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  1. #1
    Connoisseur
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    Canadian whisk(e)y

    I've had Crown Royal and thought it was disgustingly sweet. Is Crown Royal representative of Canadian whiskies, or have I inadvertantly done my sampling on the "Jack Daniels" of the group!?

    Is there a better widely-available unobscure Canadian I should try to give it a fair shake!?

  2. #2
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    Re: Canadian whisk(e)y

    Tangle Ridge, Gooderham and Worts, Lot 40, Pikes Creek, Forty creek three grain, Forty Creek Barrel Select.

  3. #3
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    Re: Canadian whisk(e)y

    Tangle Ridge, Gooderham and Worts, Lot 40, Pikes Creek, Forty creek three grain, Forty Creek Barrel Select.
    Thanks for the suggestions. I checked the VA ABC website and the only one of those available is Tangle Ridge. Going back to my original question though, is this going to be just a tweaked version of Crown Royal, or is it dramatically different?

  4. #4
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    Re: Canadian whisk(e)y

    Most Canadian whiskies (Blends) are made by distilling grains to 95.5% EtOH, which is as high as distillation will take you without the addition of Organic Acids, which will render the product unconsumable. Then, Rye distillate, or other grain distillate, is added in a certain percentage. This accounts for the bland, weak taste of most Canadians, including Crown. I don't know what percentage of Grain Neutral Spirits is allowed without demarcation on the bottle, but if you pick up McCormick Blended Whiskey, it says 70% Grain Neutral Spirits, 30% straight whiskies. I believe that 20 or 30% is allowed without having to say so on the bottle.

    However, Tangle Ridge is 100% rye distillate aged for 10 years in both sherry and bourbon casks. Vastly different.

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Canadian whisk(e)y

    Tangle Ridge is distilled from an all-rye mash but I would be surprised if it is distilled at under 180 proof, which would make the rye flavour rather ... attenuated. That is why - I think - they add all that wine and vanilla flavouring, to give it body and flavour. The only Canadian whisky I know distilled like a U.S. straight whiskey is Lot 40 which has a very big Gothic taste (perfumed, pinesol-like) I find hard to come to terms with. I believe it is a true pot still product and while the U.S. straights are all today from continuous distillation, the proof delivered from the stills is likely similar in either case. Lot 40 may well, I do not know, approach what real rye was like in the old days. I do think though it would benefit from long aging in heavy-charred casks, yet my fellow Canadians generally abjure that route for aging whisky, so we are left with a kind of compromise..

    Gary

  6. #6
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    Re: Canadian whisk(e)y

    Century Reserve 13yo single cask is readily available here in Las Vegas. It would also be very different from Crown.

    Although I think Crown Royal is a good (if you like sweet) Canadian whisky, I think that Crown Royal Special Reserve is more elegant and a bit less sweet. Crown Royal Limited Edition (Canada only?) is even better. It seems to be even older and the wood better balances the sweetness.

    Canadian Club Classic 12yo is also very good in the typical Canadian style.

  7. #7
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    Re: Canadian whisk(e)y

    Gillman, I am pretty sure that Tangle has no additives, unlike most of the Canadians out there. I am not positive, if you have a source for that info, I would love to know it.

  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Canadian whisk(e)y

    The label and leaflet that come with the bottle are a little vague. A Wisconsin wine store's website states the whisky is aged for ten years and is, "dumped and then blended with a hint of sherry and a touch of vanilla" and recasked to marry the flavours. I read this, and the original bottle leaflet, as meaning that some sherry and vanilla were added. To me the bottle has a bouquet that shows both these influences. However it is possible the references to sherry and vanilla were intended to refer to aging in sherry and bourbon casks at some point (cask-finishing). Either way, this is a kind of flavoured whisky in my view. I feel that without such additional flavours likely the whisky would taste mildly oaky but not very rye grain-like. The other aged Alberta Distillers products taste like that. I am not saying the rye grain element is not detectable, but it is a restrained presence compared to U.S. straight rye or Lot 40 (which by the way I have not seen lately on the LCBO shelves in Ontario). I like Tangle Ridge, I like to blend it in the glass with another Canadian rye because I find the flavour quite pungent, especially of the vanilla flavour. The ten year old Alberta Springs rye is perfect to mingle with this whisky - kind of a vatting I like to make..

    Gary

  9. #9

    Re: Canadian whisk(e)y

    Well, Tangle Ridge is distilled by Alberta Distillers. Other names in their line include Carrington, Alberta Premium and Alberta Springs. All are made from 100% rye. Jim Murray thinks Alberta Premium is the best of the line. Hw calls Tangle Ridge "a sop to the chattering masses."

    Canadian whiskey is typically made from high proof distillate from a corn mash and low proof flavoring whiskey made from rye mash. Alberta Distillers uses a rye mash for both blending components. The bland flavor of Canadian whiskey is due more to the distillers preference. Of course they may be influenced by the desire to include as much cheap, no flavor, high proof distillate as possible.

    <font color="blue">Tangle Ridge is distilled from an all-rye mash but I would be surprised if it is distilled at under 180 proof, which would make the rye flavour rather ... attenuated. That is why - I think - they add all that wine and vanilla flavouring, to give it body and flavour. <font color="blue"> </font>

  10. #10
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Canadian whisk(e)y

    Well, all I am saying is, despite the all-rye mashes, the flavour of these products is quite mild as compared to U.S. straight rye. When you distill out at 90% abv. or higher the impact (flavour) of the grain used in the mashing becomes less important. It has some flavour impact (more than in vodka manufacture where rectification reaches around 95%), but not all that much in my view in Canadian whisky production. I know straight whiskey-style "flavouring whiskies" are used to flavour some high-proof Canadian whiskies. I am not sure though that Alberta Distillers uses such flavoring whiskies - they may, but I am not sure. Allied Domecq (making Canadian Club and many others) and the Seagram whiskies incorporate such flavouring whiskies, but I am not sure about whisky distilled in Alberta and B.C. Clearly, the Canadian style was to make a lighter product that, regardless of the grains used to mash, would not obtrude in taste. The old-type rye whiskies continued to be made in-house, ie for blending (in relatively small amounts by the way). They were even sold as specialties, ie. unblended with any high-proof spirits, into the 1950's, but today that tradition is lost. There was a small revival when Allied Domecq sold Lot 40 through the LCBO in the last few years. I have not seen it lately, though. In truth, Lot 40 is a drink I think few people can come to terms with, so big is it in flavour, and so unique. Maybe had charred cask aging been used, Lot 40 would have found a larger audience than I think it did. Anyway, its release was a welcome return to tradition and one hopes Allied Domecq and Seagram (Pernod Ricard) will do more of the same in the future..

    Gary

 

 

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