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Mt. Logan 15 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky

Review: Mt. Logan 15 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky  91.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published October 25, 2016

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.

The 15 year spirit is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

mt-logan-15-sam_2806In the Bottle  4.5/5

Mt. Logan 15 Year old Canadian Rye Whisky arrives in a squat jug-like whisky bottle with a medium long neck and solid cork topper. I like these slightly heavy squat bottles as they seem to imply substance when they sit on my bar shelf. They do not tip easily, and they also follow the bartenders creed being easy to hold, easy to pour and easy to store.

I also appreciate that the brand owner has decided to pay homage to a great Canadian landmark. For those who do not know, Mt. Logan (the highest Mountain in Canada) was named after Sir William Edmond Logan, the Canadian founder of the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC). Rather than being part of the Rocky Mountain Range, it is located within Kluane National Park and Reserve in southwestern Yukon. Drawing attention to this majestic Canadian landmark is a very positive aspect of the whisky presentation.

The only niggle I have with the label is the word “Rye” used to describe the whisky. I understand that because the whisky has the typical flavour profile which we in Canada describe a ‘rye’ flavoured (which comes from the fine oak spices in this case and not from the grain) the whisky can rightfully be labeled as a Canadian Rye Whisky. However according to the information I was given, this is a 100 % corn distilled spirit. I believe that the label should embrace the corn rather than ignore it. The fact that this is 100 % corn distilled whisky from a single distillery means that this is a Single Grain Whisky in the purest sense of the term.

In the Glass  9/10

Once poured into my glencairn, the whisky displays a slightly pale amber hue. I see a light oily sheen on the inside of my glass after I swirl it. Small droplets form at the crest of the sheen which trickle down as medium small leglets. There is no apparent sweetness or colour added to the whisky.

The label may read rye whisky; but 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. The whisky may not be a centerpiece of complexity; but this is outweighed by the purity of the nose which displays uncommon polish and sophistication.

In the Mouth 54/60

As I sip the Mt. Logan 15 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky, I am pleased by the clean, smooth flavour which the whisky presents. The mouthfeel is lightly oily bringing a nuance of luxury to the experience. Light flavours of corn, vanilla, butterscotch and almond are chased merrily across the palate by fine oak spice. The light corn builds with each sip bringing a beguiling sweetness forward which plays very nicely with the dusty wood spices. Hints of cinnamon appear within the spice adding a lovely nuance to the soft parade.

The whisky is so smooth, and the flavours so soft and nuanced that any attempt to mix the spirit into a cocktail is perilous. I mixed a very light whisky sour with only a dab of lemon juice and found that much more was lost than gained. Then I also added a light splash of ginger-ale to another glass, and the Canadian Whisky Splash was so smooth, I considered the result dangerous. (And again, more was lost as those lovely nuances within the whisky were largely drowned out by the soda.)

The Mt. Logan 15 is best served neat, so that its nuances can be appreciated.

In the Throat 15/15

The whisky has a medium length finish which is so smooth that one barely feels the alcohol at all. A wonderful dusting of spice heats the palate after the swallow with ebbing flavours of corn and marzipan providing just the right complement. If one adds ice to the glass, all trace of alcohol heat vanishes.

(I am not sure if I have ever given a whisky 15/15 in the finish before.)

The Afterburn 9/10

Mt. Logan 15 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky is a wonderful whisky which oozes elegance and class. The spirit showcases the light flavours of corn and how well this grain combines with fine oak spices in the Canadian style. Above all else, the whisky demonstrates incredible smoothness making it perhaps too easy to sip. A slightly more robust flavour may have garnered a higher score; then again, a slightly more robust flavour may have upset those delicate nuances with the whisky that I enjoyed so much.

My final score is 91.5/100 representing a whisky which is so good that I should be loath to share it. Fortunately, I have seen it on the store shelves for well under fifty dollars making the spirit such a bargain that I can be more generous in my outlook towards my friends and family (and my tasting friends).

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

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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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