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  1. #1
    Taster
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    Canadian Whisky question

    From what I've read, the Canadian government allows the addition of up to exactly 9.09% coloring and flavoring to its Whisky without the producers having to state what exactly those additives are: natural or artificial flavoring agents, other spirits etc. This puts me off from trying any more of the stuff than I already have- Crown Royal, CC, the usual suspects from back when I didn't really know anything about what whisk(e)y really is. Does anyone know of a decent Canadian Whisky that states it doesn't add anything- especially flavoring to the bottle? Since I enjoy an occasional Scotch I guess I've gotten used to the idea of putting up with some caramel coloring, but its the flavoring additives that break the deal.

  2. #2
    Enthusiast
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    Re: Canadian Whisky question

    Quote Originally Posted by Merrymash Monk View Post
    Does anyone know of a decent Canadian Whisky that states it doesn't add anything- especially flavoring to the bottle?
    The short answer is NO.
    AFAIK there is no Canadian whisky on the market that states: no added colour, no additives, non-chillfiltered, except some that are bottled by American NDPs.

    The longer answer is that there are many that do not add anything (except perhaps colouring) - especially those sold in Canada. The main reason up to 1/11 other wine/spirits is added to the whisky has to do with American taxes. Similar to Bourbon that is known to ship different bottles to Europe than those sold in the USA, some Canadian whisky sold in the USA (contains additives) is different than the "same" label sold in Canada (no additives)

    Examples that probably do not contain additives:
    Wiser's Legacy, 18yo, and Red Letter
    Lot no 40
    Most - if not all - Forty Creek products
    Alberta Premium (note "Dark Horse" DOES contain ~0.5% added sherry)

    Recently the Wiser's Red Letter began to state "non-chillfiltered" on the label (45% ABV) - the only one on the market to say so.
    "Old guys tend to say it like it is." squire

  3. #3
    Guru
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    Re: Canadian Whisky question

    I think it harks back to the Scottish tradition of aging whisky in Sherry barrels as the Canadian blending houses take their model from Scotland generally. Of course adding wine or other extracts to the whisky is not the same result as aging in a wine barrel and can in fact be heavy handed. My rule for Canadians is if it tastes sweet I don't buy it again.

    The law does not require 9.09 % additives, just allows up to that amount. Some use less, some a lot less, some use none at all. I've found the more expensive the brand the fewer, if any, additives.

    The Canadian style is to blend out all the rough edges which produces a final product that some call smooth and others call bland. They are certainly not as robust as their American cousins but then they're not intended to be.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Canadian Whisky question

    I don't really see what is wrong with adding sherry to Canadian whisky - where it is added and not all brands use it or any addition, as was mentioned, except harmless colouring probably.

    IIRC, Michael Jackson in 1987 wrote that Crown Royal - Seagram in general for Canadian whisky - does not use sherry or other non-whisky additions.

    The greatest single malts are aged in sherry barrels which implies a leaching of some sherry into the spirit. Isn't that adding? So if they can do it, why not distillers elsewhere?

    Gary

  5. #5
    Taster
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    Re: Canadian Whisky question

    Quote Originally Posted by portwood View Post
    Most - if not all - Forty Creek products
    Forty Creek is the best Canadian Whisky I've had. I have some Crown Royal and Forty Creek beats it hands down. Like the price, too.

  6. #6
    Advanced Taster
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    Re: Canadian Whisky question

    The best book (okay really the only book) on the subject is Canadian Whisky: The Portable Expert by Davin De Kergommeaux. Very good read with lots of information. Also Still Waters Distillery makes a single malt for which they loudly proclaim non-chill filtering and no color added. Check out https://www.stillwatersdistillery.com/singlemalt.php for additional info. Give Wiser's Legacy, Forty Creek and Lot 40 Copper Pot a try. Also some of the best whiskies in Canada never make it to the US - so you'll need to get them in Canada.

  7. #7
    Apprentice
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    Re: Canadian Whisky question

    Howdy!

    Quote Originally Posted by WhiskyRI View Post
    The best book (okay really the only book) on the subject is Canadian Whisky: The Portable Expert by Davin De Kergommeaux. Very good read with lots of information...
    Actually, there are others, worth searching out, such as The story of Canadian whisky: 200 years of tradition by Lorraine Brown from 1994, and Canadian whisky, the product and the industry by William F. Rannie from 1976. And while Mr. De Kergommeaux did an amazing amount of research for his book, it suffers from a hack editor. As a consequence there is no real coherence and it is a slog to read.

 

 

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