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Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown (2016)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 14, 2016

It is that time of year again, and I have finished my private deliberations for my annual Canadian Whisky Countdown. This is an exercise I thoroughly enjoy every year. For the year that is 2016, my list is bigger than ever as I will have tasted close to 70 Canadian Whiskies during my deliberations.


If you are wondering how I manage to rank all those whiskies, I will take this opportunity to walk you through the process.

royal-reserve-sam_2648Almost every whisky I considered for this year’s countdown was already tasted and reviewed upon my website. I began with my review scores and placed all of the whisky samples into groupings based upon those scores. Then I tasted the newest bottling of every spirit within my groupings to ascertain whether any deserved to be moved up or down into higher or lower groups. I did not rank anything yet, I just want to recognize whether any spirit (in my opinion) had changed since my most recent review. Those spirits which seemed to have changed were moved up or down as required.

Then I tasted each spirit again. This time I assigned scores to each spirit and compared my new tasting notes and my new scores to my written reviews. All samples which seemed to show quantifiable deviation from my review scores and/or tasting notes were flagged as candidates for revised reviews. (This year, I noticed that an unusual number of samples were flagged.)

Then I did my final deliberations. Each spirit that had been flagged for re-scoring was tasted one more time and new tasting notes were written and new scores assigned. Then I tasted my final groupings one last time and assigned my rankings. The entire process kept me busy for almost ten weeks.

The Rum Howler 2016 Top Canadian Whisky Countdown is the largest ranking of Canadian Spirits I have ever completed. The reveal will begin on November 20th, starting with numbers 50 through to 46; however, I couldn’t help but reveal today, the spirit which would have been added if the list were extended by one:

#51  Royal Reserve Canadian Rye Whisky

“… I taste a nice old-fashioned rye profile with a light dryness that goes for the tonsils. The whisky is crisp on the tongue and the dryness has the ability to pucker the palate making it receptive to another sip. A good dose of caramel arrives with the rye, and the oak spices carry flavours of fresh fruit and citrus peel …”

Stay tuned for the 2016 Rum Howler Top Fifty Canadian Whisky Countdown; the reveal begins on November 20th.




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