View Full Version : Hirsch 8yo Canadian Rye
I picked up a bottle of this last weekend, and it is quite good! Surprisingly, it's a lot lighter in color than Rittenhouse BIB, but don't let that fool you. The rye flavor shines right through!
It also makes an extravaganty rich Manhattan - the rye flavor seems more pronounced than when I use Rittenhouse BIB or WT rye, even though it's 86 proof instead of 100 or 101.
I'm going to have to try this in a Sazerac sometime... it seems very well suited for it.
I'm revisiting this one tonight, neat, and I'm noticing a very strong resemblance to my Tangle Ridge. In spite of it being bottled at Glenora in Nova Scotia, I can't help but think that it was actually distilled in Alberta.
If I hadn't already had my fill tonight, I'd pour some Tangle Ridge to verify this...
I´m also planning to invest in one of these, either the 8, 10 or 12yo. Have you tried the other ones, as well?
Also, I´m curious as to what it requires for a Canadian whisky to call itself Rye. In what way do these releases differ from your typical Canuck whisky? Is the word 'rye' just used as part of the hype?
To call it rye there has to be some rye in it, but the Canadian definition of whisky is fairly flexible: any grains can be used in any combination, no maximum distillation proof, any kind of wood, aging in wood in Canada for at least 3 years, and I think that is it.
I take it, then, that a standard bottle of, say, Canadian Club could be labeled rye, as well?
Yes, provided it contains some distillate made from rye. Some Canadian whisky employs very little rye and some uses none at all I understand. To be called a rye whisky under Canadian law, it is possible (I will check) that at least 50% of the mash must be derived from a rye feedstock, but it is certain (or at least that is my current view) that if no rye is used it would not be correct to label it rye whisky.
In other words, while the meaning of this term is fairly flexible in Canada, I believe the term rye whisky has not become a term divorced from its original meaning (along the lines of the dish Welsh Rabbit, say, which contains no rabbit).
I think my earlier suggestion that Canadian rye whisky must contain some rye is not correct. I looked again at Part II of the Food and Drug Regulations (adopted pursuant to the Food and Drugs Act (Canada)). They seem to define Canadian whisky, Canadian rye whisky and rye whisky synonymously to mean whisky made (amongst other requirements) from any cereal grains. As I said earlier, such whisky must be aged 3 years in wood and also, it must have a taste characteristic of Canadian whisky. This seems a self-referential or circular definition but one common enough in the world's liquor legislation. So, if you made a vodka, aged it 3 years in wood and labelled it Canadian whisky but it didn't taste like Canadian whisky, that would not comply with the law. But it appears that you can call rye whisky something which is not made from rye. There are other laws on the books, of general application, which prohibit misleading advertising. If one calls a whisky rye whisky and no element of rye feedstock entered its manufacture, would this violate such general laws? I don't think so since the specific liquor legislation, referred to earlier, appears clearly to consider rye whisky a whisky that can, but does not have to, be made from rye. In other words I think probably the term has become divorced from its original meaning and is just a sales and marketing term (in Canada).
There is a strange kind of logic to this position. Since Canadian whisky can be made from all-high proof spirits (provided aged in wood for at least 3 years), the original materials from which it is made lose their ostensible significance (because the final product is near-neutral and does not disclose the materials it is made from). So why not call Canadian whisky made from any grains "rye whisky"? The designation of this term as one of the authorised terms for Canadian cereals distillate aged 3 years in wood that tastes like Canadian whisky should probably arises too because of the longstanding public habit of calling any kind of Canadian whisky "rye". The legislator probably is taking a cue from longstanding consumer and commercial practice.
I am not 100% sure I am right but this is what I think based on a quick look at the Canadian legislation.
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