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Gillman
05-03-2010, 06:30
We were discussing on another thread aspects of these rules. It is a complex question, the rules appear strewn throughout different legislative sources. I cited in that thread the Food and Drug Act (Canada) regulations concerning the definition of whisky and Canadian whisky. Under these rules, no distillation proof threshold is provided. I could not find any other rule that stipulates one.

As for the 9.090% rules, I find this extract helpful:

http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2009/2009-07-08/html/si-tr61-eng.html

I interpret this to reflect underlying rules (again they are in different places) that say two things: first, if whisky from Canada contains more than that percentage (9.090) of imported spirits (bourbon, say, or Scots malt), it cannot be certified as Canadian whisky on export and the certificate of age and origin accompanying it must in that case state what the respective percentages of domestic and imported spirits are. In practice therefore, all Canadian whisky (so certified on export) sent out of the country will not, as I read this, contain more than that percent of imported spirits.

Second, for the age part of that rule, if any domestic or imported spirits or wine are added to spirits (including therefore Canadian whisky), provided the absolute alcohol of the addition does not exceed 9.090% of the total alcohol in the blend, the blended spirits can be stated as aged for the period the spirits to which the addition was made were aged.

Thus e.g., if you add 2 year old 80 proof US bourbon to 6 year old 40% ABV Canadian whisky, and the bourbon represents 5% of the total blend, that can be sent out for export as Canadian whisky aged 6 years.

That is how I read it anyway.

Gary

DeanSheen
05-03-2010, 07:35
Gary, funny post title. I read it as "Canadian Whiskey.....Rules!" and thought that was a strange title for a SB post!

I hope you get to taste those BT Canadians so you can let us know how they compare.

Gillman
05-03-2010, 08:39
Robert, I did not mean it in the sense you mentioned, nor is it a "Freudian slip" since my admiration for bourbon is well-known! Nonetheless I like some brands of Canadian whisky too. As often discussed in the past, it is really a different drink.

Gary

Megawatt
05-03-2010, 17:38
I have long wondered about these rules and the common interpretation of them, which seems to be that Canadian distillers can add 9.09% of whatever the hell they want to the spirit and get away with it. I've always felt that there is more to the equation than that but as you pointed out the wording is tricky.

Also, these rules seem to apply to exported products, which I understand can be quite different from the Canadian whisky sold domestically, such as Canadian Mist which is shipped to Kentucky in tanker trucks and blended with American rye or something like that. So I wonder how the rules are applied to whiskies sold within Canada, where export regulations are not a consideration.

Gillman
05-03-2010, 17:56
I can give you a partial explanation, i.e., one valid until mid-2007. (Since then, I believe the situation is the same but I need to confirm).

Look at this notice:

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/em/edn4/edn4-e.pdf

What this is saying is, the Excise Act, 2001 replaced the Excise Act. Despite that, the government decided to maintain certain provisions of regulations relating to spirits and whisky that had been passed under the latter Act. As you see, sections 7 and 8 of the Departmental Regulations were preserved, amongst others. These state that any "spirits" (which would include Canadian whisky) can be flavoured. Flavouring is any domestic or imported wine or spirit. Thus, in terms of sale in Canada, you can add to Canadian whisky any amount of domestic or foreign wine or spirit, say sherry from Spain, or U.S. bourbon, and 9.090% does not enter into it as such. But there is an important proviso. Recall from the other discussion I said that Canadian whisky must have the aroma and taste generally attributed to Canadian whisky. So, let's say you add 50% strong Islay whisky to Canadian whisky. Can you sell that as Canadian whisky? Not if the aroma and taste aren't generally characteristic of Canadian whisky, which I think they wouldn't be in that case. Can you add 20% bourbon (again I am speaking only of Canadian whisky intended for sale in Canada)? I would say yes because the result wouldn't be radically different from Canadian whisky's palate as known up to now. Where the 9.090% comes into it is for aging. If the alcohol part of the wine or spirit you add is more than 9.090% of the total alcohol in the blend, then you cannot claim the age of the spirits to which the addition was made. I gave an example earlier, this is intended to allow the age of the base whisky to describe the age of the blend even though the addition was younger, provided you do not exceed the percentage mentioned. If the addition is older than the base, the problem doesn't arise of course, you will claim the age of the base - if claiming at all - unless (I would think) what you added is more than 50% of the absolute alcohol content. As we saw, this rule is also relevant for exports.

The rest of source linked above explains the other rule, again for exports and that we saw earlier, that no more than 9.090% can be added as imported spirits (water and all) to Canadian whisky to claim the description (or that of "rye whisky" or "Canadian rye whisky") for export.

So to sum up, for domestic purposes, and setting aside the aging statement aspect, you can add whatever amount you want to Canadian whisky of any domestic or imported spirit or wine - provided the final result still has the character generally associated with Canadian whisky.

This is how I understand it, it is my interpretation of the rules I have found on this matter. And as stated above, this situation existed until June 30, 2007 although I believe the same situation applies today.

One thing to consider is that so much Canadian whisky is exported that I would think even what is sold locally is made the same way as the most stringent rules (discussed earlier) for export. And just because a rule allows this and that to be added doesn't mean that commonly occurs in practice. Finally: there is a rule somewhere (I have seen it) that states that no spirit may be added to Canadian whisky which is not aged at least two years, this again is a domestic requirement.

Gary

Gillman
05-04-2010, 05:40
One thought I'd like to point out is that since the late 1800's and with few exceptions, Canadian whisky has been a blend of a fairly neutral, albeit aged, base whisky with a smaller amount added of strong-tasting whisky and/or other flavourings (say, rum or sherry). I don't know if rum today is used to flavour some Canadian whisky. But at one time it was sometimes added. There was a brand called Captain's Table, no longer sold, and I always thought it might have some rum added, both from the name and the taste. And I have read historically that rum was sometimes used to flavour whisky here. Same thing for sherry or similar additives, sometimes imparted through aging in a barrel that once held such wines.

We should remember that in the 1800's, the term whisky was fairly flexible, it meant a spirit, generally derived but not alway from cereals, that originally had an assertive taste, before rectification really got going that is. When distillers gained the ability to make a mild-flavoured, cereals whisky, they decided to add things to the base to lend a pleasing final balance. While blended Scotch was a model in part for the approach, the Canadians were more flexible, recognizing that, say, rum or brandy could be added to a neutral-tasting base to make up a pleasing spirit. This flexibility allowed makers to come up wth their own proprietary formulas. (Although as is known, the Scots often age their malt whisky in casks that formerly held other spirits, or wines). In effect a new category of drink was created. This history should be recalled when trying to make sense of the current regulations. That being said, based on what I have read and understand, most Canadian whisky is made using cereals only as the fermentative source. And as I said too, I would think most of it does not utilize more than 9.090% imported spirits and much of it probably uses none. In the end, what is important is, is this whisky pleasing to your palate (and pocketbook)?

Gary

Megawatt
05-04-2010, 05:48
Thanks Gary, I'll go back to read and digest all that info later today when I have the time. I will mention, though, a discrepancy I find between the common conception of Canadian whisky amongst Scotch/bourbon connoiseurs (namely, it is vodka with a bit of rye plus 9% whatever), and the statements of companies like Crown Royal who claim to use upwards of 30 different whiskies in their blend. I would find it hard to believe that any company would go through the trouble of blending dozens of neutral-tasting spirits, just to flavour them with some cheap imported spirit or something. But knowing little about the actual blending processes of different distillers, it is hard to know what really goes on. This is why I'm encouraged by companies like Still Water, who give detailed descriptions and photographs of every step of their production process. A vast improvement over many other distillers who don't even have a website!

Gillman
05-04-2010, 06:19
Well, the industry is old and conservative, it is not one which is accustomed, as some U.S. and Scots distilleries are, to responding to consumer writers and interest in the area. Part of the reason too is the wariness about having too high a profile as an alcohol producer, which in turn reflects differing social conditions here and provincial control of liquor sales.

Whether the intricate blending of the big companies does assist to make a final unique product is hard to say: I would think the main reason for it, is not so much to make a highly distinctive product, but to make a consistent one. But there has to be a certain logic to it I think. E.g., Seagram uses both batch- and continuous-distilled whiskies in its blends, and no flavourings (no wine or caramel) as far as I know except for one or two one-offs. Crown Royal is a big seller and it does have a distinctive taste, so does CC, so as light (relatively) as they are, their careful make-up does I think lead to a controlled final result and one that pleases many.

The new small distillers are great and they of course want to distinguish their products in the marketplace, so most of them are interested to explain what they do and how in some detail.

But then too, I am not sure how often the big boys are approached to explain (and contrast) their methods in the way the U.S. or Scots industry often is. It would be good to sit down with one of their master distillers and really go over things. I am sure some of the companies would be open to this if approached in the right way.

Gary

Gillman
05-04-2010, 11:46
Here is a provision from the Excise Act, 2001, an amendment added in 2007:

Transitional application of Distillery Regulations
315.1 (1) If, during the period beginning on July 1, 2003 and ending on July 1, 2009, sections 7, 8, 9, 12 and 15 of the Distillery Regulations, C.R.C., c. 569, would have applied in any circumstance had those sections, as they read on June 30, 2003, been in force and section 1.1 of the Excise Act not been enacted, those sections apply, with any modifications that the circumstances require.

Transitional application of Distillery Departmental Regulations
(2) If, during the period beginning on July 1, 2003 and ending on July 1, 2009, sections 13 and 14 of the Distillery Departmental Regulations, C.R.C., c. 570, would have applied in any circumstance had those sections, as they read on June 30, 2003, been in force and section 1.1 of the Excise Act not been enacted, those sections apply, with any modifications that the circumstances require.

2007, c. 18, s. 131.

_________________________________________________

Under these rules, the compositional standards I mentioned earlier were extended until July 1, 2009. I am not sure what happened after that, maybe the rules were placed in regulations adopted under this Act. I'll look into it.

Gary

Gillman
05-04-2010, 12:01
http://www.canlii.org/en/ca/laws/regu/si-2009-61/latest/si-2009-61.html

The above regulation re-states the rules mentioned earlier for exports, i.e., they are now set out in a regulation adopted under a federal statute dealing with agriculture.

I cannot find any continuation after July 1, 2009 of the rules mentioned in sections 7 and 8 of the old Distillery Regulations, i.e., for whisky sold in Canada. Perhaps such rules no longer apply and if they don't, the situation would be essentially as before, i.e., there would seem no limit as such on the amount of domestic or imported spirit or wine that can be added to Canadian whisky. Perhaps though the part of the Distillery Regulations that allowed the age of the spirits to govern, where you did not add more than 9.090% of a younger imported spirit, doesn't apply any longer, that is the point I am not sure about. Maybe the industry uses general rules in the Food and Drug regulations and/or general law to decide what age expressions are proper for domestic sales, I am not sure.

If I can get any further hard information I will bring it forward here but this is as far as I can take it now.

Gary

Gillman
05-04-2010, 14:38
This is more complicated than I thought. In re-reading the last regulation I posted (SI/2009-61, passed under the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food Act), I see that in effect, the rules of the old Distillery Regulations and Distillery Departmental Regulations have been combined, but again only for exported Canadian whisky. Here are the old rules again:

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/em/edn4/edn4-e.pdf

If you compare them to the current regulation, you will see all the rules are there together: thus, the 9.090% rule is there in its two senses earlier explained, so if a whisky made in Canada contains more than 9.090% imported spirits, the Certificate of Age and Origin must (as before July 1, 2009) not refer to it as Canadian Whisky (or rye whisky or Canadian rye whisky) and must state the relative proportions. Thus, if you add under that percent - imported spirits - you can still call it Canadian whisky - this is the current source of this well-known rule, one which never applied to domestic sales and still does not.

Second, where you add any imported or domestic spirit OR wine to a whisky, if the alcohol in what you add does not exceed 9.090% of the total alcohol in the blend, the age can be stated as that of the whisky to which such spirits were added (i.e., basically where the addition is younger), otherwise the age statement is that of the youngest spirits in the blend. This is an age-related rule now expressly made applicable to exports, but not apparently relevant (as it was before July 1, 2009) to domestically sold Canadian whisky. Can this mean that age statements are more generous on the export than on the domestic article? Perhaps but in practice I don't think so.

Once again in practice, I would think (but don't know for sure) that Canadian whisky sold in Canada probably complies with the rules for stating origin and age for export, since so much whisky here is made for export.

This is (I can now say finally) as far as I can take it: if I find any further information I'll pass it on but I think that's it.

Gary

cowdery
05-04-2010, 15:32
But nothing has turned up mentioning either proof of distillation or proof of barrel entry. That has to be regulated somewhere.

craigthom
05-04-2010, 15:44
This is (I can now say finally) as far as I can take it: if I find any further information I'll pass it on but I think that's it.

Gary

Thanks for all that. It was a fun read, and I look forward to any other information that turns up.

Gillman
05-04-2010, 17:01
It isn't Chuck, there is no regulation on that.

Thanks Craigthom, the material is dense I know, and good that some people will bear with it.

Gary

Gillman
05-05-2010, 05:17
Just to give the further information I have regarding the use of stills to make spirits in Canada, anyone possessing a still to make spirits must be licensed under the Excise Act, 2001 (a statute mainly concerned with imposing and collecting taxes on various kinds of excise products such as tobacco, wine, spirits).

From my review (cursory but I did look through the materials), this law and the regulations passed under it do not purport to regulate such things as proof upon distilling spirits or entry proofs for barrel storage. (Of course, Canadian whisky must have a minimum 40% alcohol by volume, but that is different).

There may be a rule (or one would think) concerning vodka's distillation proof minimum, but I haven't found it as yet. Maybe it is in the Food and Drug Regulations somewhere. But as for whisky, I believe there is no such regulation.

Gary

Gillman
05-05-2010, 08:41
Regarding vodka, this is from the Food and Drug Regulations:

"Vodka
B.02.080. [S]. Vodka shall be a potable alcoholic beverage obtained by the treatment of grain spirit or potato spirit with charcoal so as to render the product without distinctive character, aroma or taste".

This is the definition of grain spirit in these Regs:

“'grain spirit' means an alcoholic distillate, obtained from a mash of cereal grain or cereal grain products saccharified by the diastase of malt or by other enzymes and fermented by the action of yeast or a mixture of yeast and other micro-organisms, and from which all or nearly all of the naturally occurring substances other than alcohol and water have been removed".

I can't find a definition of potato spirit, but presumably it would be interpreted similarly to grain spirit, whose definition shows that in effect alcohol to make vodka must be distilled at a high proof to achieve the required absence of "all or nearly all of the naturally occurring substances other than alcohol and water..." (i.e., co-products of fermentation generally termed fusel oils). So via this technique, but without specifying a minimum distillation proof (194 or other), vodka in Canada must be neutral in taste.

If you look again at the definition of Canadian whisky, there is no reference in it to grain spirit, it is not defined as grain spirit plus flavouring (the other spirits, e.g., bourbon- or straight rye-type, that are typically added). So I think Canadian whisky can be distilled out at any proof provided it meets otherwise the requirements of the definition in the Food and Drug Regulations discussed on the other thread.

Gary

Megawatt
05-05-2010, 19:00
Bloody confusing if you ask me. How about this: there is a company near Toronto, I forget what they're called, but they import Scotch and bottle it independently. But under the Canadian rules, they are only allowed to sell it if they add at least 1% Canadian-produced whisky. Since it is sold as single malt they must add single malt Canadian whisky, which I can only imagine comes from the Glenora distillery. Many strange regulations abound.

Gillman
05-05-2010, 19:04
Yes, I am aware of the rules you are referring to. It has to do with importing malt whisky in bulk, if you want to do that and bottle it here, it must be blended with some local malt whisky. This is why much rum sold here is stated to be a blend of imported and Canadian rum. The rules are complex and not found in one place...

Gary

Megawatt
05-05-2010, 19:18
Here's a question: When the label says "A blend of only the finest whiskies", or "100% rye whisky", does it actually mean "only the finest whiskies plus whatever else we put in it," and "100% rye if you don't include the other stuff"? I hate to be cynical because I love a lot of Canadian whiskies but a little more transparency wouldn't hurt. On the other hand, as you pointed out it is the taste and value that matter most. But it has a lot to do with perception, doens't it? If you perceive a product to be a highly industrialized, adulterated, bastardized commodity it will probably impact your opinion of it one way or another. Sort of like how a fancy bottle can improve a whisky's taste ;)

Gillman
05-06-2010, 02:27
When they say whiskies here, e.g., in a blend, it can mean any or all of the whiskies which make up the blend, which will generally include batch and continuously distilled whiskies. Each has a character or attribute which lends a characteristic to the whole.

I really don't view this as any different from whisky ads around the world. All ads sell the finest and offer 100% quality in this or that way. Canadian whisky has a well-established market, while some brands are marketed heavily (especially in the U.S.), the quality sells itself, essentially, IMO. It outsells (or the last I looked) bourbon, Scotch and rum in the U.S. for example. Blended scotch is a substantially similar idea, the idea of using a relatively neutral base and then adding a highly-flavoured whiskey to give complexity and a deeper taste. The Canadian product probably uses less flavouring whiskey, but then rye and bourbon whiskeys, which are the main type used for flavouring, or say barley whiskeys (unmalted in whole or part), are very strong-tasting to begin both so it probably evens out. Almost all whisky today is made industrially, all the bourbon distilleries I have visited bear this out except perhaps for the Versailles part of Woodford Reserve. It depends how you look at it, why is, say, the residual sherry that leaches into the renowned sherry cask-aged malts any different than adding some sherry to Canadian whisky? In fact, Canadian Club Sherry Cask is a whisky finished (or so I understand) in casks that held sherry, so there is even a better analogy. It depends on what premise you start from and while I stand with anyone in my admiration for the fine malts and bourbons of the world, the blended Scotch, American and Canadian style of whiskey is no lesser and some would say superior from the standpoint that they please the person who has not and will accustom to straight whiskey, which is the majority of those who drink spirits. (Regarding American blended whisky, the base of it often is unaged GNS, so there is a distinction to be made there although the concept of it is very sound and I think perhaps it had a better quality in previous generations).

By the way, if a whisky is stated as rye whisky in Canada, that doesn't necessarily mean all of it was made from rye. It may be, but even so, the base of it will be fairly neutral in taste and the rye origins will matter less (i.e., the keynotes will come from the rye whiskies added distilled at a low proof, generally the batch whiskies). What is important to any blend is the keynotes given by the flavouring whiskies, but not only that.

Gary

Megawatt
05-06-2010, 05:58
I totally agree, and I'm not really challenging the marketing so much as questioning the regulations and how they apply to some of the claims on the bottle. Let me give you a specific example. When I buy Alberta Premium it says right on the bottle "100% rye whisky". Sounds good. Can I take it to mean that there is no non-rye flavouring added, or are they within their rights to add flavouring and still call it 100% rye?

Anyway I suppose I'm nitpicking here. I do think that distilled spirits should be forced to list ingredients in the same way that other food and beverages are.

Gillman
05-06-2010, 06:53
I understand that product is a blend of whiskies, all made from a rye mash. That's how I read it anyway. I am not sure if anything else is added, I don't think so.

The question of what you can put in, which I am discussing here, is one thing (composition requirements), it is another thing what requirements need to be stated on a label and I don't know those rules off-hand. As for any packaged product anywhere in the world, those rules are usually somewhat complex but again I don't know for Canada. E.g., I know in the EU, some countries require you to state on the bottle if colouring is added to Scotch whisky, and some don't. So it varies depending where you are.

Canada has good rules to protect consumers and I for one am okay with the current rules, e.g., if a given whisky has sherry in it and I am not told that on the label, I am good with that. I know in general how the product is made and will choose by final taste.

Gary

cowdery
05-06-2010, 10:14
There has to be something, somewhere about distillation proof. Is there a standard of identity for just 'whisky' as opposed to Canadian Whisky?

cowdery
05-06-2010, 10:18
Someone shared the following with me and I thought I would pass it along. Although I can't verify it myself, it seems reasonable. The person who sent it to me is Canadian.

"There is a basic misunderstanding about the 9.09% additives allowed in Canadian whisky. It wasn't distillers who asked for this, it was accountants. Additives are occasionally used to change the flavour profile, but generally not. By and large, when they are used there is another very mundane reason: the US taxman. In Canada the tax structure for spirits is essentially the same regardless of the sugar source, but not in the US. As one example, tax breaks were introduced in the 1980s for whisky that contained Florida orange wine - a response to two years of failed crops and the need to dispose of a lot of sub-quality oranges.

"There is no advantage in adding orange wine or anything else to whisky that is made strictly for sale in Canada, but for whisky that will be exported to the US, the tax savings can be huge. These tax incentives were targeted at American distillers, but the US is our largest market and in order to compete we need the same advantages American distillers have. Even still, not everyone uses blenders."

Rughi
05-06-2010, 12:06
...where you add any imported or domestic spirit OR wine to a whisky, if the alcohol in what you add does not exceed 9.090% of the total alcohol in the blend, the age can be stated as that of the whisky to which such spirits were added...

Here's the left field question I keep coming back to ( I hope it wasn't already in the texts); I believe Canadian Whisky may contain up to 9.09% of non-distilled, fermented liquid (e.g. sherry), but can a Canadian Whisky contain some percentage of NON-ALCOHOLIC contents? For instance, how about the old rectifier ingredients, prune juice or cherry juice? For that matter, to stretch to the ridiculous, how about tobacco juice?

Is the litmus test only that the final product needs to look, smell and taste as one expects of Canadian Whisky?

Roger

Gillman
05-06-2010, 13:49
Interesting, Chuck, could well be. There is a history though of using flavourings (prune wine comes to mind, mentioned by Jackson in his late 80's book) in Canada that I think is unrelated - I have found prune wine ads in the U.K. addressed to the spirits makers as far back as the 1800's - but if U.S. tax laws gave an incentive, that might give an additional reason to use them. Still, and as your source also indicated, they may not be used as much as people think. I think the main flavourings used are good old (straight-type) whisky, but I don't know for sure.

Gary

Gillman
05-06-2010, 13:51
On the point of what can be added, it is any domestic or imported spirit or wine. I have not checked the definition of wine as yet, I would think the wine must contain some alcohol, but I don't know for sure, I'll check.

Gray

Gillman
05-06-2010, 13:59
This is the definition of "wine" in the same Food and Drug Regulations which contain the rules on Canadian whisky discussed in the other thread earlier. I don't know if "alcoholic beverage" is defined, I'll check a little later on that.

Wine
B.02.100. [S]. Wine
(a) shall be an alcoholic beverage that is produced by the complete or partial alcoholic fermentation of fresh grapes, grape must, products derived solely from fresh grapes, or any combination of them;
(b) may have added to it during the course of the manufacture
(i) yeast,
(ii) concentrated grape juice,
(iii) dextrose, fructose, glucose or glucose solids, invert sugar, sugar, or aqueous solutions of any of them, (iv) yeast foods, in accordance with Table XIV to section B.16.100,
(iv) yeast foods, in accordance with Table XIV to section B.16.100,
(v) calcium sulphate in such quantity that the content of soluble sulphates in the finished wine shall not exceed 0.2 per cent weight by volume calculated as potassium sulphate,
(vi) calcium carbonate in such quantity that the content of tartaric acid in the finished wine shall not be less than 0.15 per cent weight by volume,
(vii) sulphurous acid, including salts thereof, in such quantity that its content in the finished wine shall not exceed
(A) 70 parts per million in the free state, or
(B) 350 parts per million in the combined state, calculated as sulphur dioxide,
(viii) any of the following substances:
(A) citric acid, fumaric acid, lactic acid, malic acid, potassium bicarbonate, potassium carbonate, potassium citrate and tartaric acid, at a maximum level of use consistent with good manufacturing practice,
(B) metatartaric acid at a maximum level of use of 0.01 per cent, and
(C) potassium acid tartrate at a maximum level of use of 0.42 per cent,
(ix) amylase and pectinase at a maximum level of use consistent with good manufacturing practice,
(x) ascorbic acid or erythorbic acid, or their salts, at a maximum level of use consistent with good manufacturing practice,
(xi) antifoaming agents, in accordance with Table VIII to section B.16.100,
(xii) any of the following fining agents:
(A) activated carbon, albumen, casein, clay, diatomaceous earth, egg white, isinglass, polyvinylpolypyrrolidone and silicon dioxide,
(B) acacia gum, agar, gelatin and potassium ferrocyanide, at a maximum level of use consistent with good manufacturing practice,
(C) tannic acid at a maximum level of use of 200 parts per million, and
(D) polyvinylpyrrolidone in an amount that does not exceed 2 parts per million in the finished product,
(xiii) caramel at a maximum level of use consistent with good manufacturing practice,
(xiv) brandy, fruit spirit or alcohol derived from the alcoholic fermentation of a food source distilled to not less than 94 per cent alcohol by volume,
(xv) any of the following substances:
(A) carbon dioxide and ozone at a maximum level of use consistent with good manufacturing practice, and
(B) oxygen,
(xvi) sorbic acid or salts thereof, not exceeding 500 parts per million calculated as sorbic acid,
(xvii) malolactic bacteria from the genera Lactobacillus, Leuconostoc and Pediococcus,
(xviii) copper sulphate in such a quantity that the content of copper in the finished product shall not exceed 0.0001 per cent,
(xix) nitrogen, and
(xx) oak chips and particles; and
(c) prior to final filtration may be treated with
(i) a strongly acid cation exchange resin in the sodium ion form, or
(ii) a weakly basic anion exchange resin in the hydroxyl ion form.
SOR/78-402, s. 1; SOR/81-565, s. 1; SOR/84-300, ss. 14(F), 15(E); SOR/2006-91, s. 1; SOR/2008-142, s. 1(F).
B.02.101. No person shall sell wine that contains more than 0.24 per cent weight by volume of volatile acidity calculated as acetic acid, as determined by official method FO-2, Determination of Volatile Acidity of Wine, Cider and Champagne Cider, October 15, 1981.

CorvallisCracker
06-21-2010, 13:08
There has to be something, somewhere about distillation proof. Is there a standard of identity for just 'whisky' as opposed to Canadian Whisky?

Yes, but not in Canada. The EU uses the Scottish standard, which is 94.8% ABV, and Canadian distillers, who want the option of exporting to EU countries, conform to that standard.

I learned this today during a phone conversation with Rob Tuer, Director of Operations at Alberta Springs Distillery.

Last month our ol' buddy Jeff (Mozilla) posted a comment to my blog asserting his claim that Canadian Whisky is "75% vodka". At the time I was following this (very informative) SB.com thread, but decided to do some independent research on blended whiskies (by the way, during that a Google search returned your 2007 SB.com post that I referenced in the comment I posted to your blog).

Learned a number of things, such as the base spirit used in Wiser's is distilled at 92.5%. This is lower than GNS, but I'm not sure I could tell the difference between two spirits made from identical mash, one at 92.5% and one at 95%, and both watered down to 40%. Nevertheless, it's not legally GNS, and I didn't find any information anywhere to support a claim that this or any other Canadian uses GNS.

Until last week.

I picked up a copy of Charles MacLean's book Whiskey. In the entry for Alberta Springs (pg 221), it states that the the base spirit used in Alberta Springs is "distilled to an alcohol level of around 95-96 percent ABV".

Since I don't believe everything I read, I contacted the distillery, eventually reaching Rob Tuer. "I don't know where they got that," he told me, "but it isn't correct". He went on to tell me that although there is no Canadian standard, "we use the Scottish standard so that we can export to the EU."

He wouldn't say exactly to what proof they distill, only that "it's low enough that the flavor of the rye comes across." So I don't know how low it is, but I suspect it's not much lower than 94.8%, because I can smell the rye in Sobieski vodka, which is presumably distilled at 95%.

Megawatt
06-21-2010, 14:06
Great post, Scott. Nice to have some light shed on this spirit.

CorvallisCracker
06-21-2010, 14:41
Great post, Scott. Nice to have some light shed on this spirit.

Why thank you Mike, but, after all, Gary has done most of the shedding here.


When I buy Alberta Premium it says right on the bottle "100% rye whisky". Sounds good. Can I take it to mean that there is no non-rye flavouring added, or are they within their rights to add flavouring and still call it 100% rye?


Rob was quite emphatic that they use 100% rye whisky, distilled at two different proof levels, and I'm pretty sure he said that they add nothing else. I didn't actually note that (as in, jot it down), but I believe that's what prompted my question to him about how they managed starch-to-sugar conversion.

"Do you use malted rye?" I asked.

He replied that they use enzymes, but produce their own. Unfortunately it didn't occur to me until after the conversation that I should have asked from what they produce the enzymes (rye malt or barley malt or ?).

But I have his E-Mail address, so I could send that as a follow-up question.

Megawatt
06-21-2010, 15:17
Why thank you Mike, but, after all, Gary has done most of the shedding here.



Rob was quite emphatic that they use 100% rye whisky, distilled at two different proof levels, and I'm pretty sure he said that they add nothing else. I didn't actually note that (as in, jot it down), but I believe that's what prompted my question to him about how they managed starch-to-sugar conversion.

"Do you use malted rye?" I asked.

He replied that they use enzymes, but produce their own. Unfortunately it didn't occur to me until after the conversation that I should have asked from what they produce the enzymes (rye malt or barley malt or ?).

But I have his E-Mail address, so I could send that as a follow-up question.

By all means. It is encouraging that you were able to speak directly with a distillery exec. Do you have any connection to the industry?

I'm sure I've said it before but I find it so encouraging that this Still Water company is being much more transparent with their production methods and such.

CorvallisCracker
06-21-2010, 15:57
He replied that they use enzymes, but produce their own. Unfortunately it didn't occur to me until after the conversation that I should have asked from what they produce the enzymes (rye malt or barley malt or ?).

But I have his E-Mail address, so I could send that as a follow-up question.


By all means.

I just sent a thank-you note, and included the question. Also put in a plug for SB.com.



It is encouraging that you were able to speak directly with a distillery exec.

Yes, it is.



Do you have any connection to the industry?


Not yet.


I'm sure I've said it before but I find it so encouraging that this Still Water company is being much more transparent with their production methods and such.

I'd like to try their product but they don't export to the US. My wife and I need to stop talking about applying for passports and just do it. Vancouver is not that far away.

Gillman
06-21-2010, 17:47
Very interesting, good stuff.

Gary

CorvallisCracker
06-22-2010, 13:35
Response from Rob Tuer regarding the enzyme Alberta Springs uses to convert starch to sugar:

"We have an enzyme production facility to produce Glucoamylase. We use a Aspergillus culture for this process."

smokinjoe
06-24-2010, 19:28
Response from Rob Tuer regarding the enzyme Alberta Springs uses to convert starch to sugar:

"We have an enzyme production facility to produce Glucoamylase. We use a Aspergillus culture for this process."

I figured it was Aspergillus....

sku
06-24-2010, 19:30
I figured it was Aspergillus....

Because you get that weird smell when you pee after you've had an Alberta Springs?