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Lot 40 Canadian whisky from Canada

After the 'boom' of single malt Scotch whisky that started in the late 1990's, a few
other whisk(e)y categories followed in its slipstream. In recent years, the interest
in Japanese whisky, American 'craft' whiskies and Canadian whisky has grown.
While the strict Scottish regulations specify that only malted barley can be used
to produce single malt whisky, Canadian producers can use any type of grain to
make Canadian whisky; corn, wheat, rye, etc. Because Canadian whisky is often
called rye whisky, some people assume that it is made entirely out of rye, but
this is not the case. As far as I know, only Alberta and Lot No. 40 are made
exclusively from rye. The main ingredient for most Canadian whiskies is corn.
Corn is usually cheaper than rye (especially because some governments are
heavily subsidising its production) and it also produces more alcohol per Kg. 

The traditional type of copper pot still that is used for Scotch malt whisky is
also used for some Canadian whiskies, like the 'Lot 40' depicted at the right.
However, the vast majority of Canadian whisky is produced in continuous
column stills - the same type of still that is used to make grain whisky in
Scotland. At the same time, there is more variety among Canadian whisky
than among Scotch grain whiskies. Canadian whisky has to be mashed,
distilled and aged in Canada, but producers are allowed to add various
types of flavouring. Just like Scotch whisky, the whisky has to be matured
in oak casks for at least 3 years and bottled at a minimum of 40% ABV.
Some well-known brands of Canadian whisky are Alberta Premium, Black
Velvet, Canadian Club, Canadian Mist, Century Reserve, Crown Royal,
Forty Creek, Gibson's, Glen Breton, Lot No. 40 and Windsor.
My own experience with Canadian whisky is very limited, mainly because
they are quite difficult to find here in Holland. Some brands could be found
on Dutch shelves in the 1990's, but it seems that a lot of their shelf space
has been taken over by Scottish and Japanese brands in recent years.
If you want to learn more about Canadian whisky I can heartily recommend
Davin de Kergommeaux' book 'Canadian Whisky; the Portable Expert'.
It is a real treasure trove of information on Canadian whisky, containing
lots of history, backgrounds, technical details and tasting notes.

As I mentioned earlier, my personal experience with Canadian whisky is fairly limited.
I've sampled more Canadian whiskies than the few that I have tasting notes for, but I didn't bother to make serious tasting notes for those Canadian whiskies at the time. To tell you the truth, most of the brands and bottlings that I tried didn't really appeal to me, so I decided early on to spend most of my money and efforts on whiskies from Scotland, Ireland and Japan.

Forty Creek 'Three Grain' (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 2003, Canada)
(This is a blend of three types of grain whisky; distilled from malted barley, rye and maize.)
Nose: Aaaah... That's nice! Sweet and malty. Toffee and fudge. Nutty. A great nose!
By far the 'maltiest' Canadian I ever tried - and it's a grain whisky. That's odd...
Taste: Weak, sweetish start. Watery. Coffee and candy. Sticky. Cloying. Brrrr...
Not nearly as good as the nose, but overall I think it beats the other Canadians I tried.
Score: 66 points - that's right - with a nose like this it rivals some Scotch single malts.

Glen Breton 10yo (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 2007, Canada)
Neus: Eucalyptus and the aroma's of an old candy store. More organics after some breathing.
Smaak: Dry and perfumy - and slightly soapy on my palate. This combination doesn't really work for me.
Score: 52 points - the Canadians can still learn a few tricks from the Scots - or the Irish for that matter...

Tasting notes for a few Canadian whiskies

Laphroaig 1974
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Whisky from Canada

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This 'Deviant Drams' section is a mere diversion from the main focus of the Malt Madness website: single malt (Scotch) whisky.
My knowledge of and experience with world whiskies and other alcoholic beverages is relatively limited, but I have plenty to say
about single malt Scotch whisky. For example, there's a Beginner's Guide to Single Malts with 10 pages filled with lots of useful
information for (relative) beginners and the 'Distillery Data' section has profiles for over a hundred malt whisky distilleries.
Clicking on one of the links below will take you directly to the distillery profile of that particular whisky distillery in Scotland.
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