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Sweet Sippin’ Canadian Maple Whisky

Review: Sweet Sippin’ Canadian Maple Whisky 81.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on December 11, 2010

Highwood Distillers’ Sweet Sippin’ Canadian Maple Whisky is the fusion of three Canadian ingredients, Highwood Canadian Rye Whisky, (which I reviewed a short while ago), pure natural Amber Maple Syrup from Quebec, and pure natural spring water.  Only natural ingredients have been used to make this liqueur which has no artificial flavourings or additives.

The product is packaged in a most unusual bottle configuration and that is where I will begin my review.

In The Bottle 4/5

This is a neat looking bottle which, of course, is shaped like a maple leaf symbolizing both the Canadian maple flavour of the whisky liqueur as well as the Canadian origin of all of the ingredients in side the bottle. I admit it is not a functional design as it takes up more room on my shelf than it ought to, and I admit it is a little awkward to handle and pour., but….  I love it anyway! The clear glass displays the rich maple liqueur inside, and all my friends whom have seen the bottle who have been favourably impressed.

I am not as enthusiastic about the label upon the bottle as it seems to be very generic in nature. I think with a little imagination it could be much more. But, the overall presentation is positive and my issue with the label is a rather minor quibble, and my love for the bottle itself is a major bonus.

In the Glass 8.5/10

In the glass, the liqueur has a very nice aroma. A gentle sweet maple rising up with just a hint of rye whisky. The maple is very dominant and effectively hides the more subtle nuances of the whisky.  If one allows the glass to sit caramel tones become apparent,  and very light alcohol tones begin to disperse as well.

As this is a sweet liqueur checking for legs is rather pointless, as they would  be more an indication of the sugary maple syrup than of any particular aspect of the underlying whisky.

In the Mouth 48/60

The Sweet Sippin’ Maple Whisky does not display the syrupy thickness on the tongue I was expecting from what is essentially a mixture of Maple Syrup and Whisky.  The viscosity is more whisky like giving the spirit a nice mouth-feel.  Maple flavours comes through strongly  on the palate.  After a few sips, one also gets a more candied impression of maple and caramel sticks. This has a strong but not unpleasing sweetness.

As I sipped the Maple Whisky over several tasting sessions I did find that I was searching for a more robust whisky flavour. The whisky notes are subtle and not as assertive than I would like. The maple syrup dominates perhaps a little too much. However, the smooth whisky chosen as the base spirit does provide a certain smoothness of delivery, and coupled with the lighter mouth-feel, the overall effect is enjoyable.

In the Throat 12.5/15

The finish, driven by maple sugar is long and sweet. If you love maple syrup on your pancakes then I suspect you will like the sensation a lot. Like all sweet liqueurs this can become cloying rather quickly, but if the spirit is indulged in moderation I find it to be a pleasant experience.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

Highwood Distillers have done a fine job with their Sweet Sippin’ Maple Whisky.  I would like to see perhaps a little stronger punch of whisky flavour which could bring the experience up a notch for me; but, I also realize that this product has a different demographic appeal than a traditional sipping whisky.  As an after dinner drink, I think most persons will find this maple liqueur a very nice dessert treat.

You may read some of my other reviews of  Liqueurs and Flavoured Spirits (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Recipes

I came up with two nice recipes for the Sweet Sippin’ Canadian Maple Whisky. In each I used a nice Canadian Rye Whisky (Potters Special Old) to add a little kick to the recipe and the Sweet Sippin’ Canadian Maple whisky to add a little maple flair.

Maple Ridge Cocktail
(a recipe by Arctic Wolf)

1 oz Canadian Rye Whisky (I suggest Potters Special Old)
1 Oz Sweet Sippin’ Canadian Maple Whisky
Club Soda

Lemon slice for garnish

Pour the Canadian Rye Whisky and maple syrup into a cocktail shaker with ice.
Shake well.
Strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice.
Add a splash of club soda
Garnish and Enjoy!


Maple Leaf Coffee

3/4 oz Canadian Rye Whisky (I suggest Potters Special Old)
3/4 Oz Sweet Sippin’ Canadian Maple Whisky
1/2 oz Tia Maria
Hot Black Coffee
Sugar to taste

Top with Whipped Cream

Enjoy with or without a light chocolate garnish!


My Scores are out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret them 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 spirit. 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 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)


6 Responses to “Sweet Sippin’ Canadian Maple Whisky”

  1. Garry said

    Hey from Wales UK,,,, I had this as a gift from a relative from Canada and just love it,, which is saying something as I do not like whiskey! reading you comments above it seems as if you are in the now from a whiskey point of view and wondered if you had any idea of a ratio whiskey to maple syrup if I was to try to replicate this at home?
    any ideas would be excellent,, thanking you in advance,

    • Not sure what the rations are, I think you would have to experiment. I do know the base whisky is Highwood’s own wheat based Highwood Whisky, a smooth five year old Canadian. I suspect you would need a very similar whisky to get the results you are hoping for.

      Good Luck.

  2. Mike said

    This looks nice. I wonder how it would compare to Oh Canada! maple whisky liqueur from Kittling Ridge. I really like that one. Have you tried it? It’s available only from the distillery.

    I do wonder how they get away with calling it “maple whisky”. it reminds me of how the Facebook ads for Drambuie refer to that liqueur as “spiced Scotch whisky”, as if there is such a thing.

    • Hi Mike,

      The product is truthfully a mixture of Maple Syrup (which makes up 1/3 of the blend), natural spring water, and Canadian Whisky, and nothing else. My thinking is that it is labeled a Maple Whisky so as to make clear the blending spirit used. If one called it Sweet Sippin’ Maple Liqueur, it might imply a neutral grain spirit was used rather than an aged whisky. But I do concur that, the term ‘Maple Whisky’ is problematic as well.

      Maybe I should have an informal contest to see if we can come up with a better name?

      As for the Oh Canada! Maple Liqueur, I have never tried it or seen it ever in my locale. Maybe one day John Hall will send me a sample…

      • Mike said

        I suppose they can call it what they like but in my mind it is no more of a whisky than Bailey’s or Southern Comfort. Oh well, as long as the government is okay with it…

        I think I will try your coffee recipe with Oh Canada!, Bolivar coffee liqueur (also from Kittling Ridge), and Crown Royal Limited Edition. I’ll let you know how it is.

        • You know Mike, sometimes I wonder if the Government even looks at the labels. Some of the age statements with respect to rum have me shaking my head. As for the Sweet Sippin’ Maple Whisky, I think if the word Liqueur were added to the end of the name then it would probably be a description we would all understand a little better. But then the label and the bottle would have to be even wider.

          BTW, I had a bottle of Bolivar sent to me last year and I was very favourably impressed! Enjoy your coffee!

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