Immigrant farmers of Irish and Scottish heritage developed Canadian whisky in the late 18th century. Without the means for traditional processing, alternative distilling practices were incorporated to give Canadian whisky its individual, characteristic flavor. Produced on the basis of cereal grains, the dominant, base ingredient is typically corn, with rye, wheat and barley being used as blending agents to produce a distinctive flavor. The actual recipe of a brand, in particular the portion of each of the cereal grains used, is what characterizes the whisky and sets it apart from its contemporaries. Canadian whisky also uses the unique process of clean heat, which eliminates the smoky flavor found in Scotch whisky. The vast majority of Canadian whisky is distilled in column or continuous stills to produce a very neutral, light product that is free of many of the congeners found in Bourbon and Scotch. The young whisky is then aged for a minimum of three years, in re-charred oak Bourbon barrels before the filtering and blending stages. Depending on the individual recipe, the flavoring whiskies used for blending may be produced in either pot or column stills, creating tastes that are both diverse and exceptional.
Canadian whisky is a light, smooth and highly crafted product. As a result, there is a wide variety of ways that Canadian whisky can be enjoyed. Many take pleasure in sipping a dram served neat, as you would with J.P. Wiser’s Rye Whisky premium whisky. Others enjoy popular mixtures that incorporate a consistent, high-quality whisky like Wiser’s for mixed drinks or cocktails such as the Manhattan or “Rye and Ginger”. However you choose to enjoy Canadian whisky, the end result is always the same – pure satisfaction from an age-old quality-crafted creation.
The Irish introduced the art of distilling to Scotland in the late 1100s. By the late 1400s the process of distilling whisky was well established in Scotland, in a style that is reflective of its heritage and regions.
Scotch whisky falls into two major categories: Malt whisky and Blended whisky. The smallest category, but the one with a devout following, is the Single Malt. Single Malt whisky is the product of a single distillery. An authentic malt distillery remains true to its surroundings, using the natural supply of the environment for its ingredients. The whisky is distilled in the same pot stills and aged in oak barrels. This local production is reflected in the taste and flavors produced, making each brand as individual as its distilling locale. With a Single Malt, each brand is a truly unique experience. Blended Scotch whisky is a blend of aged Single Malt whiskies. It starts with the production of a light grain spirit (base whisky), which is placed in oak barrels that have been previously used for bourbon or sherry, and then aged for a minimum of three years. This allows for the development of flavorful congeners and the extraction of wood sugar, color and tannins from the wood. The Master Blender then blends the base whisky with the vatted malt whiskies using honed skills and finely tuned senses to keep the spirit consistent with what customers expect from the brand. Each combination of whiskies produces a multitude of flavors, each distinctively its own. An exceptionally full flavored Scotch blend, its high malt content gives it a rich, robust character, and a beautifully smooth finish. Traditionally Single Malt Scotch is consumed “Straight,” “On the Rocks,” with Soda, or with a splash of water.
By all accounts, the Irish are credited with the first distillation of whiskey, an art discovered in and brought back from Europe by Irish monks somewhere between 400-500 A.D.
Irish whiskey is produced from grain spirits, predominantly unmalted barley, as well as smaller amounts of wheat, rye, and oats. The malt kilning process does not use typical peat fires, but drying ovens and as a result, the distillate does not display any of the peaty, smoky notes of Scotch whiskies. The final product is distilled three times for extra purity and smoothness, therefore making it much lighter than Scotch or Bourbon whiskies.
All Irish whiskies must be aged in oak barrels for a minimum of 3 years, however, most are aged considerably longer. During the aging process, the young whiskey takes on a golden color, with essence of peaches, soft oak flavours and delicate vanilla and caramel notes. When it is aged appropriately, the final step is vatting. The process of vatting differs from blending in that all component whiskies are produced in one distillery. Essentially this stage sees the base whisky and the flavouring whiskies combined in a large vat where the flavours are left to marry for 2-3 weeks before bottling.
Bourbon whiskey has been produced in Bourbon County, Kentucky since the late 1700s. Today, Kentucky accounts for over 95% of the world’s bourbon production, utilizing the pure, iron-free limestone spring water, unique to the region.
Bourbon whiskey is produced from cereal grain with a minimum of 51% corn, and distilled to no more than 80% alcohol strength in order to retain much of the flavouring components. The young whiskey is then reduced to barrel strength and by law, aged in charred oak barrels for no less than 2 years. Interestingly, these once used barrels are re-charred and employed to age Canadian and Scotch whisky. Although some Bourbon is blended, the vast majority is bottled and labelled straight.
- Whisky Flavors -
Straight forward taste
Intense aroma and flavor, yet still delicate
Affecting the nose and mouth
Crisp, yet pleasant
Tasting of hay or herbs
Intense, lightly sweet
Having good balance between aroma and flavor