Wildfire Whisky

We call it The Beast Wildfire Whisky. Born in the raging blaze of the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire, the whisky is a singular expression of the resilience and rebirth of the community, of the integrity and perseverance of the residents, and remembrance of the dedicated effort of the firefighters. That single run of whisky has been aging in oak barrels, for 6 years. It has mellowed from its fiery beginnings over time, and developed mature flavours that live up to its unforgettable legacy. In the coming days we’ll be bottling and packaging it in extremely limited quantities.

Special hand-numbered bottles are already spoken for and owned by charity auction winners, with the proceeds going directly to the Fort McMurray Fire Fighters Charities Association. A limited run of hand-numbered bottles are owned by and available for the Fort McMurray firefighters. Finally, three bottles will be available for auction at the launch event on December 3rd, with proceeds benefitting the Fort McMurray Fire Fighters Charities Association.


On an unseasonably hot spring day in 2016, fueled by relentless bone-dry winds, a raging wildfire swept through the city of Fort McMurray, leaving a smoldering swath of ruin in its wake. The fire spread across a million and a half acres of Canadian boreal forest and smoldered for over a year. Through its sheer size and ferocity, the blaze became known by firefighters as The Beast.

The city’s residents – over eighty thousand people – were forced to flee their homes and belongings as flames roared hundreds of feet above the trees just kilometres to the south. It was the largest wildfire evacuation in Canadian history. Thousands of homes and buildings were reduced to embers and ash, and many livelihoods were extinguished alongside.

Not everything was lost. Thanks to the swift and bold efforts of firefighters and first responders from across the nation, not a single human life was taken. Again, thanks to those firefighters many buildings were saved, though often suffering damage from the heavy smoke. One of those buildings spared was a small craft distillery in the city core near the protected valley bottom.

Outside the distillery, covered from the elements but exposed to the wood smoke from the nearby smoldering pine forest, sat a pallet of special peated malt, sourced directly from Bairds in Scotland and destined to become a fine Canadian whisky. During the immediate clean-up of the site, quick-thinking distillers, Bryce Parsons and Spike Baker made the call to salvage the malt. They had a spark of an idea: that the fire and dense smoke could have brought something new to that malt, something totally unique.

The distillers’ curiosity led them to send samples of the malt to the supplier in Scotland. Bairds concluded that it had taken on the smokiness of the wildfire and inherited unique characteristics and flavour profiles as a result. This malt was very special and would be the foundation a one-of-a-kind barrel-aged Canadian Whisky.

This unique liquid is the result of a once-in-a-lifetime calamity turned rare spirits opportunity in a whisky the very flavour of which evokes powerful reflections of a singular moment in time. A true one-of-a-kind, we will never see a whisky with this story again.

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