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The Rum Howler’s #1 Canadian Whisky of 2015 – Canadian Rockies 21 Year Old (Batch 001)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 24, 2015

Canadian Rockies 21Three years ago, I encountered Canadian Rockies 21 Year Old Whisky as a random sample in the group of 45 such samples which I was assessing as part of my duties when I served on the jury for the 2012 Canadian Whisky Awards. Whenever I participate as a spirits judge I always make note of any of the samples which strike me as being particularly good, and the small sample bottle which contained the Canadian Rockies 21 Year Old Whisky was one which I had earmarked as a superior whisky. So, when the Awards Competition was complete, it was to my dismay that I learned this particular whisky (Random Sample number 7 by the way) was a brand destined not for Canada; but instead for Taiwan.

When I wrote a brief review for this whisky in 2013 (see here), I lamented that this great whisky was available only in Asia, and I hoped that the brand owner (and the folks at Highwood Distillery) might read the review, and figure out that maybe Canada deserved this Whisky too. Perhaps my idea was not so far-fetched, as earlier this fall I was contacted by the Fountana Group, and asked to review the Canadian Rockies 21 Year Old Batch 001, a new version of their whisky brand destined for Canadian retail shelves this Christmas Season.

I placed the sample bottle in with the others my friends and I were analyzing as part of the Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Canadian Whiskies. And it was fortunate that I did as the Canadian Rockies 21 Year Old was the unanimous choice among all judges as the Best Canadian Whisky of 2015! In addition it has also been placed on the short list of the Whiskies I am considering for The Rum Howler 2015 Whisky of the Year.

Here is a link to the Number 1 Canadian Whisky in my Rum Howler Countdown of the Best Whiskies of 2015:

Canadian Rockies 21 Year Old (Batch 001)

“… I used the term ‘luscious’ when describing the nose, and that term deserves repeating here again when describing the flavour. I taste a perfect melding of firm butterscotch, oak spice and corn flavours. My palate is heated with little explosions of oak spice and orange peel, but then it is soothingly caressed by corn and butterscotch. Vanilla and baking spices romp through the garden of lush flavours with marzipan and marmalade chasing merrily behind. Underlying all of this are rich tobacco and leather flavours which serve to add even more depth and character to the glass …”


You may read about the Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown here:

The Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Canadian Whiskies

2 Responses to “The Rum Howler’s #1 Canadian Whisky of 2015 – Canadian Rockies 21 Year Old (Batch 001)”

  1. Hello Chip,

    How similar is this to Highwood Ninety which is my favorite Canadian Whiskey. Looks to be the same juice aged an additional year? I ask because the LCBO has stated this will not be available in Ontario and I am panicking that I will never have the chance to try it.


    • Hi Peter

      The two whiskies obviously have a very similar heritage. The obvious difference between the two is the slightly higher age, and the slightly higher alcohol content. Talking to Highwood, they were tight lipped about the brand, telling me only that Canadian Rockies was developed in conjunction with the Fountana Group. The brand owner was working towards a specific flavour profile which was apparently designed for the Taiwan Market, not the Canadian Market.

      When I tasted the two side by side I seemed to notice a difference in nuance. I found the Canadian Rockies carried more rye notes and flavours early and a stronger push of corn in the mid palate and the exit. I also found the Canadian Rockies had more character and depth of flavour, hence the higher score.

      Both are outstanding Whiskies, and either could be served side by side with the best bourbons and Single Malts in the World. In fact Canadian Rockies 21 Year Old was my 2015 Rum Howler Whisky of the Year!

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