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Powertrip
08-31-2007, 15:27
Well. I think I've got a line on one of the hand numbered 6,000 bottles released by Forty Creek. John K. Hall, the distiller, hand selected the casks, ranging in age of 6-15 years. It will be having a commercial release on September 18th (whatever is left over from the 2 months of online/on-site sales).

If anyone has tried this yet, please post away. Let's see if this brings Canadian Whisky to a new level!

mozilla
08-31-2007, 17:13
Is this Canadian 3/4's full of vodka like most other things from Canada?
Jeff Mo.

jcusey
09-01-2007, 09:58
Is this Canadian 3/4's full of vodka like most other things from Canada?
Jeff Mo.

The label does not include the word "blended", and the website (http://www.fortycreekwhisky.com/history/patiencetimetalent.asp) does not mention the addition of grain neutral spirits. The first fact is more dispositive than the second. See also an article (http://www.fortycreekwhisky.com/history/pdf/Forty_Creek_Whisky.pdf) by Chuck Cowdery in Whisky Magazine about Forty Creek. Chuck also does not mention grain neutral spirits, and he says that the whiskies making up Forty Creed are pot-distilled mostly in one pass to around 62% alcohol, although some are doubled to 70-75%. Neither level qualifies as grain neutral spirits, of course.

mozilla
09-01-2007, 15:03
All of the Canadian Whiskies that I have seen contain 75% grain neutral spirits, whether,it says it on the label or not. I would count on this one being the same way.
Jeff Mo.

Gillman
09-01-2007, 15:29
Under Canadian law as I read it, whisky must be aged at least 3 years in small wood (barrels under 700 L). An exception states that "flavouring" can be added. Flavouring is defined as any domestic or foreign spirits or wine. This would seem to allow GNS to be added. It doesn't though to whisky sold in Canada because an exception to the exception states that no spirits can be added as flavouring unless aged at least 2 years in wood. For whisky exported in bond to America, the latter rule (the exception to the exception) does not apply, but another one does which states that not more than 9.090% of the alcohol in the blend can be derived from flavouring. Ie., GNS seemingly can be added to exported whisky (not domestic-sold) (which doesn't mean it is for all exported brands), but this 9.090% maximum can't be exceeded.

Most Canadian whisky probably uses as its base a spirit distilled at a very high proof, and its percentage in the final blend would exceed probably in most cases 75%, but that is not GNS in the domestic product because of the aging in wood rules I mentioned. And as I say, in the exported in bond product, the amount of GNS added, assuming this is even done, can't exceed the 9.090% rule mentioned.

I don't know how the Forty Creek whiskies are put together though. Chuck seems to have gotten some pretty specific information.

Gary

mozilla
09-01-2007, 15:56
Gary,
How can GNS be considered a flavor? Written on many bottles of Can. whisky is GNS 66% or higher. I think that rule would only apply to the port, wine and fruity flavors that are used in every Canadian whisky. Lastly, what Canadian whisky comes Bib?
Jeff Mo.

jcusey
09-01-2007, 16:36
All of the Canadian Whiskies that I have seen contain 75% grain neutral spirits, whether,it says it on the label or not. I would count on this one being the same way.
Jeff Mo.

Labels of spirits sold in the United States have to conform to BATF regulations, and BATF regulations (http://www.atf.gov/pub/alctob_pub/bevalcmanspirits/chapter4.pdf) define Canadian Whisky thusly: "Unblended whisky manufactured in Canada in compliance with its laws." It is distinguished in the regulations from blended Canadian Whisky. So yes, the lack of the word "blended" on the label is legally very significant. If it's not there (and it's not), that means that it's either labeled illegally, which is hard to imagine, or it doesn't contain grain neutral spirits.

mozilla
09-01-2007, 16:49
Well how about that! I went a checked the two bottles I have and.....Both are labeled blended CC15 and CMist 1886. So, that begs the question, how many Canadian whiskies in the US are not blended? I would have said all before reading your last post. Thanks for teaching this old dog a new trick.
Jeff Mo.

Gillman
09-01-2007, 21:12
Okay thanks and Jeff I was just speaking to the Canadian regulations. I haven't checked what Canadian whisky must be under U.S. law and I didn't know that bottles of Canadian are labelled in the States as you indicated, or about the unblended thing. Not sure yet what is meant by that. I'll try to figure this out. I was simply saying that to sell it here (Canada), unaged GNS cannot be added (as I read the rules) - and if GNS is aged it isn't GNS in the usual sense (because it has a wood flavour). Anyway I'll check further in the U.S. laws to try to figure it all out. Plus I'll be in the States soon and can look at some bottles of Canadian there. By exported in bond, I meant, exported without paying Canadian taxes, not BIB in the U.S. sense.

Gary

Gillman
09-02-2007, 08:11
I haven't yet tried the Small Batch Release, I am looking forward to it since I am a fan of the Forty Creek products.

Here is an extract from the U.S. standards of identity for whiskies:

"(9) “Canadian whisky” is whisky which is a distinctive product of Canada, manufactured in Canada in compliance with the laws of Canada regulating the manufacture of Canadian whisky for consumption in Canada: Provided, That if such product is a mixture of whiskies, such mixture is “blended Canadian whisky” (Canadian whisky—a blend)".

As I read this, the rules I referred to earlier about what Canadian whisky can be called when exported don't apply in the U.S. since this seems to require that Canadian whisky sold in the U.S. be made up in the same way as if sold in Canada.

My understanding of the rules for sale in Canada are (this is not exhaustive) that while flavouring - i.e., any foreign or domestic spirits (not just whisky) or wine - can be added to Canadian whisky in any amount, the flavouring if "spirits" has to be aged at least two years. So you could add I think grain spirits if aged at least two years but not grain neutral spirits - grain spirits (as defined in the U.S. standards of identity at any rate) are grain spirits stored in oak containers.

(One might think: if in the domestically sold (Canada) product "spirits" can be added in any amount - any foreign or domestic spirits which seems to include, rum, brandy, etc - does that not water down the concept of Canadian whisky? The answer is it does not because another rules states that Canadian whisky must have the aroma, taste and character generally attributed to Canadian whisky).

For non-exports from Canada, the 9.09% rule often mentioned in discussions about Canadian whisky means, that if more than that percentage of the alcohol in the blend derives from foreign or domestic spirits or wine, the age of the resultant product is deemed to be the age of the youngest spirits in the blend. Say you add 30% alcohol deriving from a 10 year old U.S. bourbon to a 5 year old Canadian whisky - the product has to be described as 5 years old. However if you add 9% alcohol deriving from a 2 year old bourbon to a 5 year old Canadian whisky, you can still describe the whisky as 5 years old.

So as I read all these rules (but I could be wrong and am open to other information/interpretations), (unaged) GNS can't be put in Canadian whisky sold in the U.S. because it can't be in Canada.

As for the blending reference in the quoted paragraph, I am not sure how a mixture of whiskies is to be interpreted (maybe other rules in the U.S. standards would assist here). E.g., if a Canadian distillery mingles before aging some whisky that is low-proof with some that is high, is that a mixture? Or is a mixture only something which is a combination of whiskies from different distilleries? Can it be even two high proof whiskies from the same distillery if one is distilled from all-rye and the other from all-corn? I just don't know. I'll look at the labels of Canadian whiskies when in the States soon. Some may say the product is blended Canadian whisky.

Gary

jcusey
09-02-2007, 09:10
As for the blending reference in the quoted paragraph, I am not sure how a mixture of whiskies is to be interpreted (maybe other rules in the U.S. standards would assist here). E.g., if a Canadian distillery mingles before aging some whisky that is low-proof with some that is high, is that a mixture? Or is a mixture only something which is a combination of whiskies from different distilleries? Can it be even two high proof whiskies from the same distillery if one is distilled from all-rye and the other from all-corn? I just don't know. I'll look at the labels of Canadian whiskies when in the States soon. Some may say the product is blended Canadian whisky.

Gary

Gary, I could be over-interpreting matters, but I have been thinking of blended Canadian whisky (at least in the United States) as a rough analogue of blended American whiskey. The latter is a blend of straight whiskeys (ie, whiskeys distilled to 160 proof or less and aged in new charred oak barrels) with other whiskeys (ie, whiskeys distilled to greater than 160 proof but less than 190 proof and aged in new and used oak barrels) and grain neutral spirits (ie, spirits distilled to 190 proof or more, either aged or unaged). Now, I realize that Canada doesn't have the concept of straight whiskey and that anything that goes into a bottle labeled Canadian whisky must be aged for a minimum of three years. However, I thought that the word "blended" on Canadian whisky sold in the United States implied that what was in the bottle was a blend of grain-based spirits distilled to 160 proof or less and grain-based spirits distilled to more than 160 proof. Like I said, I could be completely misinterpreting things.

Forty Creek is the only Canadian whisky that I have ever seen that does not have the word "blended" on the label.

Gillman
09-02-2007, 12:13
Well, there is no requirement in Canadian law (that I know of) relating to distilling-out proof. All "Canadian whisky" must be made from a "cereals" mash (any grain is okay), aged 3 years in small wood (wood barrels not > 700 L), mashed, distilled and aged in Canada, and have the aroma, taste and character generally attributed to Canadian whisky, That's it - subject to the blending rules, some of which I summarised earlier.

In the actual practice of it, most Canadian distillers make a high proof base spirit, which is essentially GNS, and then age it at least 3 years. Also, they blend in, "at birth" or after maturation, some characterful, low-proof whisky which essentially is (to speak loosely) a straight or single malt whisky.

On top of that, some add caramel, sherry, and maybe other spirits, but if it is spirits added, it has to be aged, for Canadian domestic consumption, at least 2 years.

Now, this is different from U.S. blended whisky because as you said, it can and often does contain some real (unaged) GNS - this is not possible in Canada as I read the rules for Canadian whisky.

But there is a rough analogy between the two whisky types since both have a minority perentage of low-proof flavourful whisky in them.

Under Canadian law as I read it, up to 9.09% alcohol (this is a second, different application of the 9.09% concept) of whisky exported in bond from Canada can be from domestic or foreign spirits or wine, otherwise, the export officials must certify that it has more than that and second they cannot describe the product as Canadian whisky in the certificate. I.e., this is an exception to the rule for the domestic market that the flavouring spirit must be aged at least two years. Also though, it protects the foreign market in a way by the overall 9.09% limit on alcohol coming from a non-Canadian whisky source - that limit doesn't exist for the domestic market, what does exist in relation to 9.09% is the aging rule mentioned earlier, the 9.09% affects how you can describe the age of the resultant blend.

The export rule would suggest some Canadian whisky sold in the U.S. can have some real GNS in it but I think in fact it cannot because the paragraph (g) I mentioned before from the U.S. standards of identity seems to apply the concept of what can be sold in Canada domestically. This seems to rule out new GNS.

On the other hand, as I say, Canadian law for sales of whisky here does not as I read it limit the amount of flavouring you can add. E.g. as I read it, half the alcohol in a Canadian whisky can come from rum added (rum made anywhere). So presumably this could be "Canadian whisky" for U.S. purposes too, subject to the all-important qualifier mentioned earlier that the final blend must taste and have also the aroma and character of Canadian whisky. Subjective in part anyway as that is, that is the test, so if one's blend ends up tasting more like rum than a Canadian whisky, it should not be bearing the label Canadian whisky.

In practice, I believe as I say most Canadian whisky is made by the Canadian distillers themselves, from low- and high-proof elements all distilled from corn or rye or wheat or a combination, and maybe sometimes with a little caramel or bourbon or something else added for additional flavour. This is what I believe because all Canadian whiskies I've had do taste somewhat similar and taste like an all-cereals distillate albeit (generally) mild in taste.

As for why "blended" appears on most Canadian whisky labels in the U.S., I believe this must be because they are combinations of whisky (of aged low- and high-proof, or in some cases bourbon and aged high proof, and so forth).

I say again though I am not a specialist in this area and this is simply what I think is the case from what I have read in the law. The matter is rather complex and again if I am missing something I'd be grateful for more information or other interpretations.

Gary

cowdery
09-02-2007, 15:38
All Canadian whiskey is blended. The difference between American blended whiskey and Canadian blended whiskey is that Canadian blended whiskey, like blended scotch, is "all whiskey," whereas American blended whiskey does contain neutral spirits.

However, the base "whiskey" in Canadian whiskey (as with scotch) is distilled at a very high proof and aged in used barrels, usually used bourbon barrels, so while it's not technically "neutral," it is in fact nearly-neutral. What flavor it has comes mostly from the residual bourbon in the barrels.

The "flavoring" in Canadian whiskey is not GNS. Canadian whiskey contains no GNS. The flavoring in Canadian whiskey frequently is bourbon, but brandy and other spirits are also used.

Since that article, I have learned that the so-called pot still Forty Creek uses is more accurately a hybrid still, in that its pot is topped, not by an alembic, but by a rectification column.

John Hall, the master distiller at Forty Creek, makes a rye whiskey, a malt whiskey and a corn whiskey, which he ages separately. Then he selects barrels and makes a blend from that. The corn whiskey is the very high proof, nearly-neutral "base."

jcusey
09-02-2007, 16:11
All Canadian whiskey is blended.


Then why is there a distinction in the US labeling regulations between blended Canadian whisky and Canadian whisky without the modifier of "blended", and why is Forty Creek not labeled as blended?

Gillman
09-02-2007, 16:37
Well, I don't really know. Maybe the ones that say blended have whiskies in them from different distilleries and those that don't are made all at one distillery and the latter aren't considered blended (mixed). It depends (I think) on what mixed means. Maybe the term has been given a very specific meaning, possibly as a result of rulings or something.

Gary

cowdery
09-02-2007, 17:02
I don't think it means anything, but in fact every Canadian whiskey label I have handy says "blended" or "a blend" on it, except Forty Creek. I just sent John an email asking him why that's so and I'll let you know his answer.

I recall asking John if his product is a Canadian whiskey in the ordinary understanding of that term and he said it is.

In addition to what the regs say, the TTB has to approve every label of every distilled spirit sold in the USA, so Hall's label was obviously submitted and approved.

I could speculate further as to why his labels don't say "blended," but it would be just speculation. I'll wait and see what he says.

Gillman
09-03-2007, 07:50
Looking again at the rules, the export-in-bond rule I spoke of (which I believe in fact does not apply to the U.S. market for the reasons given before) states in fact that if more than "9.090% imported spirits" is in a whisky blend, then that fact must be stated on the export certificate and the product cannot (as described again by Canadian officials certifying what it is) be called Canadian whisky.

So, if domestic spirits (of any kind, say rum) are added, this is not subject to this rule. It is still Canadian whisky, even for export. But all flavouring that is spirits, for the domestic market, must be aged two years at a minimum.

Various perms and combs seem to come out of this that are interesting, but anyway I still think whatever is required for something to be sold in Canada as Canadian whisky is what is required for it to be sold in the U.S. as ditto, subject possibly to this blending indication where whiskies are mixed, and whatever mixing means.

Gary

mozilla
09-03-2007, 08:09
Was watching a show called "How It's Made" the other day. I think it was on PBS or Discovery. Canadian belnded whisky was one of the subjects. They took the host on a tour of a distillery and allowed him to blend his own whikey. So, they took a sample from a barrel and lined it up with other ingredients(about five or six). First the Master Blender poured in a generous amount of a very clear liquid and them proceeded to let the host blend in port, brandy and flavorings(non-alcoholic).
Very educational! I will not be buying too many bottles of Canadian whisky in the future. I really like that Ky. and Tn. don't mix in other flavors with thier whiskey.
Jeff Mo.

Gillman
09-03-2007, 09:09
Well, I didn't see that show (would like to).

Whisky aged three years in reused barrels is often very light in colour (as we see from some Scots malts aged even much longer than that).

But anyway there is no question that the base of Canadian whisky (or most of it, Forty Creek's apart it seems) is a high-proof albeit aged spirit and offers a relatively mild palate.

And, it is a blended product, essentially, although each company adopts its own approach, e.g. I understand Crown Royal hasn't to date used flavourings in the sense of wine or non-whisky additions. They just blend whiskies together (5 basic types according to a recent article in Malt Advocate).

However I just read at www.maltadvocate.com that Crown Royal will release another iteration soon (October). It is a special blend where some 50 whiskies are combined and given a Cognac finish. The product is put for a time in a French Limousin oak barrel. It will be called Royal Cask No. 16 (or a similar name, refer to the site for details). Looks interesting, there seems a trend (following developments with some Scots whiskies) to give North American whiskeys - a few - a winy touch in the finish as we see too e.g., from some of the Buffalo Trace experimental series (the ones to be released soon involve re-aging of straight bourbon for years in barrels that had held Zinfandel wine).

Canadian whisky is a product with its own characteristics and is an alternative to straight whiskey, not a substitute. Sometimes I don't want the full flavour of a bourbon, much as I like fine bourbon. Everyone has their own taste in such matters...

Gary

Hedmans Brorsa
09-03-2007, 10:02
Well, thanks for the clarifications, Chuck. For a short while I felt like everything that I had learned about Canadian whisky was turned on its head.






And, it is a blended product, essentially, although each company adopts its own approach, e.g. I understand Crown Royal hasn't to date used flavourings in the sense of wine or non-whisky additions. They just blend whiskies together (5 basic types according to a recent article in Malt Advocate).

Gary

This might help to explain why Crown Royal is one of the few Canadians consistenly available in Europe. I often lament the dearth of Canadian whisky over here. Could it be that all these "9.09%:ers" are prohibited from being sold in Europe, boiling down to the fact that they don´t meet the standards of what is considered whisky over here?

cowdery
09-03-2007, 10:49
To be called whiskey under EU rules, a spirit must be made from grain and aged in oak for at least three years. That means everything in the bottle, so if some Canadians contain rum or brandy, or anything other than aged whiskey, that would disqualify them.

However, I think most Canadians probably could be sold in Europe. They aren't because the demand simply isn't there. Virtually all of the whiskey produced in Canada is sold in Canada and the USA.

Gillman
09-03-2007, 11:38
I agree, Chuck. Usually you can find Canadian Club in most parts of Europe, and some other brands.

Personally (although this is a different question, for a different thread) I can't see what is wrong with adding small amounts of flavouring to whisky. To me, when you age malt whisky all its life in a sherry barrel (or rum barrel or Madeira barrel or whatever), you are "adding" sherry. I fail to see the difference between pouring it in the barrel near to bottling time, or some time before for marrying, or some time before that for re-casking for some years, or some time before that when the new whisky is put in the ex-sherry barrel... It is all of a piece to me. I'd rather judge on taste.

That said, I doubt very many internationally known Canadian whiskies choose to add sherry or port: it's just not the tradition. CR never did and I doubt CC does, for example. The practice probably was restricted to locally sold (Canadian market) less expensive brands - but that shouldn't define its potential by the same token.

Blending is not IMO an easy concept to pin down...

Gary

Hedmans Brorsa
09-04-2007, 13:55
You´re probably right and I´m wrong.

It would be interesting, though, to know how much of the Canadian whisky production that consists of "9.90%:ers" with non-whisky in them. And also on which markets these whiskies end up.

One thing that could speak for my theory (if only a little) is that we seem to have quite a lot of Canadian brands that appear to be made specifically for the Scandinavian market. Why do I believe this? Well, I haven´t bumped into them anywhere else and the labels are partly written in Swedish. Some of the brands are Seven Oaks, Lord Calvert and Royal Canadian.

In fact, the only consistently available brands in (Western) Europe are Black Velvet, Canadian Club and Crown Royal. Most distilleries, including well known ones such as Alberta and Canadian Mist, have nothing to offer at all on this side of the pond. (Well. obviously I do not know about Romania and their ilk, but...)

Gillman
09-04-2007, 14:16
Lennaert, you may be right in terms of permitted non-whisky additions (e.g., added sherry) that are not allowed in something called whisky in the EU.

This assumes that the EU definition does not borrow in turn the Canadian domestic definition, but I take it that is the case from what Chuck said.

Possibly brands which have added sherry, or added anything which is non-whisky, cannot therefore be sold there as whisky, this is possible.

I just don't know though the history of Canadian whisky marketing there or (of course) exactly which brands may use such additions. I would say though if you have at least 3 regularly available interntionally known Canadians, that's not so bad. How often have I seen in many places for bourbon, say, Maker's and Jack Daniels White and of course JD.

Some of the less well known brands you mention are known elsewhere by the way, certainly Lord Calvert is, Royal Canadian too, but not sure about the third one.

Gary

Hedmans Brorsa
09-04-2007, 16:10
As I mentioned before, I´m probably dead wrong on this, but let´s for the sake of keeping the argument alive, postulate a theory that the majority of the whisky produced in Canada use non-whisky additives (sherry, brandy, distilled orange juice etc).

In most parts of the world, where, I believe, whisky regulations are somewhat slack, they would get away with this. In the European Union they would not. This might serve to explain why the majority of Canadian distilleries do no have products over here (Valleyfield is another big gun invisible in Western Europe).

Why do I persist with this reasoning? Well, with all due respect I would say that Chuck´s claim about the market for Canadian whisky is almost correct. In my view, there is no demand for premium Canadian whisky. At least in Scandinavia the popularity of standard Canadian whisky would not be disputed by anyone in the know. Why then, are some distilleries not here?

Then again, I have no idea who makes Royal Canadian (the label with mostly Swedish text gives no clues). Maybe it is an Alberta product?

By the way, Gary, I highly suspect that the Lord Calvert you are referring to is a completely different beast from the one on the Scandinavian market. Our bottling is much younger and in a radically different looking bottle.

Gillman
09-04-2007, 17:11
I see what you saying but when you say "slack", is that not using a loaded term?

In the U.K., the definition of whisky does not require a maximum proof. You can make whisky too from any kind of cereals.

You can put whiskey in a "wet" sherry barrel and sell it as whisky three years later.

Is that slack?

I see the point you are making for the sake of the argument, but I feel the whole issue is moot (just my opinion).

Gary

barturtle
09-04-2007, 17:15
It took a bit of searching, but here are is the EU definition of whisk(e)y



European Parliament legislative resolution of 19 June 2007 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the definition, description, presentation and labelling of spirit drinks...

Annex II...

2. Whisky or Whiskey
(a) Whisky or whiskey is a spirit drink produced exclusively by :
1) .…. distillation of a mash made from malted cereals with or without whole grains of other cereals, which has been
i) saccharified by the diastase of the malt contained therein, with or without other natural enzymes,
ii) fermented by the action of yeast,
( 2 ) .…. one or more distillations at less than 94,8% vol., so that the distillate has an aroma and taste derived from the raw materials used,
( 3 ) .…. maturation of the final distillate for at least three years in wooden casks not exceeding 700 litres capacity. The final distillate, to which only water and plain caramel (for colouring) may be added, retains its colour, aroma and taste derived from the production process referred to in points (1), (2) and (3) .
(b) The minimum alcoholic strength by volume of whisky or whiskey shall be 40%.
(c) No addition of alcohol as defined in Annex I(5), diluted or not, shall take place.
(d) Whisky or whiskey shall not be sweetened or flavoured, nor contain any additives other than plain caramel used for colouringIn my search I also ran across the fact that in 2003 the EC decided to recognize Rye Whisky as a distinctive product of Canada (note the spelling there...very important in this case...USA Ryes must be spelled whiskEy to comply)

Gillman
09-04-2007, 17:56
Timothy, I am not sure, this seems to be a resolution of the Parliament for a joint proposal with the European Council for legislation by way ultimately of a resolution of the European Council - not necessarily current legislation that is.

Even if it does state the law, and even that is if a maximum proof exists for whisky in the EU (maybe that maximum existed in the previous, national UK law too, I am not 100% sure) the percentage stated is just under 190 proof, and clearly whisky so distilled will be rather neutral in taste - not 100% neutral but probably very close.

I note caramel can be added, so this is an "additive" (which some observers feel can affect flavour, e.g. Jim Murray I believe).

I believe my basic point is still good, i.e., maybe some Canadian whiskies are currently excluded because they contain some flavouring other than caramel, but I find the distinctions without a difference, at bottom..

Gary

barturtle
09-04-2007, 18:26
Yes this is current adopted EU law. I couldn't find the text of the earlier Canadian-EU agreement. However, while there may be a separate ruling for imported goods and what they can be made of, until that turns up this is the best I can come up with for current EU regs applicable.

I too agree that anything distilled to nearly 190 proof will have little flavor resembling whisky, but then blended Scotch does use a grain component. Aged though it may be, it's still intended to be basically neutral. They wouildn't want to rule Johnny Walker and friends to be non-conforming.

I also agree that using flavored barrels is very much akin to adding spirits to achieve a given flavor profile. But there is nothing worse than adding caramel for color...the former is the blenders art, the latter are the marketers lies.

Gillman
09-04-2007, 18:44
Well, I agree with you on caramel, I think it is unneccesary and can (Jim Murray makes this point) "blunt" flavour. Still, it is a longstanding practice, and I think we have to accept the wider market will always insist on colour consistency.

But anyway my broader point is that it is best to judge the final product by taste alone - I know Hedmans may not even disagree and this is separate from what he was suggesting, but this is my feeling in the end when you compare what seem to be the laws in the various countries.

Actually when you look at it, of the countries we have discussed, only the U.S. and France in the EU have maximum distilling-out proofs for bourbon (and rye) and Cognac respectively that really ensure traditional character. The other countries (in the EU anyway) seem to have abandoned this for whisky.

Malt whisky is traditional only because the producers still choose to make it in a traditional way.

Gary

barturtle
09-04-2007, 19:13
Found the text of the Canadian EU agreement...109 pages of which maybe 20 say something useful...the rest are filled with protected names of wines and spirits. There seems to be no loophole for whiskys containing flavoring agents.

I too believe that the judgment should be in the flavor. This does require the provision of separate categories in the laws. The original Bottled in Bond Act did not prevent rectifiers from making compound spirits, it did however prevent them from passing them off as spirits that were more costly to produce. Of course, having laws that are more standardized world-wide is helpful too.

cowdery
09-04-2007, 19:48
To be sold in the EU as whiskey, a product has to contain 100 percent whiskey according to the EU definition, which means grain origin and aging for at least three years, mostlsignificantly. Contrary to what has been said here, I believe most Canadian whiskey meets this requirement, whereas most American Blended Whiskey does not. However, a Canadian whiskey producer who did not meet the requirement could simply do what Seagram's and now Diageo does with Seagram's Seven Crown, which is reformulate it as 100 percent whiskey for the European market.

I have heard a few times from people in the know, but who might also be spinning me, that Canadian whiskey must, by law, be distilled with such a low congeneric content that the only way they can get any flavor into it is to blend in something that has some flavor, which usually is bourbon.

The fact that Canadian producers age their nearly-neutral base whiskey, like the Scots do and unlike Americans, suggests to me that most producers wouldn't choose to flavor their whiskey with anything but whiskey. Point being that they tend to look at whiskey the same way the Scots do, and cite their closer connection to Great Britain (closer than us) for why they make their whiskey the way they do, which differs from the Scottish practice only in that they don't also market their "singles."

Considering that their biggest market is the USA, flavoring their whiskey with our whiskey makes a lot of sense.

If you don't think a less that 9.09 percent share of bourbon would have much affect on the flavor, try it yourself. Add one part Stagg to ten parts of any Canadian and tell me you can't taste the difference. I'm sure Gary won't hesitate to try it.

As for whether or not it's okay to flavor straight whiskey, it's permitted, so long as you label it flavored whiskey, which is a classification in the "Standards of Identity."

barturtle
09-04-2007, 20:21
Damn now this is starting to sink in...wish I would have picked up some of those EU Canadians when I was there last summer...Would be fun to try side by side with their USA counterparts.

Gillman
09-04-2007, 20:45
I agree with all Chuck has said except in Canadian law as I read it there is no distillation proof requirement. The definition states simply that it must be "mashed, distilled and aged in Canada" and be (evidently this is final bottling proof) not less than 40% ABV.

Flavouring Canadian with additional bourbon is a good idea: I do it all the time. Try it with straight rye and you get something even more "Canadian".

Gary

Gillman
09-04-2007, 20:48
Here is part of the definition of Canadian whisky (as I understand it).

The rest is in the blending rules, which I discussed earlier.


B.02.020. [S]. (1) Canadian Whisky, Canadian Rye Whisky or Rye Whisky

(a) shall

(i) be a potable alcoholic distillate, or a mixture of potable alcoholic distillates, 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,

(ii) be aged in small wood for not less than three years,

(iii) possess the aroma, taste and character generally attributed to Canadian whisky,

(iv) be manufactured in accordance with the requirements of the Excise Act and the regulations made thereunder,

(v) be mashed, distilled and aged in Canada, and

(vi) contain not less than 40 per cent alcohol by volume; and

(b) may contain caramel and flavouring.

(2) Subject to subsection (3), no person shall make any claim with respect to the age of Canadian whisky, other than for the period during which the whisky has been held in small wood.

(3) Where Canadian whisky has been aged in small wood for a period of at least three years, any period not exceeding six months during which that whisky was held in other containers may be claimed as age.

SOR/93-145, s. 10; SOR/2000-51, s. 1.

Powertrip
09-04-2007, 21:26
Forty Creek is the only Canadian whisky that I have ever seen that does not have the word "blended" on the label.

There isn't many, but the Century Reserve line was unblended....I think the limited edition Corby releases might not have been blended either....

Hedmans Brorsa
09-05-2007, 04:57
I see what you saying but when you say "slack", is that not using a loaded term?


Gary

I did not mean to offend anyone, Gary. Please note that the language barrier possibly rears it ugly head here. To me, the word 'slack' does not constitute a gross insult but maybe it does? The subtleties of language are not to be underestimated.

Anyway, my only interest in this discussion is to find out why Canadian whisky is so underrepresented in Europe. I would love to try stuff from Alberta, Valleyfield and Highwood but I never see their stuff anywhere.

Gillman
09-05-2007, 08:33
Hedmans please be assured I didn't take it that way at all, but was simply pointing out a personal feeling I have that a definition of whisky which excludes apparently additions such as sherry wine may on further consideration not be all that different from one which allows it. I fully appreciate your query whether perhaps the EU law does exclude some of our products for this reason and this may be why the choice there is narrow. My only interest is to state at the same time that this does not (in my view) affect the underlying quality determination.

Gary

cowdery
09-05-2007, 18:47
I don't think there is any mystery to why Canadian whiskey is not more available in Europe. There simply is too little demand for it. Similarly, there isn't much akavit sold in North America.

BourbonJoe
09-05-2007, 22:45
You're right Chuck. I once ran all over St. Moritz Switzerland looking for a bottle of CC with which to make Manhattans. I finally found one (just one) but it took quite a while.
Joe :usflag:

Hedmans Brorsa
09-06-2007, 03:00
I don't think there is any mystery to why Canadian whiskey is not more available in Europe. There simply is too little demand for it. Similarly, there isn't much akavit sold in North America.

Maybe Scandinavia is an exception to the rule, then? Lord Calvert (not to be confused with the North American version) is the biggest selling whisky in Sweden and we have many other brands that are very popular.

I suspect that the trends towards premium whisky is slowly weeding out the Canadians,though. Nowadays, at my local liquor store, it is mostly older men who opt for the cheaper Canadian (and Scotch) blends.