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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

    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>

  7. #7
    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

  8. #8

    Re: Canadian whisk(e)y

    Jim Murray is a whiskey expert, has written many books. He says Alberta Distillery is the only Canadian distillery that does use 100% rye mash in both the high proof "grain spirits" and in the "flavoring" whiskey. I tried the Alberta Premium in hopes of getting a real "rye kick" but was disappointed to find just another bland Canadian whiskey.

    I think you are missing the point of Canadian whiskey production. The "high proof" stuff is just alcohol to be used in blending whiskey. It is sometimes called "grain alcohol". It doesn't matter much what grain is used because it has almost no taste. It is much like vodka. The same stuff is used by Irish whiskey producers to produce blended Irish whiskey or by the Scotts to produce blended scotch. In all cases, the taste of the whiskey is determined by how much of the "flavoring" whiskey is used. Canadian whiskey producers, for what ever reason, blend a bland tasting whiskey.

    Regards, jimbo

    <font color="blue"> 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. </font>

  9. #9
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Canadian whisk(e)y

    Hi again, well, I would say the taste of Canadian whisky is a function of a number of things:

    (i) the taste of the high-proof distillate (it is not quite as bland as vodka because lower in proof and is entitled to the descriptor whisky in Canada, which vodka, say, is not);

    (ii) the age of those whiskies;

    (iii) the types of barrels used to age it (recall, grain whisky in Scotland and Ireland too is aged at least to the statement of the label, and provides a taste contribution);

    (iv) the blending of all of the above, a skill of course particular to each maker, who will have its "house" flavour; and

    (v) the flavouring whiskeys where used. I am not sure about whisky made in Alberta because I once read an article on Alberta whisky production that seemed not to mention the distillation of lower proof flavouring whisky to blend in. I have read the Murray book you mention (he is an expert on whisky, to be sure) but I am not sure if he visited all the distilleries he mentions or was otherwise told specifically by Alberta Distillers that they use these flavouring whiskies. If they do, that's great, and I commend them for sticking to (Canadian) tradition. But based on other things I have read (send me a private e-mail and I'll give more explanation), I am not 100% sure. If Murray is categorical that Alberta Distillers told him that they make and use low proof straight-style flavouring whisky, I'd take him at his word, certainly.

    Gary

  10. #10
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    Re: Canadian whisk(e)y

    This accounts for the bland, weak taste of most Canadians, including Crown.
    I've discovered one good use for Crown Royal. Sample it prior to drinking any of those bourbons that you may consider to be bland. In my case, this would be Evan Williams '93 vintage.

    The Crown Royal is so incredibly weak and blah that it makes those less flavorful bourbons come alive!

    I don't know what percentage of Grain Neutral Spirits is allowed without demarcation on the bottle
    Michael Jackson has stated that usually 3 to 5 (definitely no more than 10) percent straight rye is normally used in Canadian whisky. That allows for an overwhelming percentage of neutral grain spirits. Such a ratio is almost hard to believe.

    -Troy

 

 

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