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Collingwood Handcrafted Canadian Whisky

Review: Collingwood Handcrafted Canadian Whisky 85.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on October 08, 2013

Collingwood Handcrafted Canadian Whisky is produced at the Canadian Mist Distillery in Collingwood Ontario.This is of course the Distillery which produces its namesake brand, Canadian Mist, which is one of the best-selling Canadian Whiskies in North America. Most of those sales are in the USA where over 4 million cases of Canadian Mist are consumed annually.

This is a premium brand which is positioned a little higher on the rungs of the whisky ladder so to speak. However, it would be wrong to think of Collingwood as a more mature or refined Canadian Mist. It is produced from its own recipe and finished in a manner which gives the spirit a unique twist. Once the whisky is mature and has been blended, it is left in stainless marrying vats where its flavour is enhanced with staves of maple which have also been added to those vats. This process is unique as far as Canadian Whisky goes, and promises to bring a new flavour component into the landscape of Canadian Whisky.

Collingwood Whisky Bottle shotIn the Bottle  5/5

As you can see from the picture to the left, the Collingwood Whisky arrives in a smart-looking flask-style whisky bottle which is both masculine and classy. This look is completely original and has my enthusiastic endorsement.

In the Glass  8/10

The spirit looks a little darker than your average Canadian Whisky with a rich medium dark mahogany colour and red copper-like highlights. The breezes above the glass bring me the scents and smells of light butterscotch, sandalwood and rye spice. I also receive indications of vanilla and bits of sweet and sour fruitiness which reminds me of fermented grapes and apple cider.

As I let the glass sit, corn on the cob and sour corn mash rise up together with along with lightly smoky dabs of dark fruit (raisins in particular). There seems to be a faint mustiness in the air which is reminiscent of old leather chairs and old-fashioned spicy tobacco. The aroma is pleasant although I sense the Collingwood is perhaps a little younger than I was expecting.

In the Mouth 51/60

The whisky is medium bodied with a mouth-feel that is a little buttery or oily. The spirit begins its traverse through the mouth with initial flavours of butterscotch toffee and sour fermented fruit. There is a nice spicy rye flavour rolling through which is chased across the palate by flavours of corn and dark spicy tobacco. Some fresh oak and cedar (more oak than cedar) appears carried forward with a dabble of sweetish honeycomb. I sense a few rum-like flavours as well including Demerara sugar and light speckles of Roger’s Golden Cane syrup. I like the overall flavour which seems more developed in the tasting than it appeared on the nose.

I decided to mix a little with ginger ale and then cola, and found the spirit was at home with either mixer (I had a preference for the cola).  Next I fixed up an Old Fashioned and found the whisky slid into that classic cocktail rather easily as well. I like the versatility the spirit exhibits.

In the Throat  13/15

The exit is of moderate length and features flavours of butterscotch, spicy ginger, pepper and wood-spice with a nice sweet cane syrup finale. The whisky just keeps getting better through each stage of the tasting.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

The Collingwood is a solid addition to the landscape of Canadian Whisky. Corn, rather than rye seem to be the centerpiece of the flavour which is probably a reflection of its target market, the United States. I find myself wishing that the spirit was more readily available north of the border where it was distilled and aged. I believe its unique flavour profile would find a welcome audience in more parts of Canada.

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

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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 “Collingwood Handcrafted Canadian Whisky”

  1. Andy said

    Your tastes in rum and whisky are close to my own. I use your reviews as a guideline before making many purchases. This whisky I never cared for after purchasing years ago. It went onto my mixer shelf for guests. I found it to be overmellowed and the woody notes I found unpleasing. Davin says this could be a “love it or hate it” whisky…like the Laphraoig of Canadian whisky.

    • Hi Andy

      I read Davin’s comments about the Collingwood, and although our tasting notes and our scoring seems similar, I did not find this whisky lies very far outside the paradigm of Canadian Whisky as I know it. There is too be sure, a lot of corn here which causes the rye to take a bit of a back seat; but this is similar to Crown Royal, and to Highwood’s Century Blends. So I guess I think the Laphraoig analogy is perhaps stretched beyond being usefulness here. This is not such a departure that you would love it or hate it; rather this would be more in the vein of Lowland Whisky versus Speyside Whisky, different style but not too different.

      I think if you like Crown Royal or Highwood’s Century Distillers products, then I think you will like Collingwood, if Alberta Premium or Wisers is more you go to whisky, then Collingwood may not appeal as much.

      • Andy said

        I just reviewed my tasting notes. It was the finish that my palate didn’t like. Tobacco and cherries reminded me of a Century Sam cigar I had 20 years ago for 99cents.

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