GSN Review: Cannon Beach Distillery Dorymen’s & Donlon Shanks Rums


Mike Selberg was born in Portland, Oregon and spent his young life bouncing around the Northwest and Colorado.  He spent every summer in Cannon Beach, so it was no surprise that he made it his permanent residence a few days after graduating High School.

Mike attended the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA where he studied everything from Music to Psychology to Art History, before finally landing in the Natural Sciences. Biology and Chemistry allowed him the opportunity to learn with his hands in Lab classes.

“There was something about starting with an ingredient or compound and manipulating it into something completely different that was intriguing and fun.”

Mike was introduced to home brewing by his college friends, and continued making beer as a hobby years after he graduated. This foundation in the natural sciences along with experience with fermentation coalesced when Mike and Larry Peters Sr., a friend and regular at the bar he worked at, started discussing what it would take to manufacture Gin. download

“I learned that many, if not most, distilleries did not conduct every step of production to manufacture their spirits. There was a lot of purchasing and blending going on. I couldn’t imagine letting go of any aspect of the process.  There are so many steps to creating a spirit, and each can be manipulated in a host of different ways. I wanted my spirits to be uniquely my own. I wanted to make something that no one had ever tasted before, and the only way to do that was to control as much of the process as I could. There is so much room for experimentation in this industry, it seemed crazy that more distilleries weren’t crafting new styles or new categories of spirits every day.”

In November of 2011, Mike registered Cannon Beach Distillery with the State of Oregon, and on July 1st 2012, he opened the doors to the tasting room. To this day, Mike distills every drop himself.

“My spirits are constantly being refined. I don’t ever want to make the exact same spirit twice. I want to make every batch better than the last. That’s why we put a batch number on every bottle. Every spirit has an extremely complex composition. Minor changes in single aspect of the production can have a significant effect on the final character. It can always be better. The composition can always be more harmonious. I have a ton to learn, but I take pride in everything that has come out of here. It’s my hope that my spirits speak for themselves.”

(To order Cannon Beach spirits go to

Dorymen’s Rum (80 proof) distilled from evaporated cane juice sugar

Visual: Clear.
Nose: A slight funkiness of wet fur that usually is found in cane sugar based rums.  Rustic, earthy and engaging.
Taste: Clean, bright and spicy. Very intense and tightly formed. Only slightly sweet. A well-rounded cane spirit.
Finish: Medium long with a smooth fade.
Overall: This is akin to the original Cuban rums that you might have found at the beginning of the 20th century. Surprising body and character that Hemingway himself would have enjoyed.
GSN Rating: A-

Donlon Shanks Rum (80 proof) distilled from molasses
Visual: Deep gold.
Nose: Some spice on the nose, deep earthen notes topped with sharp oakiness.  Slight brine.
Taste: Mild char, with a smooth entry.  After a few seconds, some sweetness creeps in tempered with oak.  a full-bodied rum that again has a rustic sensibility and will work exceptionally well in Tiki style drinks.
Finish: Medium long with burnt sugar and caramel closing the curtain.
Overall: A spirit in the style of some South American rums.  Bold, masculine and wood forward.  Great for mixing.
GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Cannon Beach Distillery

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