After performing our due-diligence the Flaviar team is ready to tell you… Yes! Totally! And we can help you get acquainted.
A Bad Reputation
Brands like Seagrams and Canadian Club are part of a long tradition of… not much. While producing regions like Scotland and the U.S. have put in place strict rules about how their Whisk(e)y can be made and marketed, Canada has taken a decidedly laissez-fare approach. Many Canadian brands don’t even include a mash bill or age on the label. What’s the curious carouser to do?
They can also be distilled to a higher proof than Bourbon, which the government caps at 160. The base spirit for Canadian Whiskies frequently hit proofs around 190 meaning a stronger, but less flavorful foundation.
What goes into them isn’t particularly enchanting, either. Middle America conjures the image of tall, orderly stalks to many minds, but corn is going just as strong up North. Corn and wheat are the primary grains used in Canadian Whisky production, imbuing the feathery, dulcet flavor profiles of those grains to the resulting blend.
In summary, the classic Canadian Whisky is a slightly bland, light and sweet liquor; the store-brand vanilla ice cream of the Whisky world. But the industry is changing. And has a past more interesting than it’s reputation suggests.
There is one ingredient found in many Canadian blends that we haven’t mentioned. The last secret of Saskatchewan’s Special Sauce came with Dutch and German distillers who began adding small amounts of Rye to the mash for a taste of home. This spicy tradition stuck, and carries on to this day, resulting in many labels in Canada bearing the name, Rye.
Then the story we’ve all heard: Prohibition. Bootleggers slipping through fog-choked harbors with crate after crate of fine Canadian gold. And it’s true. With American stock in ruins from 1920-1933 Canada had the only supply on hand, but in reality the volume paled in comparison to normal trade. After Prohibition, however, Canada was there for its American friends with the only barrels of aged Whisky around, and they made a killing. Canadian Whisky was the best selling liquor category in America until as recently as 2010!
And now we’re here. Today. Ready to taste a new generation of producers from the great white north. In a place once known for brown vodka, there are over 30 craft distilleries and counting. Stores are starting to carry whole shelves and sections of reputable Canadian brands you'll be hearing more about.