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: Crown Royal Vanilla

By Christopher Null | December 5, 2016 |

Crown Royal continues to experiment with flavored whiskies, its latest expression being a natural whisky fit: Vanilla. The product is described as “a blend of hand-selected Crown Royal whiskies infused with the rich flavor of Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla.” If you like vanilla and you like Canadian whisky, well, you’ll love Crown Royal Vanilla, which is…

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Review: Canadian Club 100% Rye

By Christopher Null | June 8, 2016 |

I don’t remember the last time we saw something new from Canadian Club (turns out it was 2011), but with absolutely no warning or fanfare the blender has released a new whisky. As the name fairly freely suggests, it’s 100% rye, produced by the rye giants at Alberta Distillers Ltd. As a reminder, “rye” whiskey need…

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Review: Crown Royal Noble Collection Cornerstone Blend

By Christopher Null | June 4, 2016 |

Crown Royal is embarking on a new collection of whisky releases called the Noble Collection. This will be a series of annual, limited releases (no time horizon has been announced), each designed to “showcase Crown Royal’s team of talented distillers and blenders and named for the whisky brand’s noble roots.” (Crown Royal reminds us that…

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Review: Collingwood Canadian Whisky (2016)

By Christopher Null | April 22, 2016 |

After a recent rebranding, we felt it was time to take a fresh look at the standard bottling of Collingwood Canadian Whisky, which we last reviewed on its original release in 2011. While the decanter has been updated to look a bit less like a perfume bottle (namely through the ditching of the plastic cover that…

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Review: Serpent’s Bite Apple Cider Flavored Whisky

By Christopher Null | January 30, 2016 |

With a name like Serpent’s Bite, one expects at least a little drama. Truth is this apple cider flavored Canadian whisky is about as harmless as they come. (Yeah, I get it, Adam and Eve and all that.) Mystery Alberta, Canada-born spirit is spiked with apple cider flavors, with results that are, well, probably exactly what…

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Review: Pendleton Midnight Canadian Whisky

By Christopher Null | December 27, 2015 |

Oregon-based Hood River Spirits has a bit of a cult following with Pendleton Canadian Whisky. In 2012 the company launched a second, older expression, Pendleton 1910, and now it’s following that up with Pendleton Midnight. Pendleton Midnight is quite a different animal than those that have come before it. The big spin is that a portion…

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Tasting Report: WhiskyFest San Francisco 2015

By Christopher Null | November 29, 2015 |

It was another unforgettable year at 2015’s WhiskyFest, with some of whiskydom’s most cherished icons on tap for tasting, and plenty of old friends to mingle and catch up with. Of course, many of those old friends come in liquid form, and I had ample opportunity to revisit plenty of classic whiskies while spending time…

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Review: Alberta Rye Dark Batch Whisky

By Christopher Null | July 25, 2015 |

Alberta Rye Dark Batch Whisky is so complicated it is typically accompanied by a flowchart explaining the convoluted method by which it is made. I’m going to try to digest this oddball Canadian rye for you… but don’t feel bad if you get lost. Really it’s all about what’s in the glass in the end. Alberta…

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Review: Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye (2015)

By Christopher Null | June 7, 2015 |

A Crown Royal Rye? Wait, isn’t all Canadian whisky “rye”? Hang on a sec. There’s a lot of confusion about rye and Canadian whisky, and rightly so: By law in Canada, a whisky only has to have some rye in it to be called a rye, part of an outgrowth of hundreds of years of shorthand…

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Tasting Report: Whiskies of the World Expo San Francisco 2015

By Christopher Null | May 10, 2015 |

This year marked my sixth consecutive in attendance at Whiskies of the World, a fantastic event that’s typically held on the San Francisco Belle paddleboat, docked in San Francisco Bay. I asked organizer Douglas Stone why it seemed so empty this year, and he told me it was an optical illusion: He pushed the distilleries’…

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