Known for its smooth flavor, Canadian whisky is a staple in bars and restaurants throughout the world. And in the U.S.? Well, the U.S. has developed a strong taste for the spirit. In 2016, retail sales alone were $5.8 billion (with a B)! That’s a lot of crown and cokes!
What makes Canadian Whisky so pleasing to the masses? Let’s review the spirit’s requirements…
- It must be distilled in Canada. Duh.
- Mash from grain only. Same as all other whisk(e)y
- Distilled at less the 190 proof. 190 proof is a grain neutral spirit (no flavor)…also known as vodka.
- Aged for at least 3 years in wood barrels in Canada
- Bottled at 80 proof or higher Same as all other whisk(e)y
The dominant form available with the above criteria is a Canadian Whisky blend. The Canadian Master Blender’s goal is smooth and balanced flavor. This involves higher proof whiskies (very high proof has less flavor) blending with lower proof whiskies (more flavor), and the pairing of two more elements...
One: Similar to Scotch, caramel coloring is often added to the whisky. Without the extreme seasonal temperatures in Canada, there is minimal coloration of the whisky when aging. Caramel use: meet consumer expectations of an amber colored liquid.
Two: Canadian whisky is the only national spirit that allows flavoring. Green Apples? Sure! Dragon fruit? Dragon fruit, dinosaur fruit, cocktail fruit…it’s all good. Canadian whisky has the most creative flexibility of any national whisky category.
Side Shot Fact! One of the largest caramel color companies in the world, D.D. Williamson, is located in Kentucky; the home of bourbon. The state’s distilleries produce 95% of the world’s bourbon. ZERO caramel coloring is allowed in bourbon. Talk about setting roots in the WRONG location, ouch!
Boom! Another shot of knowledge!