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Introducing: The Canadian Whisky Awards 2010

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 5, 2010

Davin de Kergommeaux has hit upon an idea which I think is just Grand, The first ever independent Canadian Whisky Awards! I came up with my Rum Howler Awards earlier this year where I sought to give credit to various impressive rums and whiskies which I felt had set the mark for excellence during the past year. And now Davin builds on that, at least with respect to Canadian Whisky. These Canadian Whisky Awards highlight not only the best quality whiskies made in Canada, but also special achievements by Canadian Whisky Distillers.

Why am I excited? Mainly because of the knowledge I have for the outstanding contributions Davin has made in bringing forward recognition of Canadian Whisky as a world-class spirit. You see Davin has the credibility to make these awards meaningful for whisky companies as well as for whisky connoisseurs. He is a professionally trained sommelier who is well acquainted with not only Canadian Whisky, but also all of the other great whiskies of the world. He is an experienced whisky taster and writer who is a much sought after judge at international whisky competitions.

The Awards will be unveiled tomorrow, December 6, on Davin’s Website, Canadianwhisky.org! Based upon what I know of the thoroughness of Davin’s research and the quality of his work, these awards are sure to become prominent markers of excellence on the Canadian Whisky landscape.  Great Job Davin! I look forward to reading the selections for the first Canadian Whisky Awards 2010!

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2 Responses to “Introducing: The Canadian Whisky Awards 2010”

  1. Capn Jimbo said

    Certainly awards – determined honestly and in an unbiased manner – have great value.

    Still, and with all due respect, I find it difficult to call any spirit “world class” when it is mostly continuously distilled, often blends rye with a neutral spirit, sometimes adds corn and bourbon type whiskies for flavor, adds sherry for flavoring and smoothing, and is aged in previously used barrels.

    Still, it is good if an honest comparision to other such mixtures can be made, however difficult in view of the wide variation in composition.

    • Capn:

      Your comments with respect to Canadian Whisky are (In my opinion) a little misinformed. I do not blame you because in a way it is our own fault. In Canada we shoot ourselves in the foot by calling our base spirit “neutral”. In truth it is not a neutral grain spirit in the sense that you are conveying, and you have been tricked by the semantics of our own creation. Even our wheat based whisky spirit, once barreled in charred American White Oak barrels starts to reveal its flavours after only a few days. In Canada, we do distill to a high abv, but that is also why we extract such clean wood from the barrel. If you have a chance, try the Alberta Premium 25 year old and see how clean and elegant it is. But, don’t take my word for it, read Jim Murray’s or just about every other prominent whisky writer’s take on this whisky (A 100 per cent rye grain whisky by the way) and you will see that they agree. And by the way, our flavouring whiskies are as robust (or perhaps even more so) than any Bourbon or straight rye.

      (Incidentally for your information, American whisky can contain up to 80% (eighty percent) grain neutral spirits (GNS). The big debate right now in the U.S. is whether they should also allow sugar-based neutral spirits as well in their whisky. (See this article from the CaribbeanBussinesspr: http://www.caribbeanbusinesspr.com/news03.php?nt_id=49581&ct_id=1) Bourbon and straight whiskies are the only American Whiskies guaranteed to be free of free of GNS.)

      As for reusing oak barrels, I think you will find it hard to cite many cases of Scottish whisky, Single Malt or otherwise that do not reuse bourbon or sherry casks for maturation. And in fact, as I understand it, Scotch single malts that are matured or finished in wine/sherry casks may contain up to 7 litres of wine per barrel, and after a thorough review of the Scottish whisky regulations, (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2009/2890/contents/made), I cannot find any requirement which contradicts this understanding, or which specifies that reused barrels be thoroughly emptied prior to their use for maturation of Scotch Whisky. I admit I would love to receive clarification on this last point as it seems an obvious flaw in the entire argument for the ‘pure’ quality of Scottish Single malt Whisky.

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