I do like voyages of discovery and trying Canadian whisky has certainly been that , this newest batch of Whiskies have all been purchased in the UK through The Whisky Exchange , i have been informed that they source all their Canadian Whisky through the USA so i assume these bottles are American Releases (the Wiser’s certainly says Imported and the Pike Creek is NAS rather than the 10yo found in Canada) .
Wiser’s De Luxe Imported
Rolling in at what seems to be the Standard for Canadian Whisky , 40% abv , this is what i would say is a standard Blend for whisky from this country . Not particularly strong on the nose at first , it takes a while to build up , Vanilla , Butterscotch and Dried fruits (as in the ones that go into Christmas cake) . The palate has the Butterscotch again alongside lots of Oak spices , it’s nice and smooth across the tongue . It has a long smooth , toffee Finish . A quite inoffensive whisky , a good session whisky and enjoyable .
Crown Royal Special Reserve
Originally created for the visit of King George VI and his wife, Queen Elizabeth (the parents of Queen Elizabeth II) to Canada in 1939 by Seagrams (now Diageo) , this is the old version of the Special Reserve . It comes in a nice presentation complete with it’s own purple bag . A rather nice nose of butterscotch , oak spices , cloves and rye , definitely a stronger nose than the Wiser’s and a good one to sit and stiff . Again on the palate it seems to have a bit more of a kick than the Wiser’s , very smooth , spices , pepper , toffee , a touch of sweetness (honey) and even a bit of Chocolate . After the palate the finish is quite short but very nice with butterscotch , cloves and spices . A very nice whisky , again another good session dram .
If the previous two are at the bottom end of the Canadian market ( IMHO) then this is the middle to top ! Made by Corby Distillers (a Subsidiary of Pernod Ricard) , as already stated this is the US NAS version and has been finished in Vintage Port casks . I first tried this (well the 10yo version) in Toronto at ‘The Keg’ on the recommendation of Davin (de Kergommeaux ) and really liked it , unfortunately i couldn’t find a bottle of it . A lovely ruby colour , the initial nose is red fruits from the port , then toffee , a touch of rye and a surprising hint of Farmyard (?) . The palate is superb , red fruits , a bag load of Rye , toffee , Oak spices and it’s as smooth as a babies bum ! The finish is long , spicy and again rye . A wonderful Canadian Whisky worth hunting out and I , for one , am glad TWE got some in .
Pendleton’s 1910 12yo Rye
This is a strange beast , 100% Canadian Rye Whisky that is matured in Canada for 12 years then transported to be bottled in Pendleton , Oregon , USA ! Named after the first ‘Round up’ in that town (in 1910 ) , hence Pendleton is known as the ‘Cowboy Whisky’ . The only Rye whisky i’d previously tried was from America , the legendary Van Winkles 13yo Family Reserve and the 2 things i’d learned was (a) it has a very distinctive smell and taste and (b) i really liked it . The Pendletons is really , really , really nice , probably one of the nicest whisky i’ve had , lots of spices on the nose , Rye (obviously !) , vanilla , butterscotch , quite complex and not having had many Ryes i have trouble identifying stuff but it is great . The palate is fantastic , again very complex , lots of fresh cask tastes , vanilla , oak spices , butterscotch , pepper , all flowing so smoothly across the palate . The finish is amazingly long , pretty much carrying on the palate . How good is this ? I was disappointed when i ordered this as it was the last bottle at TWE , since then they got some more and i snaffled 2 more bottles ! More than Ace , more than highly recommended !
Since i got the Pendleton , i found two old sample bottles at the back of the cupboard that i got sent ages ago , one had Alberta Premium Rye in it , the other had Alberta Premium 25yo Rye in it . They were superb , were too busy enjoying them to write notes but i’d get a bottle of either if i had the chance !
You can find out more about Canadian Whisky at Davin’s Site Canadianwhisky.org and i recommend reading his book ‘Canadian Whisky , The Portable Expert’ .