When it comes to Canada, thoughts of maple syrup, ice hockey and curling may cross your minds. Did you know that Canada also boats some of the best whiskies out there in the world? Known for making some good ol’ whisky (Canada spells whisky without the ‘e’), Canadian whisky is also known to be smooth, affordable and a good mixer in cocktails.
Here are our recommendations for the best Canadian whiskies in the world!
What is Canadian whisky?
What makes Canadian whisky different from all the other whiskies is the balance of ingredients that are used in a bottle. Generally blended, skilled blenders consider the mixing of the best Canadian whisky an art. This is because numerous grain whiskies of varying ages and different flavoured spirits are turned into a fantastic drinking experience. It is impressive (and here is where the art comes in) that the flavour and taste is replicated for each batch of whisky.
Rye is a defining feature of Canadian whisky. The terms ‘Canadian whisky’ and ‘Canadian rye’ are used interchangeably by whisky drinkers. Although rye is usually the main ingredient, other ingredients such as wheat, corn and barley also play an important role. Each component is mashed, fermented, distilled and aged separately to ensure the best flavour is reached.
Once the best flavour is reached, the ingredients are blended together. It is at this stage that blenders adjust the intensity of each ingredient.
Best Canadian Whisky
Lot No. 40 Canadian Rye Whisky
The Lot No. 40 Canadian Rye Whisky was launched in the 1990s and was actually discontinued in the 2000s but people were so upset and demanded that it be brought back that Lot 40 actually brought it back again. This bottle of whisky utilizes toasted rye in the mix that has been distilled in copper pot stills.
On the nose, this Canadian whisky is full of clove and cinnamon. On the palate, it is rather dry and peppery with a spicy finish. Crafted at Hiram Walker Distillery, this is an exemplary example of rye whisky! Mix into any cocktail recipe and it will not get lost or just taste it as it is.
A rare whisky, the Glen Breton Rare has been aged 10 years in American oak cakes in the Glenora distillery. The Glenora distillery is located in beautiful Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. A unique whisky, Canadian whisky reviews have actually described it as sublime and can easily compete with the best single malt scotch whiskies in the market. However, the Canadian flavour of this whisky does not get lost.
A bright gold colour, on the nose, the Glen Breton Rare 10 Year Old has fragrances of apricot, honey and orange blossom. On the palate it is rich with toasted cereal, light cherry and roasted nut flavours with a warm finish.
Crown Royal Deluxe Blended Canadian Whisky
An iconic Canadian whisky brand, the Crown Royal has one of the most extensive portfolios when it comes to whisky. It has something for everyone in terms of style!
The Crown Royal Deluxe is the foundation of the brand. Blended from 50 whiskies into a smooth whisky full of oak and vanilla notes, this is the bottle you want and most likely need if you want a taste of all things Canadian whisky.
Canadian Mist Whisky
The Canadian Mist Whisky is a subtle smooth and very mixable whisky. As a mixer, it is very reliable yet affordable. While it may get lost in cocktails that have too many flavours, for simple cocktail recipes, the Canadian Mist can stand up to anything you want it to mix with. It doesn’t matter if you want to use cranberry, pear or ginger ale, the Canadian Mist Whisky has a soft flavour profile.
As one of the cheapest Canadian whiskies in the market, it is also a great choice when mixing with white spirits like gin, rum and vodka. Easily keep a bottle stocked in your bar cart and whip it out when necessary.
Forty Creek Double Barrel Reserve Canadian Whisky
A top-shelf Canadian whisky, the Forty Creek Double Barrel Reserve Canadian Whisky is aged for twice as long in its barrels, just like the name suggests. The whisky that is created is delicious – sweet, with hints of butterscotch on the nose. On the palate, rich caramel and flavours of vanilla fill the mouth. The finish is dry but peppery.
This Canadian whisky is indeed a great addition to your liquor cabinet. Guests absolutely love it.
Forty Creek Confederation Oak Reserve Canadian Whisky
A simple whisky, it should not be underestimated for its value and taste. The Confederation Oak was actually created to commemorate Canada’s 1867 Confederation. A blended whisky that has been finished for two years in Canadian oak barrels, this best Canadian whisky has a tighter grain because of the colder climate.
On the nose, the strong aroma of oak waft, just like the barrels it has been aged in. Look for tastes of dark fruits on the palate. The finish is nutty. If you are a beginner at Canadian whiskies, this is the perfect bottle for you.
Alberta Rye Whisky Dark Batch
Alberta Distillers is Canada’s top rye whisky maker. True to every whisky this distiller has produced, the Alberta Rye Whisky Dark Batch has a big and bold flavour. Canadian whisky often includes a rye whisky in the blend and this bottle of whisky is a balance of smoky sweetness and great spice!
Sip it as it is or mix into a rye whiskey cocktail for a delicious drink!
Collingwood Canadian Whisky
Located in Ontario, the distillery that also produces Canadian Mist has produced Collingwood. As sippable as it is mixable, the Collingwood Canadian Whisky has sealed its place as the best Canadian whisky, winning numerous awards. A premium upgrade that is worth savouring, Collingwood is best drunk neat. The base of this whisky is corn, rye and barley.
Water from the Georgian Bay, which is essential for the taste of Collingwood is added to the final blend. This finishing touch is what gives this Canadian whisky its distinct characteristic.
Maple sweetness accented with vanilla and oak, this whisky is soft and sweet so if you prefer bolder whiskies, this is not for you.
Caribou Crossing Single Barrel Canadian Whisky
The Caribou Crossing was the first Canadian single barrel whisky and certainly a favourite among whisky drinkers. Only the best from the Old Montreal Distillery is used to give this whisky an ultra complex and ultra smooth taste. Toffee sweetness that fades into a creamy oak finish with a hint of pepper fill the mouth.
Although it can get rather pricey as it is considered at the higher end of the Canadian whisky market, it is worth buying and saving for special occasions as the smoothness is excellent.
Pendleton Directors’ Reserve Whisky
A luxury bottle, the Pendleton Directors’ Reserve is a 20 year old blend that is smooth yet spicy and enjoyed by many. Launched by Hood River Distillers in Oregon and purchased by Proximo Spirits, the classification of this whisky can be rather confusing but it is still a Canadian whisky.
One of the most expensive and best Canadian whiskies, this whisky is best enjoyed straight, with a splash of water or on ice. The sweet caramel and vanilla flavours with a great spice and nut finish give you a mouthful of enjoyment.
The Canadian Club is a well known brand as it is an affordable and popular bottle. Aged for at least six years in white oak barrels before bottling, the Canadian Club is known for its smooth and light tasting profile.
Founded by whisky mogul Hiram Walker, the Canadian Club has notes of cut grass and fennel with a hint of straw. On the palate, it is known to be sweet and gentle with tastes of winter spice and dark sugars. Whisky drinkers love the Canadian Club, especially with a slice of orange, dry ginger and ice! A favourite among many, don’t miss out and add it to your collection.
Lock, Stock & Barrel 16 Year Rye
The Lock, Stock & Barrel 17 Year Rye is 100% Canadian rye whiskey. After spending nearly 20 years in American oak barrels, this Canadian whisky is certainly for the higher end of the market but is well worth it.
With the deeply spicy background tempered by notes of caramel, cocoa and dried fruits that fill your palate, this is one of the best Canadian whisky that you can sip on its own or for a wonderfully premium cocktail experience.
Whether you enjoy a light-bodied whisky, love rye whisky or want something that can be mixed, there’s definitely a bottle of Canadian whisky you can choose from. If you’re just starting out in tasting Canadian whisky, choose from the above best Canadian whisky brands and you won’t go wrong! Even if you are a seasoned whisky drinker, there is always more to be discovered with Canadian rye whisky.