredith estimate that it will be about six months more before they finalize the blend and begin to ramp up production. The whisky is, as Colin puts it, a work in progress, and although it is available now, it is actually still in the experimental stage. All Colin will tell me about the whisky is that it is a unique spirit which “has undergone a fairly unique aging process”.
Of course, that did not stop Colin from sending me a preview bottle, just to see if I liked where he was at with the blend. So being the good citizen that I am, I had a few friends over this past weekend, and after an enjoyable afternoon sampling Vodka, we tried a few glasses of the Last Mountain Canadian Rye Whisky later that evening.
Although I understand that the bottle I was given is not necessarily representative of what the final blend will be, nevertheless I have no hesitation in letting everyone know that as the blend stands now, it is really quite good! Last Mountain Whisky has a nice mellow smoothness combined with a surprisingly robust flavour full of butterscotch and rye. If, as Colin believes, the whisky will be even better in six months when the blend is finalized, then I think I might have to plan a trip to Lumsden, Saskatchewan to pick up a case (or two).
Good luck Colin and Meredith!