Whiskey is Scotland’s national drink. The spirit has become increasingly popular worldwide, especially in Canada. Whiskey lovers can now sample 12 top-rated Canadian whiskies at home.
Canada is known for its rich history of whiskey production. In fact, the country was once the largest producer of whiskey in the world. Today, Canada produces over half of the world’s rye whiskey.
Canadian whiskey is distilled from grain such as barley or wheat, rather than potatoes or sweetcorn. Like other kinds of whiskey, Canadian whiskey is produced using a unique method called ‘mashing and fermentation.’ This allows the distiller to produce a smoother and rich taste.
In the article below, we have selected the 12 best Canadian whiskies currently available, so that you can taste these delicious blends from your home. Just take a look at our list and see which whiskey catches your eye.
OUR TOP PICK
For the first Canadian whiskey on our list, we have chosen this sublime expression from the Grimsby distillery in Ontario.
As the name implies, the spirit was produced to commemorate Canada’s 1867 confederation, with the blend capturing the taste of Canada’s history and culture.
Boasting a warm and exotic flavor, the whiskey has been blended and aged in Canadian oak barrels, a process that lasts for 2 years.
The whiskey also contains more grain than other spirits on the market, as this helps to combat the cold climate. In terms of taste, the whiskey is said to carry notes of praline, honey and summer fruits…yum!
Gibson first originated stateside - with the company being founded by John Gibson during the 1830s in Pennsylvania. The company thrived until prohibition when the distillery was forced to close.
Fortunately, Gibson was later purchased by a Canadian company, which moved the distillery to its new home in Quebec.
Now, the distillery uses Quebec-grown corn to produce its expressions, which includes the next product on our list.
This 12-year-old whiskey is now seen as a flagship of the company, which also produces a more elusive 18-year-old blend. The spirit is made using a combination of various expressions, which usually contain higher-proof corn whiskey and lower-proof rye.
Because of this, the final expression is light and refreshing, with the blend containing tasting notes of caramel, oak and marzipan.
This next whiskey is a somewhat controversial choice, as the distillery was first founded in 1943 south of the Canadian border.
However, the company still prides itself on the production of traditional Canadian whiskies that contain 14-year-old ryes to produce their bold flavor.
So, in many ways, the whiskey is Canadian by birth - with the rye being made in Quebec before it is sent to Austin and combined with Texas limestone water.
Because of this, the whiskey boasts 42% proof and contains no sugar, flavorings, coloring, or artificial ingredients.
Despite containing a high amount of rye, the whiskey is known for its light taste, which is said to feature subtle notes of vanilla, spice and cereal.
Gooderham and Worts is considered to be one of the most historic distilleries in Canada, with the company first being founded in 1831 by James Wort and William Gooderham.
It was intended to be a milling company but later expanded to include brewing and distilling whisky as well.
During the late 1800s, the company became the largest producer of whisky in the world, with the distillery being known for its blends of rye, barley, wheat and corn.
Because of this, the 49 Wellington could be seen as a piece of history, as the expression calls back to unmalted rye blends featuring barley, corn and red fife wheat.
These ingredients are then left to mature in red oak barrels, which helps to create a complex and unique taste.
When sampling this particular blend, you will notice powerful notes of spice, honey, tannins and white pepper.
The next Canadian whiskey on our list is known for its expensive price, with the blend costing around $150 per bottle. However, once you learn more about this particular whiskey, you will come to understand the questionable price tag.
This whiskey is 100% rye and has been sourced by the Cooper Spirits Company in the United States. In contrast to the other whiskies on our list, this blend has been aged for 20 years in American oak barrels, which results in a unique and powerful taste.
Known for its spicy background, the whiskey is also said to contain notes of caramel and chocolate, with the blend also delivering hints of dark fruit and wood.
Because of this, the whiskey makes for a delicious addition to any cocktail and can be used to sample a truly decadent whiskey experience.
Canadian Club has remained a popular brand in the United States, with the company being known for its range of affordable expressions and blends.
However, the distillery also produces its own 100% rye whiskey, which embodies the taste and culture of Canada for around $20 per bottle.
Featuring a blend of rye and oats, this whiskey has been aged in different wood barrels, which results in the spirit’s rich and powerful taste.
While this rye may not be the most potent blend on the market, it still delivers a unique tasting experience and is a fine example of Canadian whiskey done right. The blend is crafted in Alberta and features notes of caramel and spice.
Nowadays, there are hundreds of Canadian rye whiskies to choose from, which can make it hard to find the best one. So to help you out, we have included this expression from Lot 40 on our list.
Produced by the Hiram Walker distillery, this blend is considered to be one of the best rye whiskies in Canada, with the spirit featuring 100% Canadian rye.
Distilled in copper pots, this drink is known for its balance of sweetness and spice, with the whiskey featuring a buttery mouthfeel and hints of vanilla.
The whiskey is also known for its fruity aftertaste and is now considered a perfect example of a rye blend made in the real north.
Boasting a 40% ABV, this whiskey comes from Manitoba and is known for its delicious and smooth blend. Despite being considered a luxury whiskey, Crown Royal does not sell for an extortionate price and is a great product for anyone hoping to sample a delicious expression without breaking the bank.
The spirit is made using a combination of 50 different blends that have been aged in oak barrels, which results in a powerful taste and sublime feel.
Because of its sweet and delicate nature, the whiskey can be used in a range of different cocktails and is known for its notes of oak, vanilla and cream.
JP Wiser’s is considered the whiskey of choice among professional bartenders, as it features a mature blend of grain and spice.
The expression is aged in oak barrels for 15 years, which helps to infuse the final product with notes of fruit, toffee and spices. However, this whiskey is also said to contain a hint of green apple - creating a warm and autumnal taste.
Fortunately, you can now purchase this particular whiskey for a reasonable price, with most bottles selling for around $35. Because of its great value and delicious taste, this whiskey can be sampled as a digestif during dinner parties celebrations.
Produced by the Corby distillery in Ontario, this rye whiskey is known for the unique process it undergoes before its final maturation.
Nowadays, this expression is considered to be one of the best on the market, as it has been aged in rum barrels for 10 years to produce its powerful taste.
Because of its second maturation, the whiskey is said to feature exotic notes of fruit and sweetness, with the spirit containing hints of banana, caramel and mixed spice.
The whiskey can be used in a variety of cocktails and pairs well with tropical flavors such as mango and coconut.
Another blend that comes from Quebec, Caribou Crossing is pricier than your average whisky, yet it makes up for the cost with its delicious taste and excellent craft.
Because of its unique maturation process, the whiskey has become a favorite among bartenders who love the product for its somewhat unpredictable taste.
In contrast to the other whiskies we have mentioned, this blend is aged in a single barrel as opposed to a blend of different casks. This means that every bottle comes with its own unique taste and look.
However, this does not mean that each sample is completely different, as most expressions will feature notes of honey, vanilla and spice.
Despite being bottled in Vermont, this whiskey is made using Canadian-grown rye, which helps to infuse the spirit with its classic taste.
According to lore, this brand found its stock of rye in a Canadian distillery, which they then rescued and used to produce their own expression. The whiskey has been aged in American oak barrels and is said to feature a complex and sophisticated palette.
The final spirit boasts hints of orange and smoke, which are accompanied by an aftertaste of honey and dried fruits.
Because of its 100% proof and spicy character, the whiskey does not fade in cocktails and can be used to make a selection of delicious drinks. Its warm flavor has made it a popular brand among bartenders and whiskey lovers.
If you have been searching for a Canadian whiskey that embodies the gold standard of Canadian blends, then we recommend that you purchase the JP Wiser’s.
However, if you are looking for an expression that represents the taste and tradition of Canadian rye whiskey, then you may want to consider blends such as Canadian Club and Lot 40.
Whichever whiskey you decide to pick, it is important to remember that each one perfectly conveys the skill of Canadian craftsmanship, as each of the whiskies on our list embodies the taste and culture of the true north.
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