A Drink With…

Geoff Dillon, Distiller, Dillon's Small Batch Distillers

This local distiller has just welcomed an aged 100% rye to whisky fans.

LCBO: Dillon’s released The White Rye, an unaged rye, in 2013. Three years later, you’ve got an aged version. Tell us more.

GEOFF DILLON: We’ve only ever had one whisky recipe: 100% Ontario rye. No colouring, no flavouring, no fillers, no corn — just rye. We’ve been laying it down into different oak casks, and now it’s time to release it and give it a taste! The first release is a caskstrength single-barrel offering [59% ABV]. It’s the truest statement of an Ontario rye whisky we could possibly make. There’s nothing in it but Ontario rye in Ontario oak.


LCBO: If this is the first release, what’s the second?

GD: The second release was aged in bourbon barrels and new Ontario oak. This whisky will be bottled at 43% ABV and should really show people what a rye whisky can be. At Dillon’s, our goal has always been to show off our ingredients. We want people to taste where our spirits came from.


LCBO: Speaking of which, where do you get your rye?

GD: We have one supplier for all of it, in Scotland, Ont., believe it or not. Brant Flour mills it for us, and we use an artisanal malter in Guelph. So it’s all very local.


LCBO: Can you describe the differences between the white and the aged ryes?

GD: They’re vastly different. The aged rye is still spicy, and you still get all the rye flavour. But it has become more complex and smooth with age. The white is unaged, and so it doesn’t have the mellow character. It’s pure rye spirit.


LCBO: How do you recommend tasting the second-release rye?

GD: Sip it straight up or on the rocks to really enjoy the flavours. Or try it in a Manhattan, using our own DSB bitters — which you can now get at the LCBO — and a fresh rye-soaked cherry or the classic maraschino.


LCBO: And food? What’s a great match for your ryes?

GD: They’re robust, spicy ryes, so they would work well with juicy hamburgers and steak. Or try aged or strong cheeses, like a cheddar, blue or Manchego, or a pecorino, such as Toscano.


LCBO: What’s next on the horizon for Dillon’s?

GD: We’re releasing a vermouth this winter, and our new cherry gin is now available — made with sour cherries from Cherry Lane farm, just down the road. It makes the best G&T!




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