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Ethan Koll Rare 8 Year Old Canadian Whisky

Review: Ethan Koll Rare 8 Year Old Canadian Whisky  88.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published on July 19, 2016

Ethan Koll Rare 8 Year Old Canadian Whisky is a whisky brand developed by Distiller Sales Company of Princeton, Minnesota and is part of a portfolio of brands owned by Phillips Products Company (PPC). The Brand was registered in 2010, and is distributed in the Northwestern States of the US and Western Canada.

Some of the other PPC brands which are available in my home market include: Broken Bell Bourbon, Cross Keys 5 Yr Old Barbados Rum, Monkey Paw Rum, Luxus Vodka, Capatina French Vodka and Veil Premium Vodka.

Although the whisky is apparently bottled (at 40 % abv.) in the USA, the whisky inside the bottle was both distilled and aged in Canada.

Ethan Koll SAM_2622In the Bottle 4/5

Ethan Koll arrives in the squat long-necked bottle shown to the left. This bottle style is a favourite of mine as the squat bottle with the heavy glass base seems to imply substance when you see it on the shelf next to the other taller whisky bottles. The labeling is quite nice although somewhat minimalistic.

I did a little research trying to determine who Ethan Koll actually is or was and came up empty. Although the name conjures up thought in the mind of a venerable old whisky distiller, I do not know whether an Ethan Koll associated with whisky actually existed or if the name was chosen just to give the spirit a projected ambiance of heritage.

In the Glass 9/10

The whisky shows me a nice amber colour in the glass . When I gave the glass a tilt and a slow twirl, I noted a light film on the inside of the glass, the crest of which dropped small leglets which formed slender legs down the inside of that glencairn. Visually everything  looks just about right for an 8-year-old spirit.

When I inspected the breezes above the glass, I noted that it took a little time for the whisky to assert itself. At first all I could smell were faint wood spice and dusty grain. Then a little butterscotch sweetness was revealed alongside some pleasant vanilla and almond scents. Then the rye started to gain momentum building up and throwing more of its spice into the breezes and throwing up stronger impressions of fruity rye grain kernels. As the scents and smells continued to build; baking spices began to appear; the impression of butterscotch turned to maple; almond scents wandered towards marzipan; and the oak and rye spice began to resemble the smell of damp tobacco.

I am very pleased with what the breezes above the glass have shown me so far.

In the Mouth 53/60

By the time I began to taste the whisky (after about 10 minutes of nosing) the whisky flavour had progressed along that same avenue of built-up richness which the nose had slowly revealed. The mouthfeel was soft and approachable, and I tasted a combination of maple and butterscotch sweetness melded into the oak spice, cedar and rye grain. This gave the spirit a mild rum-like quality which I quite enjoyed. There was however also a strong underlying impression of rye grain and damp tobacco which certain left no mistake that this was a whisky, and a very good one at that. (A spirit can definitely  both a strong whisky character with a mild rum-like quality within that whisky character.)

Baking spices in the form of vanilla and touches of cinnamon, almond-like marzipan, orange peel zest and citrus pith all meandered within the flavour profile of the Ethan Koll whisky. The spirit is both smooth enough and interesting enough that sipping is preferred to mixing. When I do mix a cocktail, I decided it was best to choose a short cocktail that will feature the flavour of the whisky rather than the mixing ingredients, and the Old-Fashioned Cocktail is certainly an appropriate choice (see recipe below).

In the Throat 13.5/15

The whisky is crisp and smooth through the finish. The exit features flavours of fine wood spice melded with light butterscotch and rye flavour. After the swallow, dry peppery wood spice and hints of cinnamon are left glowing on the palate with the sweetness diminishing quickly.

The Afterburn 9/10

The Ethan Koll Canadian Whisky was an unexpected treat. The spirit takes a little time to gather itself together in the glass, but if you are patient with the glass you will be surprised by the rich whisky flavour and the mild maple sweetness which developes. The soft mouthfeel and smooth finish make the whisky very approachable both as a sipping whisky and as a high quality mixing spirit.

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


Suggested Recipe

Old FashionedThe Old Fashioned Cocktail

1 1/2 oz Ethan Koll Canadian Whisky
1 tsp simple syrup (1:1 ratio)
1 dash bitters (Angostura)
2 large ice cubes
1 twist of orange peel

Add the first three ingredients to a rocks glass over the ice cubes
Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink. (This will release the oil from the orange zest into the drink)
Drop the peel into the cocktail if desired.

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

Note: If  you are interested in more of my cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!


As always you may interpret the scores I provide 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 more 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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