What better way to enjoy a tipple than in Alberta, in the midst of a blustery, cold, winter’s day (except of course on a beautiful August evening), than a dram of whisky by the fire?
This month, we celebrate quality whisky from around the globe and Canada whether Robbie Burns Day is being celebrated, or you feel like armchair travelling with your spirits.
Milk & Honey Classic Single Malt Whisky, Israel
Lovely nose with deep, saline qualities, honeycomb, and cereal characters. Flavours are well balanced by the 46 percent alcohol, but overall a lean, expressive single malt akin to many from Scotland in a lighter style. Something novel, tasty, and worth trying.
CSPC +832018 $88-95
Hinch 5 Year Old Doublewood Irish Whiskey, Ireland
Big fan of irish whiskies and love seeing how the category is developing. What really captivated here were touches of lemon and floral characteristics with a mild soapy aroma. Runs a little hot in the mouth – perhaps it’s that 43 percent alcohol, but wonderfully balanced and possesses a silkiness on the palate right through the finish. Top shelf!
CSPC +826653 $65-70
Bearface Triple Oak Canadian Whisky, Canada
Earning all sorts of accolades, Bearface in many ways represents the changing realm of Canadian whisky. Though carrying an age statement of 7 years, it is better described through the profound balance of multiple oak sources, various toast levels, and quality of the whisky itself. Rich and smooth with cranberry, honey, and a slightly smoky back palate. Delicious.
CSPC +807202 $40-44
Old Tub Kentucky Straight Bourbon, USA
#TBT! A nostalgic nod to the roots of the Beam family, in Bardstown, Kentucky - aka Bourbon Capital of the World - where it began for them, in 1880. Old Tub is a limited edition four-year old, rustic bourbon, distilled without carbon or chill filtration to be as authentic as possible. It’s warming in the nicest way, with caramel and vanilla notes from the barrels. Some might add ice, but I’d go for it neat - and imagine the old days.
CSPC +1171080 $43-47
Nomad Outland Whisky, Spain
A bit of an unusual spirit starting with a Scottish-made spirit which is then finished using sherry casks – but in Spain. Ultimately delivering a whisky very similar to what we’d expect from Scotland, and at an extremely good price. Smooth and a little spicy with excellent balance. A frequent winner at the Alberta Beverage Awards.
CSPC +778451 $60-70
Glen Allachie 15 Year Old Single Malt Whisky, Scotland
Relatively new to our market, the GlenAllachie is a well-balanced, versatile spirit with roasted cereal characters, toffee and leather and a deep, earthy finish. Packs a little bit of a punch at 46 percent alcohol, but still very smooth from start to finish. Worth keeping on hand for a cool evening.
CSPC +824674 $120-130
Togouchi Japanese Blended Whisky Aged 9 Years, Japan
It’s easy to see why this was a Judges Selection at the 2020 Alberta Beverage Awards – it’s damn good. Clean and lifted cereal notes with a rich, honey-like texture and a bit of spicy heat on the finish. Excellent neat, but a little filtered water opens it up nicely.
CSPC +817269 About $100-115
Kaiyo Mizunara Oak Whisky, Japan
Something more than a little different in Japanese whisky, almost, but not entirely a single malt whisky. It would be classified as blended malt, using a unique oak for the barrels – the Mizunara oak, and spends several months in barrel – at sea, lending unusual factors to the aging. Salty and smoky on the nose and palate with subtle citrus fruit and a long finish. Mind-bogglingly good too.
CSPC + Around $117-125
Canadian Club Classic 12 Year Old Small Batch Canadian Whisky, Canada
The well loved, “classic” expression of Canadian Club, bursting with rich caramel toffee, a mild buttery mouthfeel and barrel-style richness. A little spicy on the palate as expected, but most impressive is how smooth this really is. A bottle that is very easy to reach for whenever the need arises.
CSPC +753143 $33-37
Canadian Club “Chronicles” 43 Year Old Canadian Whisky, Canada
Ok, this is obviously going to be filed under the “special occasion” or gift category of Canadian whisky, but the second release of the Chronicles edition is really quite remarkable. Lifted citrus tones with old leather, toffee and mulling spices, and a touch of brown sugary goodness that comes through on the palate. Too good for mixing, best enjoyed neat or with a splash of water.
CSPC +839750 $295-330
Waterford Distillery Arcadian Organic Gaia, Edition 1.1, Ireland
Three new whiskies from Waterford have landed in Alberta, and they’re all changing our perception of what to expect in an Irish whisky. We knew they’d all be single malts, all barley-forward and terroir-driven, and they’re stunners. My favourite is the Arcadian Organic Gala, a show-stopper with a soft and lip-smacking oiliness, and complex flavours of orange peel, toffee, cocoa nibs, malt, and spice. It’s a contemplative sip…
CSPC + 839002 $106-110