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Tonight, the Canadian whisky awards get announced, and in anticipation, why not post a review for another batch of Confederation Oak. I have now tasted all the batches A-F, lucky indeed. E, though I didn’t review it, showed some more fresh oak than the others but didn’t impress me in my far-from-ideal tasting of it during the Forty Creek Whisky Weekend. This sample is thanks to a fun sample swap with a reader of the blog!
We are fast approaching Christmas now, with 2 weeks away, and I often get asked for recommendations of what to buy. Of course, this largely depends on budget and preference, so here are some recommendations of good, accessible whisky. These have a few different ranges and I’ve tried to pick whiskies which are available and sit at a few different price points (I’ve included rough Canadian pricing for reference/comparison).
At a basic level, here are 5 very good, generally available, whiskies,which should all appeal to a broad range of taste preferences. Any one of these would make a fine gift for a whisky lover:
- Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky ($90)
- Redbreast 12 Year Old Irish Whiskey ($75)
- Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye Canadian Whisky ($30)
- Forty Creek Confederation Oak Reserve Canadian Whisky ($70)
- Maker’s Mark 46 Bourbon ($50)
If you know a bit about what you are looking for, here is a more advanced list of recommendations:
Subtle & Complex
- Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye ($30)
- Ninety 20 Year Old ($50)
- Forty Creek Confederation Oak ($70)
- Crown Royal Single Barrel ($50)
Bourbon & American Rye
- Buffalo Trace ($40)
- Elijah Craig 12 Y.O. ($40)
- Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel ($50)
- Four Roses Single Barrel ($50)
- Baker’s ($55)
- Booker’s ($70)
- Talisker 10 Year Old ($100)
- Bowmore 12 Year Old ($50)
- Laphroaig Quarter Cask ($70)
- Lagavulin 16 Year Old ($120)
- Compass Box Great King Street Glasgow Blend ($60)
- Glendronach 12 Y.O. ($60)
- Aberlour A’Bunadh ($100)
- Grant’s Family Reserve ($27)
- Glenmorangie 10 Year Old ($70)
- Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old ($90)
- Ballantine’s 17 Year Old ($90)
I’m looking for something different!
Pick up an Amrut (Indian) or Kavalan (Taiwanese) – both produce very high quality whiskies and their whole lineups are good.
Beyond this, feel free to see more of which whiskies I think are the best here.
The whisky world is abuzz with the announcement of Jim Murray’s Whisky of the Year, which this year was given to Crown Royal’s Northern Harvest Rye. Certainly, it takes a certain strong level of confidence to name a $30 whisky, without an age statement, the best whisky in the world – it’s contrary to much of what we see these days.
Jim Murray is one of the foremost whisky writers in the world, annually tasting over 1,000 whiskies in the process of writing his annual Whisky Bible, bringing about craze and competition for his top picks – this year, a Canadian. While the publicity is probably good for Canadian whisky – some things haven’t been good. Jim Murray’s love for Alberta Premium has probably not been good for Canadian whisky – I have tasted over 5 different batches of Alberta Premium, and been indifferent to it. Many, excited for a whisky rated 96.5/100, flock to the whisky as their defining experience of Canadian whisky – to walk away disappointed. I can say, with many other laymen and experts, that Alberta Premium wouldn’t be in our top list of Canadian whiskies at all. If that’s your experience with Northern Harvest Rye, don’t give up on Canadian whisky – there’s lots of great whisky to discover.
However, I like this year’s award for a few reasons: Continue reading
Here is a legend of a Canadian whisky, near impossible to find now (you’d have to find someone still with a bottle willing to give up) – the first batch of Forty Creek Confederation Oak. It was the first whisky to be matured in Canadian oak in the modern era, and was originally a limited release from Forty Creek before it was put into regular production – crafted from trees which whisky maker John Hall himself bought (a bit more background on my post of Batch B). This sample was graciously sent to me by a friend, who gave me the last half oz of his bottle (#548) which had been open more than 4 years, so oxygen has done some work on this, but here is the review of the sample.
The Dalmore generally produces a rich, sherried style with a heavy spirit with older whiskies being some of the most collectible and expensive whiskies on the market, very similar to the Macallan – which, interestingly enough, also produces a heavier and sherried style of spirit. Some legendary bottlings have been released by the distillery, including a 64 year old Dalmore which had some whiskies in it which were over 140 years old.
Like the other core finished whiskies at Glenmorangie, a 10 year old whisky is dumped into a finishing cask for 2 years – in this case a port pipe. Quinta refers to wine houses, and Ruban is the gaelic word for “ruby”.