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Perth Canadian Whisky

Review: Perth Canadian Whisky  85/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted February 16, 2020

Top Shelf Distillers are located in Perth, a town in Eastern Ontario, located on the Tay River, about 80 kilometres southwest of Ottawa. At one time, Perth was home to four distilleries the two most famous of which (McLaren and Spalding & Stewart) were located in limestone buildings alongside the Tay River catering to the tastes of the early Scottish settlement by producing malt whisky similar to the Scottish style of the day. Prohibition (the Ontario Temperance Act of 1916) is largely blamed for the demise of the distilling industry in Perth; but now, just over one hundred years later, Top Shelf Distillers have began to once again bottle whisky in Perth.

Their Perth Whisky is a recent release and they have only limited quantity available, (35 cases currently in the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Control (AGLC) warehouse in a 500ml format bottle). They have also began to bottle the spirit in a 750ml format, and one of those bottles was sent to me for review. According to the information given to me, Perth Whisky is produced from from locally sourced ingredients, and is aged in both new American Oak charred barrels, as well as various used barrels from some of the larger distillers.

Perth Whisky is bottled at 43.5 % alcohol by volume after aging for three years.

In the Bottle 4/5

The Perth Whisky bottle is shown to the left. It is a typical medium tall cylindrical bottle with a long bubbled neck and synthetic cork closure. The label could use a little brightening up, the only highlight is the small beaver symbolizing the Canadian heritage of the spirit. It’s obvious that economics are driving most aspects of the presentation. Micro-distilling is not cheap, and to bottle a competitively priced spirit while maintaining high standards of production, it is the bottle which often bears the brunt of cost compromise.  (It’s hard to fault that.)

In the Glass 8.5/10

The whisky, when poured into my glencairn, has a golden colour with a hue somewhere between golden straw and amber. When I bring the glass to my nose I am greeted with leathery grain and light oak aromas which are accented by a gentle sweep of butterscotch and vanilla.

I like the leathery smells which remind me of both fresh leather and graham wafers. Light baking spice and almond round out the aroma, which while not being overly complex, nevertheless promises a robust grain flavour.

In the Mouth 51/60

I like sipping on the whisky. The dry leathery grain flavour carries just enough butterscotch sweetness to bring a nicely balanced flavour across the palate. There is just a touch of heat brought by the slightly higher bottling strength, but the heat doesn’t build as you sip nor does it overwhelm the robust flavour.

Vanilla and baking spice complimented by almond flavours from the oak cask begin to hint at toffee and marzipan. Again the whisky is not overly complex, but the flavours it carries are firm, well balanced and speak to a distillation cut which must have been handled just about perfectly as I taste no off flavours which are sometimes present in the early returns of craft whisky.

In The Throat 13/15

The spirit is light to medium bodied with a finish which brings a complimentary light butter scotch sweetness as well as vanilla and almond through the exit. Perhaps there is just a touch too much heat in the exit, then again, this whisky and I like having my tonsils swatted a little as I sip. Hints of cinnamon glow at the back of my throat.

The Afterburn  8.5/10

The only factor preventing a higher score is maturity. The whisky is only three years old, and that short stay in the oak casks while being very worthwhile, has only brought part of the goodness and character that oak aging can deliver. This is going to be a whisky to watch, as what I have tasted to this point bodes very well for the future of Top Shelf Distillers.

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

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Suggested Cocktail:

Canadian Whisky Splash

2 oz Perth Canadian Whisky
2 or 3 Large Ice-cubes
Splash of Ginger-ale
Citrus coil

Add the Ice-cubes to a rocks glass
Pour the Whisky over the ice
Add a splash of Ginger Ale
Garnish with a citrus zest

Enjoy Responsibly!

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

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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.

 
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