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Centennial Honey Canadian Rye Whisky

Review: Centennial Honey Canadian Rye Whisky   85/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published on February 16, 2013

Highwood Distillers is a Canadian spirits manufacturer in the town of High River, Alberta, which is situated 40 minutes south of Calgary, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. A few years ago, I visited this distillery, and watched first hand as they turned the local prairie grains into whisky, vodka. and gin. They make their spirits one batch at a time in a family style atmosphere which could not help but make me a fan. Recently I received a sample of their Centennial Honey Canadian Rye Whisky. The spirit represents a fusion of Highwood’s 10 Year old Centennial Rye Whisky with the decadent sweetness of natural honey. No artificial flavours or additives (except caramel for colour) have been used in the production of this whisky liqueur which is bottled at 35 % alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

The Centennial Honey Rye Whisky arrives in the same basic bottle and with the same basic label as Highwood’s 10 Year Old Centennial Whisky. I am pleased by this for two reasons. In the first place, the new Centennial Honey Whisky is firmly associated with the same 10 year Old Whisky which makes up the base of its construction, and in the second place, the bottle is actually very attractive and so is the label. The only drawback is that this style of very tall bottle is too long for my whisky shelf. I have had to build a new shelf just to accommodate the growing numbers of these tall bottles which I now own. (A very minor quibble).

In the Glass 8.5/10

The honey whisky has a pale mahogany colour which seems to match up well with the light honeyed caramel and mild rye spice aroma which drifts into the breezes above the glass. The rye notes are somewhat mellowed compared to the average Canadian Rye Whisky which is a function of the use, by Highwood’s Master Blender, of wheat instead of the usual corn as the base grain for the whisky. (Wheat seems to provide a more mellow and polished nose than other grains.)

Overall the aroma is light and appealing, and I am very happy to take my first sip.

In the Mouth 51/60

The theme of light and appealing continues with a flavoured whisky which is both smooth and delicious. I was fearful that the honey flavour (which might have been too intense) would overpower the subtle nuances of the Centennial Rye Whisky. However, I am pleased to report that although the flavour of the natural honey is obvious, the flavour of good old Canadian rye whisky also shines through. We taste honey, vanilla and light butterscotch flavours with a gentle sweep of rye and wood spices running through. The overall combination works very well when sipped and as importantly (for me at least) mixes very well in those tall cocktails I love so much.

In the Throat 12.5/15

The exit is very smooth, lightly sweet, and lightly spicy featuring the fading flavours of butterscotch and rye spices lengthened by the sweetness of honey.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

If what you are looking for is a suave whisky experience just a little on the sweeter side of the palate, then the Centennial Honey Canadian Rye Whisky will be right up your alley. This is an easy-going, smooth flavoured whisky which I enjoyed very much.

You may read some of my other Liqueur and Favoured Spirit Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.

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Suggested Recipe

Honey CoolerCool Honey

2 oz  Centennial Honey Rye Whisky
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
dash of Angostura bitters (optional)
1/2 oz Agave Syrup

Ice
Ginger Ale

Pour the whisky, the lemon and lime juice, and the agave syrup into a metal shaker
Add a dash of bitters
Shake until the outside of the shaker frosts.
Strain into an ice-filled glass.
Top with Ginger-ale
If desired garnish with a slice of lemon or lime
(I like to add a thin strip of lemon peel to the glass)

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As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

3 Responses to “Centennial Honey Canadian Rye Whisky”

  1. I am so jealous that you got to review this. I tasted it at the Victoria Whisky Festival and really enjoyed it! A few days later I tasted an upcoming release from Mackmyra in Sweden and I would have loved to have done a head to head to compare. Congrats on the scoop, lucky lucky lucky!!!

    Cheers!

    Johanne

  2. Mike said

    Sounds far more promising than most of the overly-sweetened flavoured whiskies hitting the market lately.

    • That’s right Mike, I actually appreciated how the honey was not overdone. This is a little on the sweet side, but nothing like some of the others that have hit the market.

 
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