Review: Wayne Gretzky Ninety Nine Proof Canadian Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

3 years (bourbon barrels); Wine Cask Finish (100 days+)
Malted Rye, Unmalted Rye, Corn
Producer Wayne Gretzky Estates (Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario)

Many critics consider Canadian whisky undervalued – in part because of reputation which isn’t generally merited at any shelves except the bottom. indeed, the most expensive Canadian whisky in Ontario is usually only a hair above $100 – we’ve had 21 year old rye whiskies selling for under 50$, 30 year old ryes selling for $50, 25 year old ryes selling for $25. The most expensive whisky in the LCBO now is a (terrific) 21 year old Canadian Rockies for $126. Gretzky is making a bold move, here – putting their nice looking new release in at $100, saying a lot for a whisky that is 3 years old.

Available at the Gretzky Winery and Distillery.

Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: 711015:20L3 54SL278

  • Bottling Date: 2017


The nose is still in the oaky, spicy gretzky style – but bigger, and with more overt wine influence. Rich dried fruit, charcoal, black cherry, wax, and lots of old cinnamon and clove. Dried apricot, prunes, dried cherry, anise, fresh oak, caramel sauce – all there as well. The palate is very much a whisky, but with loads of wine influence – with notes of a spicy, big, cabernet blended in. The spices continue, along with oak, clove, charcoal, and toffee – with a finish of red wine tannin, clove, anise, cashews, and buttery toffee. The finish is really nice. A bigger whisky than the other Grezkys, and it does very well at this strength. Very enjoyable (especially on a cool, rainy day like today!).

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low. Against Scottish single malts, this might compete in a value category, but against whisky as a whole $100 is a lot for this.