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whiskeyme
04-22-2008, 14:09
Is Canadian Whiskey colored?

OscarV
04-22-2008, 14:12
I think some are.
But who drinks them?

mozilla
04-22-2008, 18:13
Canadian whiskey can have additives and coloring of many sorts and usually do....

Megawatt
04-23-2008, 19:05
Cognac and Scotch are also sometimes coloured, from what I understand.

boss302
04-23-2008, 22:32
Cognac and Scotch are also sometimes coloured, from what I understand.

Often, actually-- on both counts. Most distillers claim that the caramel coloring doesn't distort the character of the spirit. Nevertheless, I find the "genuine" character of un-colored whiskies a little more charming. Bruichladdich and Knockando are two such examples.

boss302
04-23-2008, 22:36
I think some are.
But who drinks them?

Old people, mostly. And, of course, people who follow popular advertising. A certain whisky in a fancy bottle in a purple velvet bag comes to mind (hence its unnecessary $15 markup...)

If there is any ONE thing I have learned in my past few years of learning whisk(e)y, it is that more expensive spirits aren't necessarily better.

LeoDLion
04-24-2008, 05:41
Its said that the whisky regulation in Canada is lax and additives like caramel, water, sherry, bourbon, distilled orange juice, and who knows what else are used.

Megawatt
04-24-2008, 06:56
Its said that the whisky regulation in Canada is lax and additives like caramel, water, sherry, bourbon, distilled orange juice, and who knows what else are used.

But how many distillers really use such additives? Would they not alter the flavour in a way that is noticeable, even undesireable? They would have to be used in miniscule quantities, I would think, or the whisky would taste "off".

cowdery
04-24-2008, 06:56
The most interesting ingredient often added to Canadian whiskey? Bourbon whiskey.

The caramel coloring thing is interesting. Producers who use it will argue up and down that it is purely cosmetic and has no effect on taste. See what happens when you ask them to provide a sample of this magical, flavorless caramel.

No coloring of any kind may be added to American straight whiskey.

LeoDLion
04-24-2008, 07:21
But how many distillers really use such additives? Would they not alter the flavour in a way that is noticeable, even undesireable? They would have to be used in miniscule quantities, I would think, or the whisky would taste "off".
In the Malt-MM archives, it was mentioned that the additives, mostly sherry and bourbon, has a limit of 9%.

Which was also discussed in this very same forum
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2955

But whatever and how much is added is a trade secret?

Megawatt
04-24-2008, 09:32
I found an article by someone who visited the Canadian Mist distillery, which is actually American-owned from what I understand. The writer was invited to blend his/her own whisky using the same ingredients as the distillery would:


Blending, the final stage for Canadian whisky, is a craft, an artform that requires taste, knowledge and uniformity. Unlike mixing cocktails, things can go bad really fast and mistakes are often beyond repair. For the master blender it is not only a factor of creating a good blend (http://cocktails.about.com/od/cocktailspeak/g/blnd_spk.htm), but to create that same successful spirit day after day, that is where the real craft comes in. Canadian Mist is a blended whisky of rye, corn and malt, it seems like that would be a simple mix, but it is far from it, as our blending session demonstrated. Canadian Food and Drug Regulations are very particular about what characteristics and elements whisky must have to be labeled Canadian whisky. Obviously it must be produced inside the Canadian borders, but beyond that all whiskies must be aged in small wood for at least three years and be at least 40% alcohol/volume, or 80 proof. As far as blending is concerned, the whisky can only contain 9.09% flavoring ingredients, of which only a select few may be used.


The intimate conference room at the distillery was transformed into a grouping of miniature chemistry labs, complete with beakers, flasks and various liquids. Our challenge was to use the ingredients lined up in front of us to create a blended whisky while abiding by the Canadian whisky regulations. A Canadian base whisky, Canadian rye whisky and wheat whisky along with an imported rye whisky, brandy, sherry and port were our options and, other than water, all that we had to work with. I will put it forth and say, "I am no blender." In fact my concoctions were complete and total disasters that easily could have been used to fuel a small jet. As the pros do, the blends are made at cask strength, highly intoxicating and virtually undrinkable, this out-of-the-barrel whisky is rough and is diluted with the pure Georgian Bay water before it's considered drinkable. However, as my luck would have it, even the softer version of my blend was gruesome and after the session I gained a renewed appreciation for the blender's task.

fredthecat
05-23-2008, 10:34
unfortunately (i live in canada...) i don't trust too many canadian whiskies in terms of quality of contents. i'm sure this is mentioned in other threads but there are some interesting sounding canadian distilleries, like glen breton in nova scotia which produces a scotch like whiskey i hear, but its a little too expensive for me to go out on a limb and try..

i like alberta premium though for certain qualities and a very affordable price

shoshani
05-23-2008, 11:37
The caramel coloring thing is interesting. Producers who use it will argue up and down that it is purely cosmetic and has no effect on taste. See what happens when you ask them to provide a sample of this magical, flavorless caramel.

I once worked in a commercial bakery where caramel coloring was used in the production of pumpernickel - common practice in the US. Magical flavorless caramel is quite pungent and would remind one of unsweetened molasses. I expected it to be sweet, but found it oddly bitter.

drunkenjayhawk
05-24-2008, 02:08
I have often read that scotch uses coloring, but the nes that do use it have to state so (usually on the label backing so you'd have to read it thru the bottle). But I only have around 40 bottles of scotch and haven't seen any of that on mine. I think the reason some scotch lacks in color may be the fact the barrels they use in some cases have been used so many times its just tired old wood that imparts far less flavoring and coloring than first fill oak in the American bourbons. That and I have read that there are not as many sherry barrels being imported to Scotland and as a result distillers are having to resort to using old barrels smeared with a sherry like flavoring paste. I wonder which are doing that, if any?

shoshani
05-25-2008, 22:17
...I have read that there are not as many sherry barrels being imported to Scotland and as a result distillers are having to resort to using old barrels smeared with a sherry like flavoring paste. I wonder which are doing that, if any?

Once upon a time, sherry was so popular in England that the butts, hogsheads, and casks were imported filled with sherry, and it was bottled in England. When the casks were empty, they were 'recycled', as it were, by the distillers of Scotch whisky.

Today all sherry is bottled in Spain; those Scotch distilleries that have sherry cask aging as part of their regime either import the empty casks whole (I believe Macallan does this, although I can't swear to it), or import them in dismantled form and have their coopers reassemble them. Those who import whole casks do so in the belief that the remnants of sherry will not have had a chance to evaporate the way they could on individual staves.

There was a time when some Scotch blenders and distillers did smear their barrels with a grape paste, to enhance the color and/or flavor. No one does this anymore; EU regulations that went into effect about a decade (or so) ago forbid it.

Powertrip
06-01-2008, 20:56
But who drinks them?

People who have an appreciation for all whisky, and not just what they are told to drink by society.

Ever tried an unblended Canadian whisky? Alberta Premium or Alberta Springs 25 year old? How about Century Distillers 13, 15, or 21 year old's?

Well I'd guess you haven't, but perhaps you should.

Powertrip

mozilla
06-02-2008, 05:40
People who have an appreciation for all whisky, and not just what they are told to drink by society.

Ever tried an unblended Canadian whisky? Alberta Premium or Alberta Springs 25 year old? How about Century Distillers 13, 15, or 21 year old's?

Well I'd guess you haven't, but perhaps you should.

Powertrip

Here in Texas we don't see many Canadian whiskies that are not full of vodka and other ingredients. I have tried CC 12 and 15 as well as some other labels and have not been impressed. If I were really interested in these blended whiskies....I would just make them myself out of bourbon and vodka.

I hope that does not offend Canadians. But, why should whisky lovers have to swallow so much vodka just to get their whisky? Why does Canadian whisky feel the need to adulterate its' product with so many non-whisky flavor inhancers? Is the quality bad or are they just bored and need something to experiment with?

I will not be buying any blended whiskies in the near or far future. Sorry, blenders!

Megawatt
06-02-2008, 09:49
You make many assumptions. Just because Canadian law allows for 9% or whatever to be added to a whisky, who is to say that most distilleries do so? If it is so easy to make a good blended whisky out of just bourbon and vodka, maybe you should go into business. Surely you could rule the market in Canada, since our spirits are so inferior...

CorvallisCracker
06-02-2008, 10:08
...Alberta Springs 25 year old?

AS 25yo is on my list of bottles to buy if I ever see any for sale.

Canadians I like are CC 15, and Forty Creek "Barrel Select" and "Three Grain". The Forty Creek single barrel is another I'd buy if I ever encounter it.

mozilla
06-02-2008, 10:33
You make many assumptions. Just because Canadian law allows for 9% or whatever to be added to a whisky, who is to say that most distilleries do so? If it is so easy to make a good blended whisky out of just bourbon and vodka, maybe you should go into business. Surely you could rule the market in Canada, since our spirits are so inferior...

I was referring to the amount of GNS with in every bottle....which seems to dominate the flavor profile. The other ingredients are not on the top of my list either....especially coloring. I just really don't like vodka/gns. That is pretty much the big reason I don't like blended whiskies, including American.

I appreciate your faith in my blending abilities, but I think I'll let the fine folks in Kentucky take care of my whisky making.

cowdery
06-02-2008, 11:29
People who have an appreciation for all whisky, and not just what they are told to drink by society.

Ever tried an unblended Canadian whisky? Alberta Premium or Alberta Springs 25 year old? How about Century Distillers 13, 15, or 21 year old's?

Well I'd guess you haven't, but perhaps you should.

Powertrip

There's no reason to be snarky about it. For one thing, if there is such a thing as a Canadian "straight," they aren't sold in the USA. But, I'm not so sure there is such a thing, even in Canada. The whiskeys produced at Alberta Springs, for example, are 100 percent rye but they are not straights. I've never heard of Century Distillers and if their products are sold in the USA, they are not widely available.

Canadian blended whiskey is made in very much the same way as blended scotch whiskey, but there is no Canadian equivalent to Scottish single malts.

Mozilla's reference to GNS is incorrect. There is no GNS in Canadian whiskey. It is 100 percent whiskey, as in Scotland, but as in Scotland the blending whiskey is distilled at a proof that makes it almost GNS. Almost, but not quite. It is, by rule, whiskey.

The USA is different. American blends do contain neutral spirits. Sometimes those neutral spirits spend a few months in used barrels, but they're still neutral spirits.

When an American blend such as Seagram's 7 Crown is sold in Europe it has to be reformulated using whiskey, as defined by the EU, instead of GNS. All Canadian whiskeys meet the EU requirements without reformulation.

mozilla
06-02-2008, 11:42
Mozilla's reference to GNS is incorrect. There is no GNS in Canadian whiskey. It is 100 percent whiskey, as in Scotland, but as in Scotland the blending whiskey is distilled at a proof that makes it almost GNS. Almost, but not quite. It is, by rule, whiskey.

Well, how do you like that....:rolleyes:

So what is this type of whisky called?

Do they use the same mashbills as regular whiskies?

barturtle
06-02-2008, 11:46
I'm not entirely sure about the Canadian rules...(anybody got a link to them?)...but in the US anything distilled to less than 190 proof is still whiskey, 190 or above is GNS.

CorvallisCracker
06-02-2008, 14:37
So what is this type of whisky called?

"grain whisk(e)y"


Do they use the same mashbills as regular whiskies?

It doesn't much matter, when it's distilled at 170-185 proof. Generally it's whatever grain was cheapest that week.

It's used as a base in blended Scotch, Irish and Canadian.

Here in the US, back in 1972, a number of companies attempted to market 4yo grain whiskey as "light whiskey". The effort failed, because no one was interested in something that couldn't seem to decide if it wanted to be vodka or a lightweight Canadian blend (e.g. Canadian Mist).

Seagrams had produced vast quantities of it, and having nothing better to do with it used it as a base for both Seagrams Seven and Calvert Extra, so for about twenty years, these two blends were actually 100% whiskey. Stocks of the stuff were finally depleted in the mid nineties at which point they reverted to a GNS base.

The Scots occasionally put grain whisky into old bourbon barrels and leave it there for decades. The result tastes remarkably similar to bourbon. A local liquor store recently got in some 43yo Lonach single grain. They want $104 for it, which is ridiculous.

cowdery
06-02-2008, 15:04
In Canada, since they make very little malt whiskey, they don't make the distinction between malt and grain the way the Scots do. They just call it whiskey and call the flavorful low proof distillate used to give it flavor "flavoring whiskey."

I'm not exactly sure what the proof is. I know it is well above the 160-proof ceiling for an American straight, but I'm not sure if it's all the way up to 189. Whatever it is, it is very high and very close to neutral, just like Scottish grain whiskey. Canadian whiskey can also be flavored with other spirits, including imported spirits, and it frequently contains bourbon. It can also contain brandy.

CorvallisCracker
06-02-2008, 15:14
Here in the US, back in 1972, a number of companies attempted to market 4yo grain whiskey as "light whiskey". The effort failed, because no one was interested in something that couldn't seem to decide if it wanted to be vodka or a lightweight Canadian blend (e.g. Canadian Mist).

Seagrams had produced vast quantities of it, and having nothing better to do with it used it as a base for both Seagrams Seven and Calvert Extra, so for about twenty years, these two blends were actually 100% whiskey. Stocks of the stuff were finally depleted in the mid nineties at which point they reverted to a GNS base.

Here (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,910362,00.html) is an archived Time magazine article from 1972. The discussion at the end (what they would do with the 200,000,000 gallons already produced if it flopped) describes what actually ended up happening.

Megawatt
06-02-2008, 16:15
Using Alberta Premium as an example, their flavouring whisky is single-distilled (I forget the proof), and the base whisky is distilled to 180 proof, if I recall correctly.

mozilla
06-02-2008, 16:20
Using Alberta Premium as an example, their flavouring whisky is single-distilled (I forget the proof), and the base whisky is distilled to 180 proof, if I recall correctly.

Are there stright whiskies available in Canada? Something a kin to a Bottled in Bond, maybe?

Gillman
06-02-2008, 16:39
No, but there used to be, e.g., the Pedigree line of Seagram in the late 40's-early 50's. Dusty bottle hunters, there's one to find, Seagram made both bourbon and rye, 100 proof bonded.

Gary

barturtle
06-02-2008, 18:30
The Scots occasionally put grain whisky into old bourbon barrels and leave it there for decades. The result tastes remarkably similar to bourbon. A local liquor store recently got in some 43yo Lonach single grain. They want $104 for it, which is ridiculous.

I guess it should be noted that the "grain whisky" used in blended scotches has to be aged just like the malt component...so it there is a 12yo age statement on you bottle of blended, every bit of it has been in a barrel for at least that long...so just as the Malt guys are finding all these lost old barrels of scotch, the grain guys can find lost old barrels of whisky too.

Megawatt
06-03-2008, 09:12
I guess it should be noted that the "grain whisky" used in blended scotches has to be aged just like the malt component...so it there is a 12yo age statement on you bottle of blended, every bit of it has been in a barrel for at least that long...so just as the Malt guys are finding all these lost old barrels of scotch, the grain guys can find lost old barrels of whisky too.

It is the same way in Canada.