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Went for some Rye for a change


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And had lots of enjoyment. I made another tasting video this time trying some basic straight American rye (JB, Pikesville, WT-R 101) :grin:

Nice to dig into something a little different, had to take a bourbon site to make it happen

Cheers!

Blog write up: click link

Video:

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Davin says that they are not.

Davin is correct.

Many people mistakenly believe Canadian whiskey contains GNS because American blended whiskey contains it. American blended whiskey is typically 80% GNS.

Canadian whiskey does not contain GNS. It does, however, usually contain a large amount of corn whiskey distilled at a fairly high proof and aged for at least two years, generally in used bourbon barrels. The typical Canadian whiskey, therefore, contains a lot more corn and other grains than it does rye.

The rye component, however, is distilled out at a lowish proof (e.g., 140) and made to be flavorful. Although rye may be a small amount of the overall volume it is the source of most of the flavor, so the term is not misplaced in that sense.

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ah I see... it's the Blog write up you are referring to...

I was watching my video and talking to myself... did I say that? wait a minute no I didn't you're messing with me... yeah that's it...

Ah okay I guess I threw that up in the write up. I was researchin a thread here on coloring and I guess I didn't read the whole thread correctly...

This is good now I don't have to re-edit the dang video.

Man you guys/gals keep me on my toes!

I still don't know Davin... but I guess now I do.

(googling Davin and Canadian Whisk(e)y Josh's site came up first which I just checked quickly before leaving the office)... So guess Davin and Canadian whiskey brings up a bourbon site... heh heh...

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CorvallisCracker

Many people mistakenly believe Canadian whiskey contains GNS...

and many people (you, me, Gary, others) have posted here that it does not. For some reason, that doesn't stick. It's one of those beliefs that just refuses to die, like cavemen coexisting with dinosaurs or that "bipartisan" is something that could ever happen. I'm perplexed by its persistance. Could it be that it's...

...because American blended whiskey contains it. American blended whiskey is typically 80% GNS.

Misdirected patriotism? As in, your blended whiskey is just as crappy as our blended whiskey! That, and/or the functional interchangeability of the two products (you can mix both with Coke, something you'd never do with blended Scotch)(well, you could, but who would want to drink it?)(aside from Tim)

Whatever reason, it's there and it's not going away. Posting to the contrary will have an only temporary effect. I'll bet you that within a month there will be someone posting on SB.com that "Canadian whisky contains GNS" (a purely rhetorical challenge, 'cause I know you recognize a sucker bet when you see one).

Canadian whiskey...does, however, usually contain a large amount of corn whiskey distilled at a fairly high proof and aged for at least two years...

Three years, I believe (reference).

I'm sure at least one of your loyal minions will take me to task for posting a "got-cha". To them I say, it would be hypocritical for Chuck to take to task others for their "ill informed" posts but to expect to be let off the hook for any errors he himself makes. Rocks, glass houses and all that.

We all have a common interest in ensuring that the information presented here is as accurate as possible...even if some reading it won't remember it by this time tomorrow. :rolleyes:

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I definitely agree that Canadian whisky sold in Canada can't contain GNS. It's because of the 3 year aging rule Scott mentioned.

While "flavouring" can be added to a Canadian whisky under Food and Drug Act (Canada) regulations, and flavouring is defined to include any domestic or imported spirit or wine, another rule states that for whisky consumed in Canada, any spirit in flavouring (brandy, say) must be aged at least 2 years. That excludes GNS.

Where I am less certain, is for whisky sent to the U.S. I find the law unclear whether flavouring can include GNS for exported products. Even if the law can be read to allow it, it doesn't mean in practice that Canadian whisky exported to the U.S. or elsewhere contains any.

Yet, as has been noted, you continually read of assumptions or statements that suggest it is added sometimes. Here is one I just found on a random search of the Internet, from a State alcohol authority:

http://home.liq.wa.gov/liqpurchasing/Store%20Training/Canadian%20and%20American%20Blended%20Whiskey.pdf

Is it right or wrong? I don't know.

Gary

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CorvallisCracker
Where I am less certain, is for whisky sent to the U.S. I find the law unclear whether flavouring can include GNS for exported products. Even if the law can be read to allow it, it doesn't mean in practice that Canadian whisky exported to the U.S. or elsewhere contains any.

I've seen repeated reference to a 9.09% limit on "flavoring" additives for Canadian whisky meant for export to the USA, most recently in a post by Davin. Since GNS is by definition "odorless and tasteless", it's difficult to see how it could be used for flavoring.

It could be 2yo grain whiskey, I suppose. But the other 90.91% would have to be whiskey aged at least three years.

I think Davin also pointed out this 9.09% exists so that Canadian producers can put in an American produced product and get some tax advantages. I suspect that this is where you'd find the rumored S-W bourbon in the higher-end expressions of CR. Or maybe LDI-produced 2yo rye. Or maybe older LDI rye (I believe I've read that Diageo has older rye they've purchased from LDI that continues to reside on LDI premises).

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Here is the definition of flavouring, and also, grain whisky. Further in, they define vodka:

http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/C.R.C.-C.870/FramesView.html

Also in here is the two year aging rule for spirit contained in flavouring for whisky sold in Canada.

The definition of grain whisky, essentially GNS, doesn't state no flavour. The definition of vodka does. So the argument would go, neutral spirit has some taste even if subtle, and therefore it can be added to non-domestic Canadian whisky. The fact of the 2 year rule mentioned would seem to support this. So when I read statements such as in the WA State Internet site for its liquor authority, this is what makes me think that interpretation may apply.

On the other hand, I agree that the definition of flavouring could be read to exclude any spirit which does not add flavour of some kind, i.e., even if grain spirit is taken to have no taste. You can read it that way, but just as legal matter, I incline currently to the former view. Still, that is neither here nor there if, in fact, no Canadian whisky exported from Canada contains GNS. That may well be so, I just don't know.

Gary

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Click on Division 2, Alcoholic Beverages, on the left to bring up the right frame.

Gary

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CorvallisCracker
Click on Division 2, Alcoholic Beverages, on the left to bring up the right frame.

Gary

Oh, I have the whole PDF, including sections on fruits, vegetables and chocolate, downloaded on my laptop.

As for GNS=vodka, I admit I'm confounding the issue by implicit reference to USA regs, which defines both as being distilled at 95% ABV or higher. Because there is no stated requirement for filtering or anything else to render vodka "odorless and tasteless", I've always considered it a safe assmption that it's the distillation at 95% that accomplishes that.

But, yeah, it's debatable whether something distilled at that level is odorless and tasteless. I swear I can smell the rye in Sobieski vodka.

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That statement from a U.S. State liquor authority sounds pretty specific too, about adding GNS before bottling. Maybe some of what they import does that and I'd think some doesn't.

Anyway, it's an interesting question but at the end of the day, something that is 90% or more grain spirit aged in wood 3 years will not have an assertive character, that's what it comes down to. The old jokes about brown vodka are a bit unfair, but in practice, I don't find much to choose really between Seagram 7 Crown, say, and the regular run of Canadian whisky, I find them similar. And I say that as someone who likes both products.

Gary

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Scott,

Gary and I should have conferenced you in on an email conversation we were having earlier this week. It was a result of that, and discussing the 2-year-old rule for flavoring, that caused my error. Yes, 3 years, just like the UK and EU.

I'd like a list of my minions, please. :)

Guess I'll also be criticized, though not by you, for using the abbreviations GNS, UK and EU.

I also made the same argument you did about the impossibility of using something flavorless as flavoring. It's a good argument but, as Gary points out, the Canadian equivalent of GNS is not described in their regs as "flavorless" as GNS is in ours.

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CorvallisCracker

I'd like a list of my minions, please. :)

Let me go back and look at your "am I too crochety" thread and see if I can pick out some likely candidates.

minions6.jpgJosh

minions5.jpgOscar

minions1.jpgSteve

minions4.jpgChristian

minions7.jpgScott (callmeox)

minions8.jpgwade

minions2.jpgJohn

minions9.jpgThomasH, harshest, T comp, dbk, GOCOUGS2002, Brisko, Imbibehour, ratcheer and sku.

I also made the same argument you did about the impossibility of using something flavorless as flavoring. It's a good argument but, as Gary points out, the Canadian equivalent of GNS is not described in their regs as "flavorless" as GNS is in ours.

It applies common sense and is thus irrelevant. These are, after all, bureaucrats we're talking about.

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CorvallisCracker

Man you guys/gals keep me on my toes!

We live for that. It gives our lives meaning.

I think my head just exploded...

I wondered what that sound was.

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To my understanding, it must qualify as whisky in Canada to be sold as Canadian whisky abroad.

A distiller/blender told me not that long ago that he likes to use a dash of his own 2-year-old Canadian rye flavouring whisky to "brighten up" a blend. It falls within the 9.09% in Canada and would already qualify as straight whisky in the U.S.

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As I recall from discussions when we last reviewed on SB the 9.090% rules, the U.S. standards of identity state that Canadian whisky for its purposes must be Canadian whisky as sold in Canada (or words to that effect). If that is so, then the argument would go, no GNS can be added to imports because it can't be added for domestic consumption. Perhaps that is the final answer and the circle comes around so to speak. Yet, statements abound, including as we saw on a State liquor board site, seemingly to the contrary. I'm not sure what the ultimate answer is, and while an interesting question, it doesn't really matter IMO because for practical purposes I find a high quality U.S. blended whiskey not that different from a regular Canadian whisky. This is not to say these are inferior to straight whiskey; they are different and have their own attractions.

Gary

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Just to elaborate on the last point in my previous message: Most Canadian whisky I've had, even premium brands, has a kind of clean or "fresh alcohol" edge to it. The wood and distillation tastes are certainly there, but this other one pokes out too. I think it must come from the part of the whisky distilled-out at a high proof and aged three years or more generally in small wood (i.e., apart from where two year old whisky or other spirit is added as part of "flavouring"). As someone who likes vodka, and rye vodka in particular (I just bought Zytnia's), I like that taste when that's what I want. Even though Canadian whisky has no GNS when sold in Canada and possibly not a single brand of it sold in the U.S. does, I am good with its character as I find it.

Also, subject to a few American blended whiskeys being similar (like Seagram 7 Crown), Canadian whisky has its own taste. I find it hard to describe but the taste is always a familiar one, kind of like a light bourbon or straight rye with a tobacco- or charcoal-like barrel taste which I think comes from re-used barrels. It is unique and subtle on its own terms. Last night I had some Wiser's De Luxe which was good on its own but I added a dash of Wiser's Legacy to it and it was even better.

Gary

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Great discussion re: Canadian whiskies. As a local journalist/radio guy says, "You learn more here by accident than elsewhere by design."

Back to the OP's video:

You commented more than once that you weren't getting much on the noses of these ryes.

May I humbly suggest two things: letting them open up a little longer, (WT Rye can use 15 or 20 minutes in the glass), and adding a splash of water, even as much as a teaspoonful, after you nose them initially*? Again, the Turkey probably benefits the most from this, due to its strength and "tight" nose, but even the Beam has a story to tell when treated properly.

Apologies if this has been covered before.

*I'm not suggesting that water is essential to drinking and enjoying whiskey. But it is pretty essential to nosing it successfully. If you really want to get to know your whiskeys, cut them to 20% abv and spend some time nosing them. (not much good for drinking at that strength, unfortunately).

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I get a slight hint of coco in the nose of Tangle Ridge which I believe is a 100% rye whisky. Does anyone else notice this?

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CorvallisCracker

I'm not sure what the ultimate answer is...

The ultimate answer would be a statment from all the Canadian producers as to what exactly is in their whisky. Like that's going to happen.

I find a high quality U.S. blended whiskey...

I wasn't aware there was any such critter.

...not that different from a regular Canadian whisky.

By "regular" I assume you mean one priced under $13 US.

As I said earlier in the thread, they're functional equivalents in that both are frequently mixed with soft drinks and, I'll add, rarely consumed neat.

When buying something in this category (we do have a couple of friends who like a lightweight whisk(e)y mixed with Seven-Up), I will always buy Canadian. At least the grain spirit component of that is distilled at a lower proof (albeit slightly) and aged at least three years, as opposed to a US blend which uses neutral spirit straight from the still, along with food coloring and water.

If anything deserves the term "brown vodka" it's the latter, and calling it "whiskey" is just plain dishonest. I can't buy into that.

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