Centennial 10 Year Old Canadian Whisky
Review: Centennial 10 year Old Canadian Whisky 90/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on December 8, 2009
Centennial is a 10 Year Old Whisky produced by Alberta’s own Highwood Distillers. Rather than using corn to as the base grain for this whisky, Highwood uses soft Canadian winter wheat. This gives the Centennial a smooth and soft flavour profile unlike any other Canadian whisky I have encountered. In fact, using grains grown exclusively on the Canadian prairies, distilling the grain in their home Province of Alberta, and aging the spirit in the severe Western Canadian climate for a minimum of ten years, makes Centennial is a Whisky unlike any other in the world.
In the Bottle 4/5
The Centennial comes in an elegant tall slender bottle. A neat little booklet is roped around the slender neck. This little booklet tells the story of the whisky’s distillation and blending. To crown the presentation the sleek bottle is capped by a straight sided high density cork. The only drawback is that the bottle is too tall for my liquor cabinet. A very minor quibble.
In the Glass 9/10
The whisky is pale brown with amber tones which seems to accent a honeyed caramel aroma that rises from the glass. The liquid displays very little oiliness in the glass, and the rye notes are somewhat mellowed compared to a normal Canadian Rye. The use, by Highwood’s Master Blender, of wheat instead of the usual corn in the blend provides a more mellow and polished nose than a straight rye would have.
In the Mouth 54/60
A clean crisp rye which fairly oozes honey and spice. This is polished and subdued, with the hard rye buffed and smoothed. The spices are light and enjoyable, and I find the balance to be superb. A purist of Canadian rye may complain that the rye flavour sits too far backward in the taste profile, but I disagree. The entire presentation is smooth and mellow. No awkward heavy notes spoil the parade, and the character of this whisky remains true regardless of previous taste experiences on my palate.
In the Throat 14/15
Smooth and clean right through to the finish. The faintest touch of bourbon appears on exit, and the experience is well worth enjoying again.
The Afterburn 9/10
Highwood Distillers are truly one of the best kept secrets of the whisky world. The entire experience of this rye is completely enjoyable. The only possible flaw would be that I would consider the spirit to be a mood whisky. The mood is mellow and smooth almost to the point of suave. It is possible that the consumer may occasionally want a little harder kick in the throat when he chooses rye to drink. But for a more sublime rye experience, this is one of the best.
You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
Here is a cocktail which works well with any good Canadian Rye Whisky.
Canadian Whisky Splash
2 oz Canadian Rye Whisky
2 or 3 Large Ice-cubes
Splash of Ginger-ale
Slice of Lime
Add the Ice-cubes to a rocks glass
Pour the Whisky over the ice
Add a splash of Ginger Ale
Garnish with a lime slice
As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)