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Posts Tagged ‘Canadian Whisky’

2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #24 – Forty Creek Confederation Oak (Lot 1867 F)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 1, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016In 2010 Forty Creek Whisky introduced Forty Creek Confederation Oak Reserve Whisky. What made this whisky unique was that it had been finished in Canadian Oak Barrels. These oak barrels were made from oak trees (growing only 40 miles from the distillery) which began their growth in Canadian soil approximately 150 years ago at the time of Confederation (The birth of Canada as a nation), hence the name Confederation Oak.

SAM_2635It has been 6 years since Confederation Oak Reserve Whisky was first released over that time the spirit has become one of the staple whiskies in the Forty Creek Whisky family. Each year a new batch is produced, and when I recently received a bottle from the newest batch (Lot 1867F), I decided to revisit the spirit to see how it has changed.

Here is a link to my review with the new scoring for this whisky:

#24 – Forty Creek Confederation Oak (Lot 1867 F)

“… This time the breezes bring me more obvious scents butterscotch and maple syrup. Rye notes (and the tempered wood spices) are melded within this light sweetness. As the glass breathes, I notice a bit of a bourbon flair with indications of corn whisky, vanilla, almond, honeycomb and damp tobacco all apparent as well in the air above the glass …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 23 Canadian Whisky. Chimo!

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* You may follow my Canadian Whisky Countdown by bookmarking this link:

The Rum Howler – Top 50 Canadian Whiskies of 2016

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2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #25 – Hiram Walker Special Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 30, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Henry Corby began his  involvement in the distilling industry in approximately 1841, buying and selling grain at a grist-mill on the banks of the Moira River. By 1859, his distillery had become as important as his milling operation and so it (the distillery) was incorporated as a separate company.

hiram-walker-s-o-sam_2645Today the company that Henry Corby established is known as Corby Spirit and Wine Limited which is one of Canada’s leading spirits companies which represents a large portfolio of  internationally renowned spirits which include scotch, whiskey, rum, gin and vodka as well as both the Corby and Wiser’s branded Canadian Whisky.

Hiram Walker Special Old is a Corby branded whisky which the company describes as follows:

An upfront, bold rye whisky with a flavour that is gloriously mouth-watering and rugged in nature.

That description is fairly accurate although I might add that the whisky displays uncommon smoothness for a blend which is probably less than 5 years old.

Here is a link to my recently revised review with its new scoring:

#25 – Hiram Walker Special Old Canadian Rye Whisky

“… Rye, toffee, and citrus fruit all seem to jump onto the palate at once and battle for supremacy. A thin layer of honey underneath provides a counterbalance, and a nice wave of oak spice is inter-wound throughout the delivery.  When I took my second mouthful a rich cornfield appeared under the flavour profile which unwound a ribbon of bourbon into the whisky as well …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 24 Canadian Whisky, Chimo!

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* You may follow my Canadian Whisky Countdown by bookmarking this link:

The Rum Howler – Top 50 Canadian Whiskies of 2016

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The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown (#30 – #26)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 28, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Today I feature the last of the 5 whisky groupings in my 2016 countdown. Beginning on November 30th, I slow the pace and reveal each Canadian Whisky individually one per day until Christmas Even when the best Canadian Whisky of 2016 will be revealed. If you are interested in how the Countdown has progressed so far, here is a link to the growing list:

The Rum Howler – Top 50 Canadian Whiskies of 2016

The five whiskies revealed today feature none which are priced over $40.00, and in fact two of these spirits, Windsor Canadian, and Alberta Premium, can be found for under $25.00 here in Alberta while the Mt. Logan 5 Year Old (a new whisky brand) and the Centennial brands each check in just under the $30.00 mark. All of  this reinforces one of the major reasons why I love Canadian Whisky so much; the spirit offers outstanding quality at prices which are much more affordable than other whisky styles. Perhaps this is why the spirit is seeing such a resurgence in sales across Canada and indeed throughout North America.

Here are the next five spirits in my Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown (#30 – #26):

Windsor Canadian#30  Windsor Canadian

“… The initial nose is very typically ‘Canadian’ with firm butterscotch scents lying alongside a fruit-filled spicy rye. As I let the glass sit, some dusty ripened grain notes develop along with accompanying scents of straw and the chaff. There is a bit of dry grassiness reminiscent of timothy and foxtail and some zesty notes of orange and lemon peel. Rounding out the nose are a few bits of cinnamon and dark brown sugar …”

Albeta Premium SAM_2482#29  Alberta Premium 100 % Rye Canadian Whisky

“… The breezes above the glass bring me the scents and smells of a fruit-filled rye with additional notes of vanilla. Fine oak spices and a touch of citrus zest mingle within the fruity rye smells. As I allow the whisky to breathe, some nice smells of butterscotch and maple come forward and the overt fruitiness gains momentum. I receive impressions of canned apricots and pears from the glass, and  I also sense a light touch of almond in the breezes …”

mt-logan-5-sam_2807#28  Mt. Logan 5 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky

“… Fine oak spices and rye grain drift upwards with a light aroma of butterscotch and vanilla. The breezes above the glass also carry hints of baking spice (ginger and cinnamon), some light tobacco smells, and aromas of dusty grain fields ripe and ready to be swathed. Perhaps there is a touch of corn in the breezes which could be a remnant from the charred American white oak barrels …”

Centennial LE SAM_1626#27)  Centennial Rye Whisky (NAS)

“… I let the glass sit for a while, and noticed that the rye grain was joined by wood spices and these spicy accents seem to grow in the breezes. I also notice a light almost bitter astringency in the air which seems to be related to the building rye spice. As the glass continues to decant, some dry grassy tobacco comes to the fore and a light fruitiness is evolving from the rye which is also filling the air with light scents of ginger …”

Crown Royal Black sam_2670#26  Crown Royal Black

“… Caramel, butterscotch and maple are melded with flavours of oak spice and cedar. Canned fruit (in particular apricots) is obvious and dark fruit (dates and the skin of black cherries) seems to be hinted at. There is a bit of clove, a touch of cinnamon and dash of spicy wood sap. Finally under everything else is a certain dry tannic bitterness that puckers my mouth, but which seems to be just the right foil …”

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Please enjoy my Countdown of the Best Canadian Whiskies of 2016. Stay tuned as the countdown continues on November 30 with the number 25 Canadian Whisky, Chimo!

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisky Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown (#30 – #26)

The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown (#35 – #31)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 26, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016One of my favourite Canadian Whisky brands seems to have taken a tumble recently as my scores this year as both Gibson’s Finest Sterling and Gibson’s Finest 12 Year Old have seen their rankings fall dramatically. Without their own distillery and aging facilities, the Gibson’s brand is perhaps suffering as the other major Canadian distilleries may be much more interested in maintaining their own brands than in maintaining the quality of a whisky brand they do not own. I am guessing of course; but this guess is based upon my recent tasting notes for both whiskies.

Canadian Club on the other hand has maintained its quality, and across the board, I have seen little change in their products over the past two years. Sazerac, despite not owning a Canadian Whisky distillery has also seen its quality maintained, and for one of its brands in particular (which we will encounter later in the countdown) a huge improvement has been discovered. With this in mind I am revealing the next five spirits in my Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown.

Here are the links to my next five whiskies in my countdown, #s 35 thru 31:

gibsons-12-sam_2683#35  Gibson’s Finest 12 Year Old

“… The initial nose from the glass is of honey and fruit filled rye spices and some light butterscotch alongside firm dusty wood spices. As the glass breathes, ripened fields of prairie grain and corn rise up out of the glass. I sense both musty cornstalks and rows of freshly swathed grain. Sawdust, chaff, and then bits of orange peel add to the dry spiciness …”

Legacy Small Batch SAM_1656#34)  Legacy Small Batch Canadian Whisky (Sazerac)

“… The breezes above the glass were scented with aromas of peppery rye spice and butterscotch. As the glass was allowed to breathe, I noticed some corn-like accents, and some developing baking spices and which turned the butterscotch to toffee. Impressions are fleeting, but perhaps a little milk chocolate has made its way into my consciousness along with a stronger impression of wood spices …”

CC Sherry Cask#33)  Canadian Club Small Batch Sherry Cask

“… The whisky is soft in the mouth carrying impressions of fine wood spice and bits of red licorice, dark fruit (raisins and dates) and red cherry wood. Oak and cedar flavours grow from the wood spice. A flavour of Port wine and impressions of sweet cigar tobacco are hinted at. Caramel toffee, baking spices, and sticky red jelly all seem to find a place in the complex flavour profile of the Sherry Cask whisky …”

sam_2652#32)  Tangle Ridge (Bourbon Casked) Canadian Whisky

“… The whisky carries a strong bourbon flair with corn and honeycomb combining with flavours of brown sugar and butterscotch steeped in peppery wood-spice and cinnamon. Just as it was on the nose, the whisky flavour evolves in the glass if we allow it time to settle. Vanilla melds into the flavours of butterscotch and cinnamon, and a rich fruit-filled rye begins to assert itself …”

 

ccr-9yr#31)  Canadian Club Reserve (9 Year Old)

“… The initial nose is rich with butterscotch, oak, cedar, and a growing impression of maple. As the glass breathes some dank corn notes rise into the breezes along with some spicy tobacco, oak vanillans, sticky orange marmalade, and a dusting of rye spice. If you wait long enough, some nice chocolate notes and dabs of bourbon-like honeycomb begin to reveal themselves as well …”

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Please enjoy my Countdown of the Best Canadian Whiskies of 2016. Stay Tuned for numbers 30 through 26, Chimo!

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* You may follow my Canadian Whisky Countdown by bookmarking this link:

The Rum Howler – Top 50 Canadian Whiskies of 2016

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown (#35 – #31)

The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown (#40 – #36)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 24, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016When it comes to Canadian Whisky, price is not a good determinant of quality. The next five entrants in the Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown, features two of the lowest priced whiskies in Canada, Highwood Canadian Rye Whisky, and Potter’s Special Old. Both of these whiskies score in the mid eighties, despite their economy price.

Another interesting entrant on my top 50 list is Century Distillers (Highwood) White Owl Whisky, an aged whisky which has been filtered clear to provide a smooth crisp mixing spirit for the cocktail revolution. White Owl’s high standing on the list is a testament to how successful this spirit has been at fulfilling its destiny. Sazerac’s Rich and Rare Reserve, and Collingwood Handcrafted Whisky are not as well-known to Canadian consumers, but each are well deserving of their respective standing on the list.

sam_2654#40  Rich & Rare Reserve Canadian Whisky 

“… I smell corn, butterscotch and a sweet sticky marmalade when I bring my nose to the glass. As that glass breathes, scents of oak and cedar rise as well and some spicy rye and citrus zest. There is a little vanilla and almond in the breezes too, and a nice touch of maple seems to weave in and out. The whisky has a gentle complexity that is pleasant and engaging …”

sam_2640#39  Highwood Canadian Rye Whisky   

“… Butterscotch and honey, rye and wood spices, and a light dab of vanilla all meld together and with a simple ice-cube added the whisky is delicious. There is polish in evidence here, but a little rough and tumble too, as the wood spices liven the mouth-feel and take me back in time to when rye was the King of Canadian Spirits. Touches of almond and orange marmalade complete the flavour profile …”

white-owl-sam_2639#38  White Owl Whisky

“… As I take the first sip, the first impression I have is of a softly sweet vanilla and honey flavour accented by grain spice and light butterscotch. The astringency I noted on the nose has not manifested itself across the palate. I taste similar whispers of oak flavour and rye flavours which beguiled me six years ago. Although the whisky is very vodka-like, it does have a light whisky character.

calling-wood-sam_2809#37  Collingwood Handcrafted Canadian Whisky

“… The spirit begins its traverse through the mouth with initial flavours of butterscotch toffee and sour fermented fruit. There is a nice spicy rye flavour rolling through which is chased across the palate by flavours of corn and dark spicy tobacco. Some fresh oak and cedar (more oak than cedar) appears carried forward with a dabble of sweetish honeycomb ..”

potters-sam_2812#36 Potters Special Old Rye Whisky 

“… A clean spicy rye is out in front carried by light oak and the combination delivers a wonderful mouth-feel full of what I can only term as old-time traditional Canadian Whisky flavour. In fact this might just be the closest that I have come to recapturing the Canadian Whisky flavour that I remember from my younger days. The rye livens the mouth with a light spice, and a nice soft punch of vanilla with a light accent of corn completes this nicely …”

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Please enjoy my Countdown of the Best Canadian Whiskies of 2016. Stay Tuned for numbers 35 through 31, Chimo!

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* You may follow my Canadian Whisky Countdown by bookmarking this link:

The Rum Howler – Top 50 Canadian Whiskies of 2016

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown (#40 – #36)

The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown (#50 – #46)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 20, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016

In compiling my list this year, I gathered as many of the newly bottled Canadian Whiskies as I could. This included both new brands as well as many of the whiskies which I had tasted and reviewed previously. I included all sample bottles I had received in 2015 and 2016 as well as many purchases from my private collection; however, I did not include any samples from brands which had been discontinued. I also re-scored and revised the tasting notes (and introductions when I felt the old information was no longer valid) for many of my published reviews.

This means that this year’s Top Canadian Whiskies of 2016 list and the reviews of each spirit accurately reflect how each of the various brands taste now, not how they may have scored and tasted several years ago. The list is also the most comprehensive year-end list I have ever completed for the Canadian Whisky category.

As always, I present my year-end list in reverse order. The first 25 Whiskies (#50 thru to #26) will be revealed five at a time, and then #25 thru to #1 will be revealed individually throughout the month of December. Let the Countdown of the Best Canadian Whiskies begin:

canadian-mist-sam_2810#50  Canadian Mist    

” …. the corn appears to have melded into the wood spice with ripe grain, orange peel and butterscotch providing a nice accent. There also a light mustiness weaving through the air which reminds me of the smell of dry con husks. As the glass breathes some more I also notice some light bourbon notes building along with a nice accent of vanilla and almond …”

canadian-club-premium-sam_2653#49  Canadian Club Premium Canadian Whisky   

“… Canadian Club as a brand, has one the most aggressive flavour profiles in the Canadian Whisky Category. There is a dank, organic, sour mash flavour which runs through the whisky. As well, the whisky is full of damp tobacco and fermenting fruit flavours. The spirit is spicy too, with oak tannins disguised as orange peel zest and rye spices heating up the mouth. Caramel flavours seep in and out as does an impression of vanilla …”

sterling-sam_2684# 48   Gibson’s Finest Sterling Whisky   

“… The whisky leads out with rye spices and ginger but underneath those spices is that same light butterscotch I noticed in the aroma. If I let the glass decant, I begin to taste a light whisper of corn and a few baking spices working their way into the flavour profile. The spices are more firm across the palate than they were on the nose especially orange peel, ginger and cardamom …”

J.P. Wiser's Double Still Rye SAM_2618#47   J.P Wiser’s Double Still Rye  

“… The scents above the glass bring me a nice menagerie of different whisky smells. Butterscotch is melded into oak spice with a light but firm impression of pot distilled rye lurking in the breezes as well. Bits of cocoa reveal themselves as do some baking spices in the form of vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. There is also a light but firm astringency rising into the air warning me that the whisky may have a bit of youthful exuberance …”

Revelstoke SAM_2621#46   Revel Stoke Deluxe Canadian Whisky  

“… The flavour of the whisky leads out with a lightly sweet impression of toffee alongside both bitter and spicy rye grain. The mouthfeel is soft, however the whisky has plenty of wood spice to both heat and pucker the palate between sips.  This is a dusty dry whisky, and as I sip, impressions of ripened grain fields and dry grassy hay lands both find their way into my consciousness. There is a touch of vanilla and a hint of cinnamon in the flavour profile as well and perhaps also just a light indication of menthol …”

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Please enjoy my Countdown of the Best Canadian Whiskies of 2016. Stay Tuned for numbers 45 through 41, Chimo!

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* You may follow my Canadian Whisky Countdown by bookmarking this link:

The Rum Howler – Top 50 Canadian Whiskies of 2016

 

 

 

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown (#50 – #46)

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.

can-whiskey-sam_2797

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.

Chimo!

 

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Review: Mt. Logan 20 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 2, 2016

mt-logan-20-sam_2802The Mt. Logan whisky brand has been turning up in the local Liquor Depot chain of stores in my locale. It is in fact a ‘destination’ brand exclusive to Liquor Depot and Wine & Beyond (Liquor Stores N.A. Inc.) stores in Western Canada.

Three expressions of Mt. Logan Whisky are available, a 5 Year Old spirit produced from prairie grain (wheat and rye) and a 15 Year Old and a 20 Year Old Spirit each produced from 100% corn grain. These whiskies are produced by Highwood Distillers who are located in High River, Alberta (about 40 kilometers south of Calgary).

According to the label on the back of the bottle, Mt. Logan 20 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky is produced in a batch style distillation. The spirit was matured in charred American white oak.

Here is a link to my full review of this new Canadian Whisky:

Review: Mt. Logan 20 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky

“… The initial breezes above that glass are rich with vanilla, dusty dry oak spice, butterscotch and canned creamed corn. The strength and purity of the corn scent surprises and delights me. As the whisky breathes, the fine oak spices gain momentum. Orange peel begins to turn to marmalade as the butterscotch melds into the spice; dark tobacco wells up; and a firm sense of marzipan begins to unravel into the breezes …”

Please enjoy the review which includes a nice recipe for an Old Fashioned Cocktail, Chimo!

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Mt. Logan 20 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky

Review: Mt. Logan 15 Year Old Canadian Rye

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 25, 2016

mt-logan-15-sam_2806

The Mt. Logan whisky brand has been turning up in the local Liquor Depot chain of stores in my locale. It is in fact a ‘destination’ brand exclusive to Liquor Depot and Wine & Beyond (Liquor Stores N.A. Inc.) stores in Western Canada.

The whisky itself is produced by Highwood Distillers who are located in High River, Alberta (about 40 Kilometers south of Calgary). According to the label on the back of the bottle, Mt. Logan 15 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky is produced from prairie grain in a batch style distillation with each grains distilled and aged separately.

When I discussed the brand with Ryan Engen, Director of Spirits, Liquor Stores N.A. Inc., he clarified for me. According to Ryan, the information from the distillery regarding the brand is that the 15 and the 20 Year Old Mt. Logan Whiskies are both 100% corn distillate aged in charred American white oak.

Here is a link to my review of this new Canadian Whisky

Review: Mt. Logan 15 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky

“… it is tender corn that is the star within the breezes above the glass. Mild indications of butterscotch and vanilla join in with dusty dry oak spices building as the glass breathes. A kiss of rye spice meanders into the air and light touches of almond round out the nose which has an almost fragile quality …”

Please enjoy my review of this new Canadian Sipping Whisky.

Chimo!

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Mt. Logan 15 Year Old Canadian Rye

Review: Mt. Logan 5 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 15, 2016

mt-logan-splashThe Mt. Logan whisky brand has been turning up in the local Liquor Depot chain of stores in my locale. It is in fact a ‘destination’ brand, and is exclusive to Liquor Depot and Wine & Beyond stores in Western Canada.

The whisky itself is distilled and blended by Highwood Distillers who are located in High River, Alberta (about 40 Kilometers south of Calgary). According to the label on the back of the bottle, Mt. Logan 5 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky is produced from prairie rye and wheat grain in a batch style distillation with each grains distilled and aged separately. The whiskies are aged for at least five years in charred American white oak barrels (without the addition of additives) and when they are mature, they are blended to produce that distinctive Canadian ‘rye’ flavour profile consistent with our Canadian Whisky.

Here is a link to my newest Canadian Whisky review:

Review: Mt. Logan 5 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky

“… Fine oak spices and rye grain drift upwards with a light aroma of butterscotch and vanilla. The breezes above the glass also carry hints of baking spice (ginger and cinnamon), some light tobacco smells and aromas of dusty grain fields ripe and ready to be swathed …”

Please enjoy my review of this new Canadian Whisky.

Chimo!

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Mt. Logan 5 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky

 
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