Centennial Canadian Rye Whisky Dark Chocolate
Review: Centennial Canadian Rye Whisky Dark Chocolate 85/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published on May 11, 2015
Highwood Distillers is a Canadian spirits manufacturer in the town of High River, Alberta, which is situated 40 minutes south of Calgary, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. When I visited their facilities a few years ago I could not help but notice how they make their spirits one batch at a time in a friendly, family style atmosphere. I was impressed and I have been a fan of Highwood ever since.
Recently I received a sample of their Centennial Canadian Rye Whisky (Dark Chocolate). The spirit represents a melding of their Centennial Rye Whisky with the a small dollop of Dark Chocolate flavour. The flavoured whisky is bottled at 35 % alcohol by volume.
In the Bottle 4.5/5
The new flavoured whisky is part of Highwood’s Centennial family of whiskies and therefore it arrives in the same basic bottle and with a similar style of label as the flagship whisky of the family the Centennial Canadian Rye Whisky. I am pleased by this as this building of brand identity should help strengthen the Centennial brand, and as far as it goes I find the Centennial label and bottle quite attractive. The only drawback is that this style of very tall bottle is too long for some whisky shelves. In fact, I have had to build a new shelf just to accommodate the growing numbers of these tall bottles which I now own. (A very minor quibble).
In the Glass 8.5/10
The Dark Chocolate Whisky has a pale mahogany colour which seems at odds with the rich dark chocolate scents which seem to ooze out of the flavoured spirit into the breezes above the glass. The impact of the chocolate seems to be softened by an impression of fresh dairy cream within the make-up of its aroma. The notes of dusty rye and fine wood spice are subdued somewhat at first; but given time in the glass, these classic notes of Canadian whisky reveal themselves more and more.
It is an interesting combination, and in my opinion the spice and the dark chocolate work well together.
In the Mouth 51/60
As this is a flavoured whisky I expect the major flavour of dark chocolate to be out in front as I sip, and the spirit does not disappoint. Again (as I did on the nose) I notice a firm impression of dairy cream within the dark chocolate. I suspect it is the light sweetness of the underlying wheat whisky which aids this impression. I appreciate that I also can taste a firm ripple of Canadian whisky with its rye-like spiciness within the chocolate flavours as well. In fact it would be true to say that the light spiciness of the underlying Centennial whisky provides a positive accent upon the chocolate flavour in much the same way that a small amount of chili pepper can enhance a dark chocolate square.
Of course a chocolate flavoured spirit can be a challenge to mix into cocktails. However, I found mixing with cola, coffee and caramel flavoured liqueurs worked quite well, and after a bit of experimentation I came up with an orange and chocolate dessert Martini which I found very enjoyable (see recipe below).
In the Throat 12.5/15
Bittersweet chocolate collides with wood spices and rye leaving the palate heated in a good way. Surprisingly, the finish is not overly sweet, rather it is the chocolate and whisky spice which take center stage.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
The Centennial Canadian Rye Whisky Dark Chocolate is a very enjoyable Chocolate flavoured spirit. I found the dark chocolate flavour both rich and tasty. There was also a light creaminess in the both the texture and the mouth-feel which elevated my scores a little. This spirit plays well with caramel, cola, coffee, and even (if you check out my recipe below) orange liqueurs. Those are some of my favourite flavours, so I think you can safely assume that my recommendation for the Centennial Dark Chocolate is quite enthusiastic.
You may read some of my other Liqueur and Favoured Spirit Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
Orange Chocolate Martini
2 oz Centennial Dark Chocolate
1/3 oz Cointreau
Add the two spirits to a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the sides of the shaker frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a coil of orange peel
Please enjoy Responsibly!
Note: If you are interested in more of my cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!
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)