The 2013 Rum Howler – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies
During the run up to Christmas (2013) I decided it would be fun to publish a list of the Top 25 Canadian Whiskies which were currently available in the marketplace. In keeping with the holiday spirit, the list was published ‘countdown style’ beginning with a review of what my tasting group (The Rum Chums) has determined to be the 25th best Canadian Whisky and continuing with one review per day as I counted down to the best Canadian Whisky in the World.
To compile this list, I began by examining all of my Whisky Reviews and by referring to all of my scoring and tasting notes from each year that I served as juror for the Canadian Whisky Awards. In all, I examined tasting notes and scores for close to 100 different Canadian whiskies as I compiled my list. I had to make a few decisions along the way, as some of the whiskies which I have reviewed and scored were no longer in production, and I wasn’t sure whether they should be included or not. After mulling it over, I came to the decision that if a whisky had been discontinued or was from a limited bottling, then I would only include it if it was still generally available in the retail marketplace. Thus, some great whiskies like Alberta Premium 30 Year Old Limited Edition and Canadian Club 30-Year-Old were excluded from my list even though these are two of the highest scoring whiskies on my website. There was no way I could account for every Canadian Whisky in existence; however, I feel confident that my examination was as thorough as was reasonably possible, and that this list represents the best effort possible at this time.
Based upon my examinations, I narrowed the list of almost 100 whiskies to 40 Canadian Whisky contenders. At this point I set out to acquire samples of each of these whiskies for my Tasting Group’s analysis. Although some of these whiskies were already in my possession, I sent a call out to industry and acquired just about every other sample bottle I needed for the task. (In fact, I was sent extra samples by some producers who wanted to ensure I left no stone unturned.) I chose to place some of those extra samples into the tasting flights, and my friends and I judged 45 Canadian Whiskies over a time period from October 1 to November 15 in side by side blind tasting flights.
I instructed each of my Judges (four including myself) to base their numerical scores for each whisky upon the following criteria:
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 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
And so, through the month of December, I counted down the World’s Best 25 Canadian Whiskies revealing the whisky which my group and I felt is Canada’s Best on Christmas Day:
Here is the final list: The 2013 Rum Howler – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies (as judged by my Rum Chums and I). In brackets beside each whisky is the Average Score each spirit received in the competition from the four judges.
25) Forty Creek Copper Pot Reserve (Judges Average score = 88)
24) Forty Creek Heart of Gold (Judges Average score = 88.25)
23) Highwood Canadian Rye Whisky (Judges Average score = 88.25)
22) Wiser’s 18 Year Old Limited Release (2013) (Judges Average score = 88.5)
21) Coyote Ugly Canadian Whisky (Judges Average score = 88.5)
20) Danfield’s Limited Edition 21 Year Old (Judges Average score = 88.75)
19) Wiser’s Small Batch (Judges Average score = 89)
18) Century Reserve 21 Year Old (Judges Average score = 89)
17) Forty Creek Double Barrel Reserve Whisky (Judges Average score = 89.25)
16) Wiser’s Legacy Canadian Whisky (Judges Average score = 89.5)
15) Canadian Club 20 Year Old (Judges Average score = 89.75)
14) Crown Royal Reserve (Judges Average score = 90)
13) Forty Creek Confederation Oak Reserve Whisky (Judges Average score = 90)
12) Lot No. 40 Single Copper Pot Still Canadian Whisky (2012 Edition) (Judges Average score = 90.25)
11) Century Reserve (Lot 1525) (Judges Average score = 90.5)
10) Forty Creek Portwood Reserve – 2012 (Judges Average score = 90.75)
09) Ninety (Premium cask Aged) 5 Year Old (Judges Average score = 90.75)
08) Centennial 10 Year Old Canadian Whisky (Judges Average score = 91)
07) Pendleton 1910 Canadian Whisky (Judges Average score = 91.25)
06) Crown Royal Cask No. 16 (Judges Average score = 91.75)
05) Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 Years Old (Judges Average score = 92)
04) Alberta Springs Canadian Whisky (Judges Average score =92.5)
03) Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old (Judges Average score = 93)
02) Canadian Club Small Batch Classic 12 (Judges Average score = 93)
01) Calgary Stampede (Commemorative) 25 Year Old Whisky (Judges Average score = 94.75)
Each day until Christmas, one more great Canadian Whisky will be revealed!
Note: Hera are a few other fun (and more current) Countdown lists:
- The Rum Howler 2014 – Top 25 Rums
- The Rum Howler 2014 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies
- The Rum Howler 2014 Gin and Tonic Challenge
- The 12 Cognacs of Christmas