View Full Version : Canadian whisky additives

07-06-2004, 16:06
I have almost no experience with canadian whiskies (hope this is the right spelling for canadian whisky/whiskies), save for some Crown Royal a few years ago. (I remember it as having definite rye character: it was very clear even to my novice palate. And, of course, very smooth.) But I have tended to avoid the whole genre after learning that canadian whisky makers are allowed by law to add, to every ten parts whisky, up to as much as one part of other potable substances, such as straight bourbon, straight rye, sherry, and even fruit juice. There is no requirement that they use any additives, but they have the option. I just do not like the fact that they do not have to disclose any such additives on the labels and who wants to pay whisky prices for fruit juice (even prune juice!) or sherry? And how does it factor in when a canadian whisky carries an age statement, since nobody would age fruit juice! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif
I would hope that no canadian whisky maker actually avails themselves of this option, but it certainly opens up a door to higher profit. All in all, I much prefer the bourbon laws, which rule out all additives, period. Then the color of the bourbon says something about the barrel(s) that contributed to the bottles we buy. With scotch, caramel coloring is allowed, which is a practice that is just starting to fall into disfavor. Bourbon never had that problem, thankfully. So, anybody know how prevalent the use of additives is in current canadian whiskies? Enquiring minds and all that. Cheers, Ed V.

07-06-2004, 18:58
You know, in the broader (not narrow legal) sense, what's an additive..?

If bourbon barrels are charred black by (gas jet) fires, why is the blackened wood not an "additive", or the extensive charcoal leaching spoken of recently in connection with Tennessee whiskey?

Some stills use copper, measurable elements of which enter the bourbon and affect (this is known) maturation. Some makers use stainless and don't "add" the compounds deriving from copper.

The prune juice, etc., where added to Canadian whisky, is added (as far as I know) after the whisky is aged, to balance the flavour, to enrich it. While 9% may be the legal maximum, in practice far less is added to Canadian whisky, this is evident from tasting samples.

To my way of thinking, everthing is a compound of one kind or another and all that matters is if the result tastes good.


07-06-2004, 19:10
Gary, With due high respect, I don't want to pay aged whisk(e)y prices for mere fruit juice! So taste alone is not the determining factor. Hell, a chocolate milk shake is REAL hard to beat sometimes, but not at $30 per quart! I think canadian whisky makers should tell us what is in the bottle and should dump the additives altogether, if they use them at all. Then they will become a legitimate genre. Otherwise, I just cannot see paying whisk(e)y money for fruit juice and/or sherry. Just my 2 cents. Cheers, Ed V.

07-06-2004, 19:20
Ed, you make some good points but take a whiskey sold at 80 proof (e.g. all Jack Daniels) vs. whiskey sold at 86-100 or more proof. Aren't people buying more water than they should when they buy Jack as compared to higher proof whiskies? Yet people buy Jack Daniels in huge quantities, it is a huge seller around the world. I hear you but maybe also my view is affected by the fact that Canadian whisky - in Canada - is sold at the lowest price you can buy whisky for - it's not as if they ask as much for it as single malt or most bourbon (i.e., the good bourbons). So you get a price break here even though some of it (not all) is flavoured to a degree..


07-07-2004, 04:13
Gary, you are a clear thinking fellow! Given the choice of paying whisk(e)y prices for water in low proof whisk(e)y versus paying whisk(e)y prices for fruit juice or sherry additives, I have to admit the latter choice makes some considerable sense. And, as you say, the prices are very low already for Canadian whisky. So I'm going to re-think this category and maybe try a Canadian whisky before too long. I do occasionally check the shelves for Canadian whiskies, but not much interesting shows up in any of the stores I go to. No Lot 40, or G & W, etc. Mostly just CC and such. Only trouble is there is a sale on Elijah Craig 18, going for $25 (US) per bottle, so that is probably going to require some action. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif Cheers, Ed