A few minutes with the founders of Signal Hill Canadian Whisky
Canadian whisky is famous around the world, and rightfully so.
One of the latest (and lovely) players on the scene is Signal Hill Canadian Whisky. "While Canadian whisky is often a showcase of different grains, Signal Hill focuses instead on casks. The distillery takes corn and malt spirit and ages them in three types of cask – ex-bourbon, ex-Canadian whisky and new oak," according to The Whisky Exchange.
Here's our interview with the founders of Signal Hill.
Q: First up: Talk to me about the idea of Newfoundland and whisky. What made you decide to make Signal Hill? What was missing in the market from your perspective?
A: Our intent was to develop a profile that would appeal to a broad demographic: from the novice drinker to the whisky geek. Consumers are looking for more flavourful whiskies and are open to trying new brands and styles. Q: Let's talk about Signal Hill — how many people are involved? When did it start?
A: Signal Hill is made up of three founders: Jonathan Hemi, Brian Meret and Kristina Cappellini. We are a new brand of whisky and are lucky to have an extremely talented team working with us. Signal Hill was released in Spring 2018. Q: What qualities does Newfoundland water have that make it so good for making whisky/spirits?
A: Newfoundland has some of the purest water around. The quality of the water improves the overall flavour profile of this finely blended whisky. Even actor Russell Crowe awarded Newfoundland “the No. 1 tap water in the world.” Our whisky is produced within sight of Signal Hill (weather permitting, of course). Q: What about the name Signal Hill? When did you realize that it would be a great name for the whisky, with a great story behind it?
A: We all have a love for Newfoundland’s stunning natural beauty. Aside from being produced on “The Rock,” like our whisky, Signal Hill represents adventure, innovation and longevity. It is a place of connections, being said to have received the first reported transatlantic wireless transmission and the waypoint for the first non-stop transatlantic flight carrying airmail. Signal Hill seemed like a natural fit for us. After all, communication and getting together is what social drinking is all about.
Q: Whose idea was it to include the viking symbol on the label? How did that come about?
A: We did extensive research on Newfoundland, its people and history while developing the brand. The logo is inspired by an ancient Norse symbol that represents early viking influences in Newfoundland. To us the triangles of the “Valknut” perfectly represent the three most vital parts of Signal Hill Whisky, or what we like to call “the trinity” — the grains, the water and the barrels.
Q: How hard was it to come up with the flavour profile? Did everyone agree that needed to agree?
A: It took two years of development until we came up with the current blend. Signal Hill Whisky is a blend of column-distilled corn whisky and pot-distilled barley. Together they create a smooth and light characteristic with subtle nut and malt flavours.
Q: What sort of feedback have you had so far?
A: We have a really strong acceptance by consumers around the world. Signal Hill appeals to a broad demographic: from the novice drinker to the whisky geek. Q: What are the long-term plans for Signal Hill? Where do you want to see the brand go?
A: We are currently looking at development of range extensions, selling in more than 14 countries and we are very excited to announce that Signal Hill Whisky has just been awarded a score of 94 points by The Tasting Panel. Nothing is off the table down the road.
Q: Last but not least, what did you do before you decided to make whisky?
A: Whisky has been a passion for all of us. Before Signal Hill, we have collectively been in the drinks business for a long time and have learned a lot about creating, selling and marketing spirits internationally.