In theses head-spinning days of the global whiskey boom, Canadian whisky has somewhat flown under the radar. While many of our brown spirit-obsessed brethren are delving deep into bottlings from Scotland, America, Japan, and Ireland, the Great White North seems to have been forgotten. That’s a damn shame because Canadian whisky (spelled with no “e”) is well worth getting to know.
The lack of interest in Canadian whisky is not without merit. It has long been relegated to liquor store bottom shelves, considered a middling spirit meant for mixed drinks at college parties. The Canucks themselves are partly to blame for their whisky’s mediocre rep. Since, until quite recently, most of the good booze they made stayed in Canada.
Now, however, the game has changed. With savvy consumers demanding better whisky, smaller distilleries and the behemoths north of the border are finally shipping increasingly tastier spirits south of the border and around the world: bold Ryes, rum-finished spirits, and mellow single malts. To help you reintroduce yourself, here are five bottles of Canadian whisky well worth checking out.
Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye
When Jim Murray selected Crown Royal Northern Harvest as 2016 best whisky in the world, you could practically hear the groaning in the Scottish Highlands from Hokkaido to Kentucky. But it’s a damn good whisky! Fragrant notes of clove, cherry and spice kick it up several notches, making it a superb daily sipper and a rockstar in a bold rye cocktail a la the Manhattan.
Lot No. 40
A 100 percent rye whisky distilled in a single pot still and aged in virgin oak, Lot No. 40 won best Canadian rye whisky at the 2018 World Whiskies Awards. It’s is a sweet and spicy dram with satisfying flavors for vanilla and fruit rolling around the mouth.
Pike Creek 10 Rum Barrel Finish
Rum cask finished whiskey is all the rage in the whisky world and rightly so. A little extra time in rum barrels gives whiskies of all varieties imparts a different selection fruity notes to explore with your palate. Pike Creek 10 Year Rum Barrel Finish is predominately a corn whisky with touch of rye. A glass is highly approachable and while fabulous in a cocktail (try it in a whisky dark and stormy), dark fruit flavors mingle with toffee and vanilla giving it enough depth to sip on its own.
Forty Creek Double Barrel Reserve
Forty Creek takes a selection of aged barley, rye and corn whiskys, blends them together and throws the melange in to seasoned (read used) bourbon barrels for a bit of extra, aging. The result is a stellar sipper with delicious notes of creamy malt, nuts and sweet vanilla.
Stalk and Barrel Single Malt
For those who prefer their whiskey made solely from malted barley, Stalk and Barrel is the Canadian ticket. An easy sipper from the Still Waters Distillery, there is quite a bit of depth for such a young whiskey with notes of vanilla, caramel, apple and banana rising up through a malty goodness.