Putting the 'Grain' in 'Ancient Grains'

In 2017, after the successful release of our first whisky, our distillery team started brainstorming for how to round out our whisky portfolio with a 'book end' to that flagship classic Glen Saanich Single Malt. Knowing we wanted something that broke the mold of traditional whisky, our Head Distiller drew inspiration from a loaf of artisan bread made from what are known as, the "Ancient Grains".

Glasses of Ancient Grains Wheat

The 5 BC grown grains that make up our Ancient Grains Young Whisky are barley, spelt, emmer, einkorn, and khorosan. The latter 4 are known as the Founding Four grains which have been left virtually unchanged from how they were cultivated 10,000 years ago. As a terroir-focused distillery, what better way to pay homage to our locale than to create a whisky that encompasses the long-standing flavours of our small slice of earth here in BC.

Barley is a grain most people are familiar with, as it is the base of the vast majority of beer, spirits, and even wine. It's been a food (and drink) source for millenia for good reason, as the biological components lend incredibly well to the malting and distilling process. What's special about the barley we use here at DEVINE? It is sourced mere minutes from our distillery at Field Five Farm on the Saanich Peninsula. Doesn't get much more local than that!

Spelt is an heirloom wheat that has been cultivated by civilizations dating back to 5000 B.C and known as a precursor to modern-day wheat bread. Spelt offers a mildly nutty flavour with a hint of sweetness. 

Emmer is a foundational grain (2nd oldest after Einkorn) that was first domesticated on the Fertile Crescent and was a big part of the Ancient Roman diet. Emmer is still grown in Italy today and this varietal is the one typically listed as 'Farro' on many restaurant menus. It has a nutty, sweet, and grassy flavour. 

Einkorn is thought to be the Mother of all wheat and was one of the first plants to ever be domesticated and cultivated. The rich toasted nut flavour combined with it's propensity for fermentation makes it a fantastic base ingredient for our whisky. Here at DEVINE, we harvest the Einkorn for our Ancient Grains at our home farm. 

Khorosan (also known as Kamut) is known for it's large golden kernels and buttery taste and smooth texture. It is a precursor to the modern Durum wheat, commonly used in fresh pasta. We also grow our own Khorosan on our own estate.

In addition to sourcing our malted barley from Field Five Farm, we source organic Emmer and Spelt from Fieldstone Organics in Armstrong, BC. We love supporting our BC farmers in our quest to produce this especially unique spirit.