Ok , i know lately this blog seems to have been turning into a Canadian Whisky Blog but i’ve been on a bit of a mission to discover this hidden gem of the whisky world . I’ve been greatly aided by ‘Mr Canadian Whisky’ himself , Davin de Kergommeaux author of the acclaimed ‘Canadian Whisky , the Portable Expert’ , I’ve known Davin for a good few years now through the Internet and our mutual love of Islay Malts and he kindly sent me a few samples to broaden my experience with Canadian Whisky……
Pendletons NAS 40%
The Standard bottling from Pendleton’s , an American bottling of Canadian Whisky .
Quite a dusty nose to start with , then butter and Toffee (Butterscotch?) , eventually there’s vanilla and Cask spices . On the palate there’s a sweet start , lots of rye ,cask spices again , there’s also a slight custard taste , butterscotch and pepper . The finish is medium with pepper and a lingering sweetness .
A very enjoyable dram , a step up from the cheaper whiskies , this one is actually available in this country so a bottle may be purchased……
Century Reserve Lot 15/25 40%
From Highwood Distillers , Alberta , The 15/25 is the youngest/oldest age statement .
Initially a strong hint of Christmas cake on the nose , then the what seems to be a common Butterscotch note , a liberal sprinkling of Cask spices , ending with Confectioners’ Sugar . A very relaxed but complex nose , one of them you could sit and sniff for ages . On the palate there’s a creaminess to start with , then spices and toffee , there’s a nice woodiness to it , The finish has a nice long lingering rye taste to it with oak spices .
One of them wow moments when trying a dram for the first time , a superb dram that you could probably kill quite a bit of a bottle in one sitting !
Alberta Springs 10yo 40%
From Alberta Distillers , a fine 10yo….
A 100% Rye with an incredible nose , starts off dusty , then the familiar Butterscotch , followed by spices and a touch of lemon . There’s also a very strong hint of green fruits but the overwhelming note seems to be butterscotch which is ok by me . The palate carries on where the nose leaves off , a toffee sweetness with lots of spices , very smooth and enjoyable , I’m really getting a taste for Canadian Rye , The finish is medium , spicy with pepper , for 40% it is quite chewy as well .
These Canadian Ryes are so good !
WhistlePig 10yo 50%
A very strange Canadian Rye bottled in the US…..
Another 100% Rye Whisk(e)y , an odd one this , when you first stick your nose into this you go ‘Bourbon’ , then the dustiness of a Rye comes through , not as sweet as the other Ryes on the nose (there seems to be a lack of Butterscotch on this one ) but there are plenty of wood spices . Again on the palate there is an initial taste of bourbon and new wood followed by spices and vanilla . the finish is long and Bourbony .
Not my favourite Rye , tastes more like a bourbon and I’m really confused about it , why the ‘e’ in it when it’s Canadian ? Now that I’ve had a think about it , it actually reminds me of Van Winkles 13yo Family Reserve , only not as good .
Crown Royal X.O (Finished in Cognac Casks) 40%
A Crown Royal finished in ex-Cognac casks…..
Straight away you get the fruitiness of the Cognac casks , red apples mixing in with old leather armchairs , a very creamy nose (very similar to the creaminess in Ardbeg….) , then the dustiness of the rye comes through , this has a very complex nose , lots happening , thoroughly enjoyable ! Very smooth across the palate , lots going on again , a bit of dusty rye , butterscotch , spicy , pepper , tarte apples but all wrapped up in a lovely creaminess . A medium finish highlighted with the rye and cognac .
A wonderful dram , a different class to the previously tried Special Reserve , one to think about purchasing in the not too distant future !
Crown Royal Monarch (75th Anniversary Blend) 40%
A Special Crown Royal Blend to Celebrate the launch of their Whisky in 1939….
The most dominant note on the nose is the creaminess , then the oak emerges , then a strong hint of Red Apples (similar to the X.O. ) , eventually the dusty Rye appears . There’s also a slight citrus note and dried fruits (currants and sultanas) . Not as rich and creamy on the palate as the X.O. , seems very dry and has a more pronounced rye note to it . Slightly disappointing after the Complexity of the previous CR . The finish seems a lot shorter as well and very dry and dusty .
A very disappointing dram after the X.O. , almost weak and watery .
Collingwood 21yo 100% Rye 40%
A 21yo , 100% Rye from the Canadian Mist Distillery in Collingwood….
On the nose the first thing that struck me was freshly baked bread or , which seems more likely , unbaked ‘rising’ bread , that lovely warm yeasty smell , the rye seems more relaxed in this even though it’s 100% , quite a bit of oak , on the hole a quite relaxed nose . On the palate it seems very relaxed again , there’s a very slight hint of barley sugar (the old fashioned twisty stick variety ) , a muted spiciness and a little hint of bitterness . It is very smooth across the palate . The finish is medium with something that is puzzling me…… Agh…… Flat American Cream Soda !
I was looking so forward to trying this , Davin recommended it on my visit to Toronto and I couldn’t find it , it’s actually a bit of an anti-climax , from what I remember I wasn’t too impressed with the standard Collingwood .
Highwood 25yo Calgary Stampede Centennial 40%
A 25yo from the Highwood Distillery , Alberta to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede in 2012….
Wow , bags of vanilla on the nose , oak , butterscotch , spices (particularly clove – I’m married to a dental nurse….) and it’s very creamy . Smooth as a babies bum across the palate , sweet rye , vanilla , a beautiful creaminess , butterscotch again , caramel toffee and a very small hint of chocolate . It’s not until the long lingering finish that the oak spices appear .
Boy is this a good dram ! I wouldn’t say no to a bottle of this but I’ve got a feeling it’s long gone or it should be !
Many thanks to Davin for the samples , you can read more about Canadian whisky at this Website , ‘Canadian Whisky’