Everything Wine And More

Ruth Blakely
 
July 30, 2019 | Ruth Blakely

Two fingers of Whisky please

Whisky, Whiskey, Rye, Bourbon, whatever your preference brown liquor is experiencing a renaissance thanks partly to a renewed interest in classic cocktails and the Millennial generation’s interest in quality craft products. 

When people think of Canadian whisky, Rye is what often comes to mind – Canadian Club for example, is known around the world.  Rye is a signature flavour even though most Canadian whisky also contains large amounts of corn or other ingredients. Distillers across the country are experimenting with a variety of grains to produce their own signature style whether it is the well-known Wayne Gretzky whiskies or the new to the market delicious offerings from the likes of Two Brewers. Named Micro Distillery of the year, what started as a brewery in the Yukon became a distillery in 2009 and their quality malted whisky has now made its way to Alberta 

When you say whisky a lot of people think specifically of Scotch.  Scotch – not surprisingly- comes from Scotland.  It can be blended – like Johnnie Walker or single malt such as Bowmore and prices can vary wildly for either option.  Scotch can be very ‘peaty’ meaning it carries heady aromas of the peat smoke over which the grain is dried. Certain producers, such as Laphroaig are noted for a campfire nose.   Blended Scotch has made a huge comeback with premium brands such as Compass Box offering complex well-made whisky.

Whiskey is what the brown nectar is called in Ireland.  It is triple distilled and peat isn’t part of the recipe for most producers.  Jameson’s owns a massive share of the market thanks to decades of producing a quality product at a reasonable price but top offerings from distillers such as Redbreast with notes of nuts and ginger have added interest to the category.

The biggest growth in the category comes in Bourbon.  This corn based, barrel aged spirit originates in Kentucky and while legally it can be called Bourbon when made elsewhere, more than 90% of Bourbon comes from the Blue Grass State.  Makers Mark is ubiquitous, but the market has seen an explosion of quality offerings.  Michters, Basil Hayden and other small batch offerings may command a higher price tag to offset the cost of production, but it is a worthy investment for your bar.  Think caramel and vanilla! Whether you are drinking it straight, on the rocks or in a whisky sour, there is Bourbon on the shelf that will hit the right notes for you at the right price!

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