Mt. Logan 20 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky
Review: Mt. Logan 20 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky 93/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published November 2, 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.
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.
The 20 year spirit is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
In the Bottle 4.5/5
Mt. Logan 20 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 this is a 100 % corn distilled spirit (at least according to my feedback from the brand owner) and I think that the label should reflect that this a 100 % corn distilled whisky. In fact, a whisky made from a single grain from a single distillery is a rare spirit indeed.
In the Glass 9/10
The Mt. Logan whisky displays as a nice rich golden amber liquid in the glass. When I tilt and twirl that glass, I see a lightly thickened sheen of whisky on the inside the crest of which gives up medium-sized leglets which slowly amble down the inside of the glencairn.
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. The whisky is a delight to nose and it is not long before I steal a sip.
In the Mouth 55/60
The medium bodied whisky is surprisingly dry with oak and corn taking the lead across the palate. There is a light woody bitterness which puckers the mouth and leaves me an impression wooden planks left in the sun gently oozing wood sap. The flavour is not harsh; but the light impression of wood is undeniable in the flavour. As I sip, I realize that the whisky reveals more and more of itself with each passing minute, a welcome butterscotch sweetness comes forward as do flavours of light corn syrup and vanilla pudding. Tobacco and almond flavours step up to be noticed as does a surprising nuttiness which reminds of barley grain. I do not believe there is any barley in the blend, but the impression remains nonetheless. Suddenly I realize my glass is empty and reaching to pour another dram is so natural that I do it without thinking.
In the Throat 14.5/15
There is an elegant smoothness about the whisky which makes sipping easy. The finish is dry, with lingering flavours of wood, spice, and light corn syrup. (Note: that the wood and spice are separated by a comma.) There is a light rye-like bitterness at the end which causes the throat to parch and induces another sip. I decide that I had better re-cork the bottle and put it back on the shelf before I pour another glass.
The Afterburn 10/10
I am a ‘rye guy’ and I am not supposed to be loving a 100 % corn whisky this much. But once again, Highwood Distillers have blended a corn whisky that is so good, it is hard to put down. The Mt. Logan 20 Year Old is a rich, elegant whisky that showcases all the goodness that this prairie corn can bring to the glass.
This is a true ‘Single Grain Whisky’ which perhaps deserves an even higher score.
You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
Mt. Logan Old Fashioned
2 oz Mt. Logan 20 Year Old Canadian Whisky
1 tsp Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
1 dash Angostura Bitters
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!
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)