The Must-Grab Whiskies When Visiting Canada

The Must-Grab Whiskies When Visiting Canada

February 26, 2019 –––––– Whisky Advocate, , , ,

If Canada isn't yet on your must-visit list, it should be. Not only is the country home to some of the best spots for whisky tourism—many just a short jaunt across the border—Canada also keeps some of its best bottles for the home market. Take a trip and scoop a few up—use these suggestions to make your shopping list. (Prices in Canadian dollars.)

Canadian Classics

Start here for prime examples of Canadian-style whisky.Canadian Rockies 21 year old—92 points, $110Lush, creamy corn whisky from Highwood Distillers, Canada's last privately owned traditional distillery. With a maple leaf on the label and tasty whisky inside, this bottle makes a delicious souvenir.Crown Royal Blender's Select—90 points, $55Crown Royal is the only Canadian whisky with a well-developed collector market, and this Ontario exclusive entices its devotees with gingery spices, green grapes, and butterscotch pudding.Gooderham & Worts—90 points, $45A robust blend of wheat, corn, barley, and rye whiskies that reveals each in sequence as it travels across your palate and down your throat.Alberta Premium—80 points, $27This much-vaunted 100% rye, though not connoisseur material, is a respectable mixer. After just one sip, you may wonder if it's really made from rye.

Best Buys

These whiskies deliver superb value.Ninety Decades of Richness 20 year old—91 points, $59This creamy, sweet, all-corn whisky fills out its wooden skeleton with high floral tones. Genuine small batch, it is bottled just a few barrels at a time.J.P. Wiser's Triple Barrel Rye—89 points, $30This relatively new Canada-only whisky achieves popularity for its big, rye-forward flavor. Be a show-off: as you pour their second dram, smile and tell your friends how little you paid.Gibson's Finest Bold—88 points, $26Visitors seek out Gibson's more than any other Canadian whisky, and one sip of this 8 year old rye bomb gushing with flavors will demonstrate why.Collingwood Town Collection Double Barreled—87 points, $44The result of a one-off experiment with an American whiskey-style mashbill, rather than blending whiskies distilled from each grain separately; this abounds with fruity, creamy mouth-coating glory.Crown Royal Limited Edition—85 points, $38A luscious, creamy blend of long-aged base whiskies, some from small batches. The distinctive, understated Crown Royal bottle reflects Canada's links to the British royal crown.

Canadian Craft

Small producers offer big flavor with these innovative whiskies.Two Brewers Yukon Single Malt Release 07—88 points, $100A smoky, malty, scotch-like nose meets sweet fruit in this peated single malt distilled in White- horse, just 400 miles below the Arctic Circle.Shelter Point Artisanal Single Malt—87 points, $85A Scottish-style distillery, with two pot stills, located in a remote corner of Vancouver Island transforms local barley, some grown on the distillery farm, into this minty single malt.North of 7 Canadian Whisky—84 points, $60The flavor spectrum of this rye whisky from Ottawa's first craft distillery widens with each new release. This lemony delight is made with 95% rye grain and 5% malted barley. Look for the label with a red stripe.

Canadian Collectibles

These rare and exclusive whiskies are worth the coin.Canadian Club 40 year old—96 points, $220A remarkable all-corn whisky distilled in 1977, bottled unblended for an authentic taste of pre-1980s bigger, bolder Canadian Club. Elegant yet sumptuous.J.P. Wiser's 35 year old—95 points, $166One of the most flavorful yet elegant Canadian whiskies in decades, the release of this corn and rye blend brought near riots to normally somnolent government liquor stores.Lot No. 40 Cask Strength 12 year old—94 points, $70Cask strength Canadian whisky is rare, so this hard-punching all-rye flavoring whisky is not to be missed. Even more impressive than its 43% ABV sibling.Gooderham & Worts Little Trinity 17 year old—90 points, $80This wonderfully full-flavored blend of corn, rye, and wheat whiskies is 17 years old and was matured in both virgin oak and bourbon casks.Pike Creek 21 year old Speyside Cask Finish—88 points, $90Pike Creek's whiskies draw much of their flavor from cask finishing. Speyside single malt casks have imbued this one with tobacco and dried fruits.