Canadian Whiskey at it’s Best
Whiskey and Whisky both mean the same thing, but Canadian Whiskey, Bourbon Whiskey, Irish Whiskey, Scotch Whiskey and Tennessee Whiskey are all quite different from each other! The difference comes from either a different blend of grains or a special step along the way to the bottling line.
Today, let’s focus on Canadian Whiskey. Some of the most common brands include Crown Royal, Seagram’s, Canadian Club and regional brands such as Windsor and Black Velvet. Canadian Whiskey tends to be one of the lighter styles in regards to flavor and body.
Historically, Canadian Whiskey used to be referred to as Rye because that was the main ingredient in the mash. Modern Canadian Whiskey is a blended whiskey that is mostly distilled from Corn, Wheat, Barley and just a touch of Rye. Rye whiskey is more full bodied with a spicy, sharp edge that consumers have moved away from in favor of more mild blended whiskies.
There are two requirements to meet in order for a distiller to put “Canadian Whiskey” on the label:
- Must be distilled in Canada. It is common practice for suppliers to buy barrels in Canada and bottle the product elsewhere.
- Must be aged a minimum of 3 years in oak barrels. The average aging time is closer to 4 years and can age as long as 18 to 20 years.
Here is a look a few unique Canadian Blends!
FORTY CREEK BARREL SELECT: One of the highest scored and award winning Canadian Whiskies available on the shelf! Whiskey Master John Hall distils and ages each of the grains separately for 6 to 10 years. He then selects the best barrels of Rye, Corn and Barley and blends them by hand. After they are blended, the whiskey will spend 6 more months in the barrel before being bottled. Forty Creek has flavors of caramel and toasted nuts with a velvety, rich flavor and finish.
TANGLE RIDGE DOUBLE CASKED: Tangle Ridge is blended and then aged for 10 years. Once it is 10 years old, a hint of Sherry is added and the whiskey goes back in the barrel for additional aging. The hint of Sherry and extended aging gives Tangle Ridge a hint of dried fruit and a creamy balance of flavors.
WISER’S 18 YEAR: Aged a full 18 years in oak casks, Wiser’s 18 is one of the oldest aged Canadian Whiskies available. The years of aging lend flavors of buttery oak, earthy spice and a hint of mild sweetness to this very drinkable blend.
CROWN ROYAL CASK 16: Crown Royal 16 is a special blend of over 50 different aged whiskies! Once these 50 different whiskies are blended, they are aged in Cognac oak casks from France. The “16” represents the location in France from where the oak casks are created. Cask 16 has flavors of Vanilla, Butterscotch and even a hint of raisins.
SPICEBOX CANADIAN WHISKEY: A twist on the traditional Canadian Whiskey, Spicebox is infused with flavors of cinnamon, clove, allspice, vanilla and maybe even a hint of caramel! A great cocktail when mixed with cola or lemon/lime soda!
Canadian Whiskies are very versatile mixers in almost all of your favorite cocktails recipes that call for any kind of whiskey! I would recommend trying most of the above (not the Spicebox) straight up, over ice or in the classic Manhattan!