My first Canadian Whisky review, eh!
I make no bones about it… I love Scotch. But I’m a fan of the uisge beatha because they consistently deliver unique and complex flavours. When it comes right down to it, however, I don’t really just love Scotch, I love good whisky (and even whiskey)! And I’m fortunate to live in Alberta, where some of the finest Canadian whiskies are produced, pretty much in my back yard. Indeed, it’s high time that I start reviewing some of these fine drams as well!
I won’t get into the characteristics that make Canadian whisky different from Scotch and other world whiskies. That’s been done elsewhere, if you are inclined to research the topic, and it doesn’t really matter to me – I’m just looking for interesting, complex flavours that are delicious to drink. What is important to me is breaking down the misconception that Canadian whiskies can’t hold their own against other countries’ drams. Head to head, A quality Canadian does just fine, thank you very much! Okay, enough already, let’s get after it!
Centennial Canadian Rye Whisky is produced by Highwood Distillers in High River, Alberta. It is a 10 year old whisky crafted from a blend of winter wheat and rye. It is bottled at 40% abv and is available for about $26. (Another nice feature of many Canadian whiskies)
To the Eye
This whisky displays as a delicate amber-gold in the glass; it has an inviting, honey-like appearance. A swirl of my Glencairn reveals slender legs that quickly slip down the sides of the glass.
In the Nose
Again delicate, with obvious honey aromas that match the colour of the spirit. Dusty rye is also at the forefront, with wisps of oak and a caramel note that seems to gradually build as the dram breathes. It’s hard to exercise patience, but it is a virtue… and more time in the glass reveals bright lemon, and something slightly vegetal… hay bales? I know this isn’t a common description of a whisky’s nose, but it’s sunshine in a glass!
On the Tongue
There’s a sweetness on the front that quickly makes way for a mouthful of clean and spicy rye. The rye lingers on the exit and is joined by some oak sawdust on the short, exit that is crisp and clean. The use of wheat in the mash bill is evident in the soft profile of this dram. I wouldn’t call Centennial Canadian Rye Whisky overly complex, but it’s certainly not a one-note taste either. It’s exceedingly smooth, nicely balanced and very good!
Sophisticated. That’s the word that continues to resonate for me. This is not a whisky that requires a long time to discern and appreciate but it certainly is not a mixer. It’s clean and light and approachable… a great example of the Canadian whisky style.