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Caldera Hurricane 5 Canadian Whisky

Review: Caldera Hurricane 5 Canadian Whisky   (82.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on March 01, 2017

Caldera Distilling is a new Canadian distillery located in the historical shipbuilding community of River John, in Pictou County, Nova Scotia. Not only is the distillery based in the community of River John, according to their website, the ingredients used to produce their  premium whisky are grown on the Distillery property, meaning that the entire grain to glass process happens in one place and is a true expression of that small community in the maritime province of Nova Scotia.  In an homage to the community’s early beginnings the distilling company is named after one of the largest ships ever built in River John, the Caldera.

Interestingly, on the distillery property, (inside a barn which has been standing since at least 1939) a curious handwritten notation was found on one of the old supporting beams of the structure. This notation reads, “October 18 1939 Storm”. When the official records for the area were inspected, it was discovered that this particular storm was recorded as Hurricane #5.

Apparently this Atlantic storm was so severe that someone thought to make note of it in this particular place. I am only guessing, but perhaps the barn served as a refuge of sorts for someone, or perhaps a group of people who were seeking protection from the hurricane. Caldera Hurricane 5 Canadian Whisky serves as a link to this piece of history regarding the River John community and the storm known as Hurricane #5.

caldera-hurricane-5-sam_2962In the Bottle 4/5

The whisky is housed in the short stubby bottle shown to the left. It is sealed with a nice solid synthetic cork. The bottle is easy to grab and the medium long neck makes the dram easy to pour. My only quibble is that the information contained on the neck label is hard to read. Perhaps it would have been better to place this information in a larger font upon a back label.

This is a non age stated blended whisky bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

In the Glass  8/10

When I poured the whisky into my glencairn, I noticed the colour of the whisky was a nice copper tone, perhaps a little darker than I would have suspected. When I tilted the glass and twirled it I saw that medium-sized droplets had formed which dropped legs which crawled down the side of the glass.

There is an obvious sweetness rising into the air alongside spicy wood and grain and a nice wafting of vanilla. Rye spice and ginger run in the breezes with an equally obvious corn influence. Fruity smells of orange peel and canned apricot hit the breezes with a light impression of leather and tobacco. The nose is moderately complex with just a few hints of astringency, and perhaps a touch more sweetness than the typical young Canadian Whisky.

In the Mouth 50/60

The entry is smooth with an interesting combination of fruity rye and sweet corn. Flavours of butterscotch and vanilla mingle with fine wood spice, and soon impressions of baking spices develop as well (cinnamon and a touch of cloves and nutmeg). There is a little orange peel struggling to make the transition to marmalade, and a light winding of grassy tobacco and nutty almond flavours.

I find I can sip the spirit with ice quite easily, but my preference is to add a splash of ginger ale as well. I tried mixing an Old Fashioned, however I found the spirit not quite complex enough for this classic cocktail. I did however, mix a short cocktail (see recipe below), and found that this time the Caldera Hurricane 5 worked rather well.

In the Throat 12.5/15

The exit is short and crisp with an initial smoothness that is followed after the swallow by some glowing wood spice and cinnamon complimented by canned fruit and a touch of bitter rye and citrus pith. Vanilla and butterscotch linger just a little while, and my impression is that the Hurricane 5 demonstrates a typically Canadian finish.

The Afterburn 8/10

Caldera Hurricane 5 is a fine Canadian Whisky. I really enjoyed the spicy sweet corn and rye forward flavour profile. The spirit can sipped with ice, and it carries enough oomph to push its flavour through a soda filled cocktail. We do not need to restrict ourselves to all mixed drinks, as my cocktail suggestion below illustrates the whisky is very suited to shorter servings as well.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Recipe:

northumberland-sam_3013The Northumberland Cocktail

2 1/2 oz Caldera Hurricane 5 Canadian Whisky
1/2 oz Lemon Juice (fresh squeezed)
1/2 oz Blood Orange juice (again fresh squeezed)
1/4 oz Brandied Cherry Syrup
1/4 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
Brandied Cherry (see recipe here)
Orange Peel Twist

Add the ingredients into a metal shaker with plenty of ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a twist of Orange Peel and a Brandied Cherry

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

And if  you are interested in more recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for my mixed drink recipes!


Please Remember…The aim is not to drink more, it is to drink better!

I am always asked what my numbers actually mean. In order to provide clarification, you may (loosely) interpret the scores 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 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)


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