Canadian Whisky

Canada’s whisky-making history mirrors that of the United States. Its earliest farmers first began distilling rye in the eastern territories (in the late 1700s), but as western Canada was settled in the following centuries, corn and wheat also became popular. Canadian whisky came to prominence during Prohibition, when it was illegally smuggled by boatloads and carloads to those American masses thirsty in the south. While there are strict U.S. requirements for when a specific grain can be referenced on a label, a bottle of Canadian whisky can be labeled as “rye whisky” even if there is little or even no rye in the mashbill. This is due to the use of rye as a flavoring grain throughout much of Canada’s whisky-making history, which was so well-known that “rye” and “whisky” became interchangeable. The only legal requirements for Canadian whisky are that it must be made in Canada from a fermented cereal mash that is then aged in wood containers for at least three years and bottled at 80 proof or higher.

Top Canadian Whisky Posts:

Crown Royal Deluxe Blended Canadian Whisky
Lord Calvert Black Canadian Whisky
Drinking the Bottom Shelf Vol. 2: Canadian Whisky – Ellington, Black Velvet, LTD

Review: Pendleton Canadian Whisky – Original, Midnight, and Rye 12 Years Old (2022)

By Christopher Null | June 13, 2022 |

Oregon’s Hood River Distillers has been cranking out Pendleton Canadian whisky for longer than Drinkhacker has been around, dropping additional expressions over the years, most of which we’ve reviewed at some time or another. Today we take a retrospective look back at the three most available whiskies of the four-expression permanent lineup, all but the…

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Review: Chicken Cock Cotton Club Rye 20 Years Old

By Christopher Null | February 19, 2022 |

Grain & Barrel Spirits, the company behind the Chicken Cock brand’s revival, continues to push the brand upmarket, releasing limited expressions of all kinds of (sourced) whiskeys, revolving around bourbon and rye. This latest expression is a doozy: A 20 year old Canadian rye named in honor of Harlem’s Cotton Club, where the original Chicken…

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Review: Barrell Gray Label Bourbon, Whiskey, and Seagrass (2021)

By Drew Beard | February 1, 2022 |

Barrell made its first upmarket moves in 2018 with what was then called the Barrell Craft Spirits line, a selection of extra-aged, cask strength bottlings that represented the cream of the crop from Barrell’s expansive spirits stocks. The initial lineup included a bourbon, whiskey, and rum offering. We only got the chance to sample the…

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Review: Crown Royal Noble Collection Winter Wheat

By Drew Beard | January 21, 2022 |

Crown Royal managed to squeeze in yet another addition to its limited release Noble Collection before the end of 2021. For this, the sixth release in the series, Crown went a bit off script, bottling a wheat whiskey of unspecified age made with 51% winter wheat, 39% corn, and 10% malted barley — instead of…

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Review: Hunt & Gather Lot #2 Canadian Whisky 15 Years Old

By Christopher Null | January 14, 2022 |

During our inaugural coverage of Hunt & Gather I had been unaware that the “lot #1” indication on the label was more than just fanciful marketing. Hunt & Gather is indeed part of a series — and if lot #2 is any guide, they’re going to vary quite a bit, driven entirely by sourcing unique barrels.…

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Review: Alberta Premium Cask Strength Rye (2021)

By Drew Beard | December 21, 2021 |

We took Alberta Premium Cask Strength for a spin last year after the Canadian rye whisky won Jim Murray’s coveted “World Whisky of the Year” for 2020. We didn’t quite agree with Mr. Murray’s assessment, but then again, the expression more widely available in the states, which we reviewed, doesn’t appear to have been the…

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Review: Crown Royal Noble Collection Rye 16 Years Old

By Christopher Null | October 11, 2021 |

Crown Royal’s latest Noble Collection release eschews tricks and keeps it simple, bottling a straight rye at the age of 16 years. Bold butterscotch and brown banana notes lead the way on the nose here, though the sweetness quickly blows off and leaves more savory elements behind — bacon fat and some black pepper emerging…

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Review: Alberta Premium Cask Strength Rye (2020)

By Christopher Null | May 27, 2021 |

If you’re drinking a rye whisky that was made in Canada, there’s a good chance you’re drinking whisky from Alberta Distillers, which is essentially the MGP of the north. Alberta makes vodka and blended whisky, but its best known for its rye whisky, which is made from a 100% rye mashbill and is bottled here…

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Review: Barrell Bourbon Infinite Barrel Project (Various 2020 Bottlings)

By Rob Theakston | February 14, 2021 |

Anyone passing even the quickest of glimpses over the latest lifestyle listicle or award competition winners would be aware Barrell has the hot hand coming out of Kentucky at the moment. With a prolific series of unique blends alongside their high-quality eponymous offering, they’ve offered something for nearly every taste and preference on the spectrum.…

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Review: Crown Royal Salted Caramel

By Christopher Null | April 29, 2020 |

Crown Royal has been churning out flavored expressions in recent years, and this might be its most decadent to date: Crown Royal Canadian whisky blended with salted caramel flavoring. As with other flavored expressions of Crown Royal, the guy in charge of doctoring the whisky has certainly done so with a heavy hand. The nose…

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