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Posts Tagged ‘2019 Rum Howler Favourite 20 Canadian Whiskies’

2019 Rum Howler Favourite 20 Canadian Whiskies: #1 – Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 22, 2019

I have a particular fondness for the Highwood Distillery. Part of the reason, is that it was the first major Canadian Distillery that visited, and when I was there, I was treated so well that I could not help but have good thoughts towards them. Another part of the reason is that Highwood is 100 % Canadian owned and operated and that means something to me. But the main reason I am fond of the the Highwood Distillery is that they make some of the best whisky in Canada if not the entire world.

Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky is one of their truly great whiskies. Made from 100 % corn it is a single grain whisky aged for a full 20 years and bottled at 45 % alcohol or 90 proof. And … I can usually find a bottle for about $40.00.  This makes the 20 year old whisky from Highwood perhaps the best whisky bargain in the entire country.

All of these factors, make the Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old my favourite whisky to recommend to friends and family. And for that reason, it tops my list as my favourite Canadian Whisky of 2019.

Here is a link to my review:

Review: Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old

“… Tasting notes do not adequately reflect how good this whisky actually is. The words which I wrote down a year ago to describe the flavour are correct: oak, cedar, corn, butterscotch, vanilla, orange peel, marmalade, almond and tobacco, but they do not adequately convey how rich and flavourful this whisky is …”


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2019 Rum Howler Favourite 20 Canadian Whiskies: #3 – Canadian Rockies 21 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 20, 2019

Seven years ago, I encountered Canadian Rockies 21 Year Old Whisky as a random sample which I was assessing as part of my duties when I served on the jury for the 2012 Canadian Whisky Awards. At the time the small sample bottle which contained the Canadian Rockies 21 Year Old Whisky was one which I 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.

The Fountana Group Canada is the brand owner, and it turns out the whisky was produced by Highwood Distillers right here in my home Province of Alberta. The Fountana Group contracted Highwood to produce a well aged whisky for export to Asia where it has by all accounts been well received. It was, I should add, also well received by the other jurors on that panel for the Canadian Whisky Awards as this brand won the prestigious Connoisseur Whisky of the Year for the Export Market at those same 2012 Canadian Whisky Awards.

When I wrote a brief review for this whisky in 2013, 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 decide that maybe Canada deserved this Whisky too. The Fountana Group must have agreed with me as the whisky has for a few years now been available across Canada.

Here is a link to a more recent review written in 2017:

Review: Canadian Rockies 21 Year Old Whisky

“… The initial breezes above the glass brought me impressions of dusty grain fields and firm oak spices. Soon I began to notice orange peel and butterscotch scents moving together over time creating impressions of marmalade and caramel toffee. There were also lovely hints of cinnamon and vanilla weaving within the breezes …”

Please enjoy the review!




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2019 Rum Howler Favourite 20 Canadian Whiskies: #4 – Caribou Crossing Single Barrel Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 19, 2019

Caribou Crossing is what is known as a Single Barrel Whisky. From the company’s inventory of over 200,000 barrels of Canadian whisky, Sazerac’s whisky making team selects what they deem to be some of the very finest barrels. Each of these chosen barrels is bottled individually capturing its unique flavour. This means that each individual bottling offers a unique taste experience for the whisky enthusiast.

This is a whisky which I believe has gotten better over time. When the brand was first introduced, my review scores were high, but nothing to get to excited about. But over the past three years my review scores have jumped significantly. I’m not sure whether that barrel picking team from Sazerac has just gotten better at their job, or if maybe I am just more attuned to the wonderful mixture of spicy rye and sweet corn that jumps to my palate each time I sample a new bottle.

Whatever the reason, Caribou Crossing Single Barrel Canadian Whisky is now one of my very favourites. I certainly would like Mrs. Claus to put a bottle under the tree for me this year:

Review: Caribou Crossing Single Barrel Canadian Whisky

“… The lightly buttered mouth-feel gives the Caribou Crossing a little length in the exit featuring flavours of oak, corn and butterscotch which trail down the throat. After the whisky is swallowed, sweet honeycomb lingers on the palate and the glowing embers of disappearing rye spices leave their imprint …”

Please enjoy the review, Chimo!


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2019 Rum Howler Favourite 20 Canadian Whiskies: #5 – Mister Sam Tribute Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 18, 2019

I struggled with myself as to whether or not I should include Mister Sam on this list of my favourite Canadian Whiskies. There are two good reasons why it doesn’t belong. The first being that it technically is not a Canadian Whisky. It is instead a blend of Canadian and American Whiskies (although it is named for a great Canadian, Sam Bronfman). The second reason is that it is really hard to find, and a whisky which I purport to call one of my favourites, shouldn’t be one that I have so little access to.

On the other side of the coin is that this was perhaps the best whiskey I tasted all year, and in fact the one I enjoyed the most. Ever since receiving my sample bottle from Sazarac earlier this year, it has become that special bottle which I would sip on special occasions, or on a day where I just wanted to treat myself to something really special.

In the end, I decided that since the original Mister Sam (Sam Bronfman) was a Canadian, I could for the purposes of my 2019 list, make the Mister Sam Tribute Whiskey and honorary Canadian Whisky. And since it appears the whisky is about to be released in Alberta, and will be going forward a yearly release that should be easier to find, maybe it does belong on my list of favourites. (It is my list, so I can bend the rules if I want to.)

Here is a link to my review of the best whisky I tasted in 2019:

Review: Mister Sam Tribute Whiskey

“… Upon the palate, Mister Sam arrives with the brute force of a sledge-hammer threatening to knock your tonsils down your throat with unabashed whiskey fury. The resulting belt to the mouth leaves you wondering what just happened, but at the same time hoping it will happen again. The whiskey might have rattled my taste buds, but the rich robust flavour is undeniable …”

I hope everyone enjoys the review as much I enjoyed the whiskey!



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2019 Rum Howler Favourite 20 Canadian Whiskies: #10 – Canadian Club 20 Yr Old Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 13, 2019

Canadian Club was, as advertised, my father’s favourite whisky. He loved the brand, and whenever we had some sort of important occasion he insisted that the only whisky we could serve was Canadian Club. So when I began to review spirits, and began to earn my reputation, the one person I could never win over with my reviews was my Dad. He didn’t care what I wrote, or how popular my reviews were, if I didn’t say that Canadian Club was the best whisky in Canada, then I obviously didn’t know what I was talking about.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Canadian Club Whisky, In fact I like their entire range. But, I just didn’t share my Dad’s passion for the brand. Fortunately though, we did manage find some common ground. I brought him a bottle of the Canadian Club 20 Year Old. He loved it, and I loved it too. When we would have a glass together, he would mix his dram with ginger ale, and, just to make sure he didn’t think that I was trying to put on airs, I mixed my dram with ginger-ale too.

That summer, whenever I would pop over, we would share a glass together in the evening, mixed with ginger-ale of course. The memories I have of sharing that bottle with my Dad has placed the Canadian Club 20 Year Old well into my list of favourite Canadian Whiskies. And although Dad passed away several yeas ago, I still keep a bottle on hand. When the occasion suits me I have a small dram in the evening, sometimes neat, but usually mixed with ginger-ale to honour my Dad.

Here is a link to my review:

Review: Canadian Club 20 Year Old Whisky

The whisky is smooth with oak spice and hints of sap melded nicely into the other flavours. There is also a smoky quality with dry fruit flavours of raisins and prunes holding the whisky together. A peppery rye note bobs up to the surface, and somewhere in the mix, and I taste dabs of nutmeg and cinnamon as well as a dash of Apricot Brandy. 



Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisky Review | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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