This, perhaps, has been the best year ever for Canadian Whisky. In additon to the (significant) affirmation of the quality of Canadian Whisky from various world authories, let’s just take a look at the various limited edition bottlings released this year – the 150th anniversary of Canada.
There are actuallly many to list, so I want to present my favorite releases this year. Many of these represent some of the best Canadian whiskies ever released – it is no list to look down upon. Whisky has not under-represented Canada in 2017. Here are my top 12 (well 13, I picked all the very notable releases this year rather than just a top 10) limited edition offerings this year:
- Canadian Club 40 Year Old: Can anything else be said? The oldest whisky ever released, and, not a poor one - a whisky that in every way embodies the glory of aged whisky, with incredible subtelty and structure. Oh, what old corn whisky can accomplish in reused casks....
- Wiser’s 35 Year Old: It’s a shame, really, that this is not number 1 – in any „normal” year, this would be. A remarkable whisky, combining the glory and sharpness of rye with that of corn whisky. Containing all the remarkable subtlety and complexity of both extremely well-aged whisky and that of rye grain.
- J.P. Wiser’s Dissertation: talk about rye! This is one of the most intense, and focused, ryes I have ever tasted. Remarkably complex, too...
- Lot no. 40 Cask Strength: the full strength, more complex, and more developed Lot No. 40 – perhaps the epitomy of Canadian rye. 12 Years old at the cask strength of 55% – relatively low, at that, to retain all the magnificent characteristics of the grain and fermentation. Need I say more?
- Crown Royal Wine Barrel Finished: not high powered, but evolving and complex. This year’s edition of Crown Royals’ Noble Collection took all the best from wine casks and applied it to whisky. A brilliant release.
- Union 52: a mix of 52 year old Scotch with mature Canadian whisky. A long overdue, and well-deserved, combination.
- Stalk & Barrel #Canada150 Blend: The producers of some of the best rye whisky on the planet discovered a great 5 year old corn whisky to blend around – and the result was terrific once the malt and rye whiskies were blended in. And, notably, priced at $45 – the first whisky in my database produced by a micro-distillery to crack 90+ on my value score.
- Two Brewers Special Finishes: though based in the yukon territory, two brewers is producing arguably the best single malt in Canada, having started to release 8 year old single malt whisky this year. Though all of their releases have been terrific, my favourite was release four which was matured for a year in a bourbon cask (and many otherwise). Incredible, Canadian Single Malt Whisky.
- Gooderham & Worts 17 (and Pike Creek 21): Two of the less heralded releases from the prestigious Wiser’s Northern Border Collection – statement whiskies communicating the impact of blending and also imposing the glory of Canadian whisky on the world market, where scotch is the by-product of preparing barrels for Canadian whisky maturation!
- Forty Creek Heritage: A Forty Creek limited edition, which have provided some of the best whiskies ever released in Canada. This edition has been a star amidst the past two years of dissapointing releases, reclaiming the remarkable Forty Creek’s position of a leader in craft Canadian whisky with it’s rich character with the impact of blending communicated perfectly in the essense of the whisky
- Collingwood Town Collection Double Barreled: A very floral (roses, if I ever smelled them) and woody whisky, this 45% Collingwood product not only ups the flavor but also the quality and complexity of the usual stuff. It got a bit overlooked this year...
- J.P. Wiser’s One Fifty Commemorative Whisky – An easy, 16 year old whisky with a nice creamy based and spice to back it up. Each bottle was numbered to represent a particular week of Canada’s history.
And, yes, quite a year for Wiser’s, too....