Monday, 24 October 2011

Climbing The Cocktail Ladder

If any bartender tells you they started off drinking Manhattans and Dry Martinis, chances are they're lying.  At the top of the cocktail food chain, both of these drinks present a dry and potent taste.  The first time I made a Manhattan was shorty after turning 19 (legal drinking age in Canada).  I stirred up 2 ounces crown royal, 1 ounce sweet vermouth, 2 dahes of angustora and garnished with a cherry.  The potency of this tipple was far to over powering for my plate.  To compensate for such a strong drink, I topped it up with ginger ale and dubbed it a "Bronx" (I still find this hilarious and ironic to this day).  I have no shame in admitting that my first cocktail I enjoy included vodka, apple liqueur, melon liqueur, lemon and pineapple juice.  A far cry from the approach of today's cocktails of fresh and home made ingredients.

It is easy to forget that not everyone you encounter enjoys the same drinks as you.  While you may adore your newest creation of fernet, chartreuse and zirbenz, to put it frankly, it is an acquired taste.  I have arranged a five tier system of cocktails.  In every tier are several different styles of drinks.  All of which carry one thing in common, their intensity of alcohol.  Also taken into account is the powerful flavors of certain liqueurs and amaros.  Campari my be relativity low in alcohol, but it does take an experienced palate to appreciate its bitter flavor.  Each tier will highlight two cocktails with full recipes as well as the steps to make each cocktails.  In addition, a list of five cocktails is included for you to explore as you please.  I plan on expanding these lists in future blog posts.


Level 1

Level 1 is -for the most part- the least complicated of all tiers.  Consisting mostly of highball style drinks, level 1 consists of light drink that everyone can enjoy.


Dark & Stormy
- 2 oz Dark Rum
- 0.25 oz Lime Juice
- Ginger Beer

- Add rum and lime juice to collins glass
- Fill with cracked ice and top with ginger beer
- Gently stir to mix ingredients
- Garnish with a lime wheel and straw

The Dark & stormy is a example of a great highball.  All three ingredients work in perfect harmony.  Try switching the rum for a mild blended scotch, this makes for a cocktail called a "Mamie Taylor".


Ramos Gin Fizz
- 2 oz Gin
- 0.5 oz Lime Juice
- 0.5 oz Lemon Juice
- 0.5 oz Half & Half Cream
- 0.5 oz Simple Syrup
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 6 Drops Orange Flower Water
- 1 Egg White

- Add egg white and cream to mixing tin
- Add all remaining ingredients to separate mixing glass
- Pour together indigents
- Froth with a cappuccino frothier for approximately 1 minute
- Add cubed ice and shake!
- Keep shaking
- Keep shaking
- Strain into a collins glass or stem-less wine glass
- Top with Soda water

Ramos Gin Fizz

The Ramos Gin Fizz is a bartender's worst nightmare.  Original accounts of this drink call for 15 minutes of shaking!  The use of a cappuccino frothier helps speed this process along.  Two minutes of shaking will suffice.  This is the most complicated recipe and method to making a classic cocktail you will ever come across.  It only gets easier from here.

I have bumped the gin content in this drink up to 2 ounces (original calls for 1.5 ounces).  That is just my personal preference so feel free to adjust as you see fit.

Additional Level 1 Cocktails
- Gin & Tonic
- Fernet & Cola
- El Diabolo
- Tom Collins
- Pimm's Cup

Level 2

The frozen fruit concoctions of most drinking establishments would fall into the level 2 category.  Here are a few level 2 drinks with a bit more sophistication than what you will find at your local Earl's.

Gin Basil Smash
- 2 oz Gin
- 0.75 oz Lime Juice
- 0.75 oz Simple Syrup
- 8 - 10 Basil Leaves

- Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker
- Add ice and shake hard to break up basil
- Double Strain into ice-filled rocks glass
- Garnish with fresh sprig of basil

The Gin Basil Smash has gained massive popularity since its inception in 2008 at the Le Lion Bar in Hamburg.  A creation of bartender Jorg Meyer, the Gin Basil Smash is a wonderfully refreshing drink.

Gin Basil Smash


Whisky Sour
- 2 oz Whisky (Personal preference)
- 0.75 - 1 oz Lemon Juice (To taste)
- 0.5 oz Simple syrup
- 1 Dash Angostura Bitters
- 1 Egg White

- Add egg white to mixing tin
- Add all remaining ingredients
- Dry shake
- Add ice and shake
- Double strain into chilled rocks glass

The Whisky Sour falls under the category of a "Sour" style drink, 4 parts spirit, 2 parts sour, 1 part sweet.  Most cocktails that I consider to be a level 2 drink tend to follow this DNA.  Another more well know example of a sour is the Daiquiri.  Try experimenting with different flavor combinations with these measurements to discover some great cocktails of your own.

The whisky sour is one of those cocktails that may need a bit of adjustment in one department or another.  Some do really like their whisky sours on the sour side, others a bit sweet.  My self, I like it somewhere in the middle.  The type of whisky you choose can also makes a big difference, and you may have to adjust your citrus and sugar accordingly.

Additional Level 2 Cocktails
- Pisco Sour
- Daiquiri
- Cosmopolitan
- Clover Club
- Mojito

Level 3


Most drinks you will encounter are to be what I consider a level 3 intensity.  The Margarita, Sidecar, Pegu Club etc.  Level 3 sees the addition of some of the more unusual liqueurs and spirits. Below is a selection of some lesser know cocktails that can be easily made and enjoyed.

20th Century 
- 1.5 oz Gin
- 0.75 oz Lillet Blanc
- 0.5 oz Creme De Cacao
- 0.75 oz Lemon Juice

- Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker
- Add ice and shake
- Double Strain into chilled cocktail glass
- Garnish with lemon twist

20th Century 


Treacle
- 2 oz Dark Rum
- 0.25 oz Simple Syrup
- 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
- 0.5 oz Apple Juice

- Add rum, bitters and simple syrup to ice-filled rocks glass
- Gently stir for 20 seconds
- Top with ice and float Apple juice atop of cocktail

Additional Level 3 Cocktails
- Last Word
- Trader Vic's Mai tai
- Knicker Bocker

Level 4

Martinez
- 2oz Sweet Vermouth
- 1 oz Old Tom Gin
- 1 Barspoon Maraschino Liqueur
- 1 Dash Angostura Bitters 

- Add all ingredients into mixing glass
- Add ice and stir
- Strain into chilled cocktail glass
- Garnish with lemon or orange zest

Martinez
The Martinez sits on the fence of level 3 and 4.  While an abundant amount of vermouth makes for a cocktail relatively low in booze, it is the taste of the vermouth its self that may take some getting use to.  Those who do not like wine will find this cocktail a bit of a challenge to enjoy.


Negroni
- 1 oz Gin
- 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
- 1 oz Campari

- Add all ingredients to mixing glass
- Add ice and stir
- Strain into either a chilled cocktail glass or ice filled rocks glass (Personal preference)
- Flame orange zest to garnish

The negroni has to be once of the most well know cocktails.  All cocktail geeks and bartenders adore this cocktail, but we also all enjoy this cocktail differently.  Some enjoy it on the rocks while others enjoy it up.  Some prefer a lemon while others prefer an orange zest.  And not everyone enjoys their negroni in equal parts gin, vermouth and campari.  Feel free to adjust the ingredient's proportions to your liking. 

Additional Level 4 Cocktails
- Mint Julep
- Brandy Crusta
- Boulevardier
- East Indian Cocktail
- Honeymoon Cocktail

Level 5

Level 5 is the zenith of cocktails.  Consisting entirely of stirred, potent cocktails, these drinks are not for the faint of heart.  While Mr. Bond may have glorified the Martini as a drink that can be drunk by the liter, these are definitely sipping cocktails.

Toronto
- 2 oz Rye Whisky
- 0.5 oz Fernet Branca 
- 0.25 oz Rich Simple Syrup
- 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters

- Add all ingredients to mixing glass
- Add ice and stir
- Strain into chilled cocktail glass
- Garnish with orange zest

Toronto

Vancouver
- 1.5 oz Gin
- 0.75 oz Sweet Vermouth
- 0.25 oz Benedictine
- 2 Dashes Orange Bitters

- Add all ingredients to mixing glass
- Add ice and stir
- Strain into chilled cocktail glass
- Garnish with orange zest

Addition Level 5 Drinks
- Sazerac
- Manhattan
- Old-Fashioned
- Hanky-Panky
- Vesper


This list merely serves as a guide line to those looking to explore additional cocktails that suit their taste.  No cocktails within a level will be the exact same potency, but will feel free to adjust the ingredients to suit what you enjoy.  Let that be a rule for all drinks as well.  Don't let anyone tell you how you should enjoy a cocktail.  Whether you like your Martinis 2:1 or 8:1, don't let anyone else's cocktail snobbery let you enjoy your drink the way you like it.

Mixology Monday: Morning Drinks

We all know the saying, "breakfast is the most important meal of the day," and I'm not going to argue.  I love breakfast.  I could eat a heaping plat of french toast, bacon, eggs and harsh browns for the every meal of the day for the rest of my life.  The only problem with this -setting health problems aside- is the time consuming preparation.  There has to be a more simple way to create an equally tasty meal with out all the work.
This month's Mixology Monday hosted by Kevin at Cocktail Enthusiast has done exactly that, liquid breakfast.  The idea of breakfast cocktails is really nothing new.  Considering that cocktails were once meant to be consumed in the morning, we are simply bringing the morning tipple to the 21st century with some modern techniques.  I've attempted to utilize all my favorite breakfast dishes that were mentioned about, that is, without going as far as making a potato liqueur...gross.


6:00 AM Sour
- 2 oz Bacon Washed Bourbon *
- 1 oz Orange Juice
- 0.5 oz AAA Maple Syrup
- 2 Dashes Acid Phosphate
- 1 Dash Angostura Bitters
- 1 Egg White
- Black Pepper Garnish

- Add egg white to mixing tin
- Add remaining ingredients to mixing glass
- Dry shake
- Add ice and shake
- Double strain into chilled rocks glass
- Garnish with fresh ground black pepper



Bacon Washed Bourbon *
- Cook 8 bacon strips in oven in a glass pan until bacon is extra crispy
- Eat bacon.
- Pour liquid bacon fat into a mason jar (make sure fat is cool but still liquid)
- Pour 500 ml of Bourbon into mason jar
- Give mason jar a good shake and place jar in freezer
- Remove mason jar from freezer after 4 hours
- With a spoon, break the solidified layer of fat that has formed at the top
- Strain bourbon through a cheese cloth (or coffee filter will do)
- Bottle bourbon and enjoy bacony goodness


If only it was socially expectable to start every morning with a breakfast like this.  Thanks to Kevin at Cocktail Enthusiast for hosting this month's MxMo.  Remember, help spread the word of MxMo via any outlet possible.  Facebook, twitter, carrier pigeon, just try to get as many people involved as we can!  Follow me on twitter at @Spirit_Imbibing

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Art of The Cocktail 2011: Recap

This past weekend was host to Victoria's 3rd annual Art of The Cocktail.  Canada's first festival recognizing cocktail culture for more then just a vehicle for alcohol. This three day festival holds various seminars with some of the industry's brightest minds from the bar and spirit world.

Day one was a packed with events.  To begin, "A long and mysterious Histroy of Bitters" hosted by Manuel Dias Barreira on behalf of Bitter Truth.  Diving deep into the history of bitters, Manuel took us through the once medicinal nature of bitters, all the way to its current use in modern cocktails.  Along side, we talked about the various liqueurs equally rich in history, including: Benedictine and Chartreuse.  An array of recently reborn liqueurs courtesy of  bitter truth were sampled including, creme de violete, pimento dram, sloe gin, pink gin, apricot liqueur and Elixir, a sweet vermouth that rivals Antica Formula is quality. Those lucky enough to attend had the opportunity to purchase the Bitter Truth travel pack.



Next was the home bartender's competition. The theme of herbs resulted in five wonderful creations by five passionate cocktail enthusiasts.  For the competition I decided to focus on one main herb.  Thyme was the focal point of my cocktail. Detailed in a recipe below, "Caught Some Where in Thyme" incorporates several advance techniques resulting in a classic style cocktail with a few modern twists.  This was my first competition, while I was expecting a larger crowd, similar to last year's professional bartender's competition, it was some what of a relief to only have to compete in front of 20 or so people.  To judge the performance and cocktails of the participants were; Simon Ogden, head bartender of Veneto Tapa Louge, Darcy O'neil, molecular pathologist, author of fix the pumps and website, Art of Drink, lastly, Peter Hunt, master distiller of Victoria Spirits rounded off the judging panel.  Here is a look at my performance for the event.

video


Caught Somewhere In Thyme
- 1.5 oz Sazerac 6 Year Old
- 0.75 oz Thyme & Lemon Infused Dry Vermouth
- 0.25 oz Strega
- 0.25 oz Thyme Syrup *
- 2 Dashes Peychaud's Bitters
- Thyme Lemon Foam **
- Absinthe



- Toast thyme on wooden plank (or cutting board) with absinthe
- Cover smoked time with cocktail glass
- Add all liquid ingredients to mixing glass
- Add ice and stir
- Strain into smoked cocktail glass
- Add a 1/2 inch layer of thyme lemon foam
- Garnish with fresh sprig of thyme



Janice Mansfield, owner of House Made won over the judge's palates with her cocktail, Healthy, Wealthy and Wise.  An in-depth round up of Janice's cocktail can be found at her blog, Housemade.ca

Thyme Syrup *
- Place 2 cup of water and 2 cups of thyme (whole) in a pot over medium heat
- Boil thyme water until water has turned a green hue
- Strain out time
- Place 1 cup (make sure you have some thyme water left over, you need it for the foam) and 1 cup sugar in a pot over low heat until all sugar has dissolved
- Let cool, bottle and refrigerate

Thyme Foam **
- 6 oz Thyme Syrup
- 3 oz Lemon Juice
- 2 oz Thyme Water
- 4 Eggs Whites
- 1 Packet of Whip It, Whip cream stabilizer

- Dissolve whip it in lemon juice and syrup
- Add all ingredients to isi whip cream maker
- Double charge and chill for a minimum of 2 hours


The evening ended with the grand tasting.  Hundreds poured into Crystal Gardens in downtown Victoria to taste the best food and drink the west coast has to offer.  A few memorable sips came from the CPBA booth, Cariel Vodka and Solomon Siegel's Riato, a mixture of gin, lychee liqueuer, lemon juice, lapsang souchong syrup and chocolate bitters.

Day two begin with my absolute favorite presenter and personality, Philip Duff.  Boarding on a mixture of a standup routine and informative seminar, Philip's "Going Against the Grain" allowed us to taste strain corn, wheat, rye, malted barley distilled along with spirits incorporating them.  Some of the highlights of the seminar included the opportunity to taste old pure malt Geneva and a recreation of Irish whisky from the 1800s.

Pur Malt Geneva

To cap off the day, a panel discussion of in-house vs. Store bought products was debated between Danielle Tatarin of Keefer Bar, Trevor Kallies of the Donnelly Group, Cameron Bogue of Earl's New York and Craig James of Fetimains Cola.  All participates brought up valid point on both sides of the argument, including: health and safety of customers, consistency and final cost (calculating time and product cost to make things such as house made ginger beer and syrups.)  While it may be difficult to win over a room full of bartenders, Craig of Fetimians brought up some very valid points.  In the end everyone agreed that a balance of house made and pre-bought is necessary.  After all,  Fetimians does make superb products, of which the ginger beer and tonic water are two I always keep on hand.

Art of The Cocktail G&T
- 2 oz G'Vine Floraison
- 0.25 oz Lime Juice
- 1 Dashes Bitter Truth Celery Bitters
- 4 oz Fetimians Tonic water

- Add all ingredients to a highball glass filled with cracked ice
- Gently stir to combined ingredients
- Garnish with lime twist


The last seminar of the weekend was hosted by Ron Cooper of Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal.  "The spirituality of Mezcal" included a tasting of Del Maguey Vida and five single village mezcals.  Ron detailed the production of each mezcal along with various stories, including how he fell in love with mezcal and a brief history of distillation in Mexico.  To learn more about some of these single Mezcals, here is a link to a tasting I participated in at Clive's this past July.  Mezcal Tasting

Ron Cooper of Del Maguey


The event Art of The Cocktail indefinitely ended with a bang, flames and all.  This event was the Professional Bartender's Competition.  Nine bartenders from across the northwest took to the stage at the Veneto Tapa Lounge to display their most innovative creations utilizing the theme of "Farmer's Market Fresh."  After nine creative concoctions were presented to the four judges the three medalists were announced.  In 3rd place, Ryan Malcolm of Glo with a twist of the Old Fashioned that included vodka and a blueberry eau de vie of questionable legality.  2nd went to Nate Caudle of Clive's Classic Lounge with his carbonated bottled cocktail, Old Thyme Prairie Berry Fizz .  In 1st place, Josh Boudreau of Veneto Tapa Lounge took home the gold this his cocktail "The Headless Horseman".

Veneto's Josh Bourdreau

Old Thyme Prairie Berry Fizz (Nate Caudle)
- 1 oz Dobonnet Rouge
- 1 oz Thyme Infused Tanqueray
- 1 oz Lemon Juice
- 1 oz Sweetened Saskatoon Berry Juice
- 1 oz Water

- Build in perlini system over ice
- Carbonate perlini system with C02 Charger until full
- Shake
- Let settle for minimum 10 seconds
- Unscrew cap of perlini to release gasses
- Pour into Vessel of Choice

*Recipe courtesy of Clivesclassiclounge.com


The weekend undoubtedly stood up to my expectations.  Exceptional seminars, a fabulous grand tasting and great drinking company made for a unforgettable weekend (not many can say the same considering some of the nasty hang-overs that ensued).  Thanks most of all to those at Art of The Cocktail who helped assemble an outstanding event.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Classic Cocktail of The Month: Hanky Panky

In the 1920s, the London cocktail sense was at its Zenith of the 20th century.  Four thousand miles across the Atlantic, yankee bartenders were fleeing by the boat-loads to this new euphoria of cocktail culture.  The epicenter of this cocktail craze was the Savoy Hotel.  Since it's inception in 1893, The American Bar at the Savoy had always had a reputation of serving the utmost of prestigious drinks.  Before the famous Harry Cradock tendered bar, it was Ada Coleman who was the face of The American Bar.  The drink that Ada has left with us is the now cult favorite, Hanky-Panky.  Created for Sir Charles Hawtrey, a regular customer of Ada's who had been on a daunting work schedule and need a cocktail to wake him up.  After hours of experimentation with various concoctions,  Ada finally had created the cocktail she would eventually be remembered for.  Upon Charles' next visit to The American Bar Ada presented him with a Hanky-Panky After one sip of this new elixir, Sir Charles Hawtrey proclaimed in excitement, "By Jove! That is the real Hanky-Panky."

In the early 1900s the term Hanky-Panky had an entirely different meaning then today's slang for sexual mischief.  Associated with the act of a magician waving a handkerchief in order to distract viewers while the illusionist preformed his dazzling magical display.

Hanky-Panky
- 1.5 oz G'Vine Nouaison
- 1.5 oz Camparo Antica Formula
- 2 Dashes Fernet Branca
- Orange Zest

- Add gin, vermouth and fernet to mixing glass
- Add ice and stir
- Garnish with orange zest



The Hanky-Panky is one of those really simple three ingredient cocktails, almost like, the bigger tougher brother of the Martini.  Like the martini, with few ingredients, it is easily done improperly by tipping the scale only slightly in one direction or another.  Sticking to the simple three ingredient DNA, my variation isn't a far cry from the original.


Barrel Aged Hanky-Panky
- 3 oz G'Vine Barrel Aged Hanky-Panky
- Orange Zest

- Add cocktail to mixing glass
- Add ice and stir
- Garnish with orange zest




Okay, okay.  So maybe I cheated a bit with this month's variation, none the less, it's still a variation.  With the barrel aged fad in full swing, nearly any major city in North America is sure to have at least one establishment flaunting barrel aged cocktails.  For example, here in Victoria B.C. , with a population of approximately 330 000, Clive's Classic Lounge boasts a rotating selection of three different barrel aged cocktails.  Currently a rye barrel Blackthorn, rum barrel Toronto and California zinfandel Sazerac hold spots in Clive's cocktail menu.

Aged for 8 weeks in new French oak the G'Vine Nouasion aged Hanky-Panky has a definite rosemary and oak note.  The vermouth has slightly oxidized, letting the gin have center stage.  The barrel doesn't necessarily make for a better cocktail, it makes for a different cocktail. While it's hard to decide which tipple is superior, there is a clear difference between the two, both of which having unique qualities.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Blind Tasting: Canadian Whisky

Canadian whisky's role in the spirit world is generally portrayed as cheap liquor that is to be mix with soda to quickly achieve the physically effects of alcohol. With little to no recognition from whisky connoisseurs, Canadian whisky falls victim to it's own reputation. Little innovation in the industry has locked Canadian whisky into a stand still of producing the same "brown vodka" for the larger consumer base of drinkers. Canadian whisky's questionable quality makes people reluctant to spending more then they're usual $23.75 on a bottle. With most single malts and high end bourbons fetching $50 plus a bottle, it is no surprise that the Canadian whisky industry wishes to get a piece of that very large, expensive pie. Being that the "premium" spirit market is the fastest growing sector of the spirit industry we are seeing a rapid increase in Canadian whisky tipping the scales as high as $175 a bottle, but can any of these whiskies really compare to the quality of fine single malt scotch and bourbon?

I've selected 7 Canadian whiskies to compare in a blind taste test, all of which were tasted neat in a Glencairn glass.  The Whiskies were marked in four categories: aroma, taste, finish and balance of flavors.  All categories took into account complexity, presents of alcoholic burn and an over all impression of that specific attribute.  Each whisky was tasted blind twice, in a random order.  The scores from each categories were averaged and a total was assembled.  Remember these scores are only my opinion.  The whiskies chosen were as followed:

Alberta Premium 5 Year Old

Price: $24

Aroma: Various berries (Strawberry, raspberry, blackberry,) brown sugar, vanilla, apples, cinnamon, carmel, sherry.
20/25 

Taste: Creme brulee, bitter chocolate, pecan, maple, oak, vanilla
21/25

Finish: Short, Sweet, slightly weak.
20/25

Balance: The youth in this whisky is still present but an other wise well balanced dram with sweetness, spice and a good complexity.
21/25

Total: 82/100


Alberta Premium 30 Year Old












Price: $50

Aroma: Banana, Cinnamon, nutmeg, strawberry, vanilla, brown sugar, coco, maple
22.5/25

Taste: Cinnamon, strawberry, raspberry, leather, carmel, sherry
24/25

Finish:Medium length, sweet with a slight spice.
24/25

Balance:  Wonderfully balance with a multitude of flavors layered over top of one another.
24/25

Total: 94.5/100



Crown Royal












Price: $26

Aroma: Orange peel, lemon, cinnamon, nutmeg, apple, maple
19/25

Taste: Orange peel, banana, vanilla, tobacco, maple, oak
20/25

Finish: Mild, sweet, short.
19/25

Balance: Reasonably balance, slightly sweet, with a bit too much of a alcohol presents.
21/25

Total: 79/100


Crown Royal Special Reserve












Price: $55

Aroma: Creme brulee, honey, orange zest, lemon zest brown sugar, vanilla, banana
23/25

Taste: Orange Zest, Black pepper, pumpkin pie, lots of floral notes, juniper
23.5/25

Finish: Long, mild finish.  Dry to begin but leaves a sweet maple taste at the very end.
24/25

Balance: Very balance, many different flavors present. Bit on the dry side but nearly perfectly balanced.
24.5/25

Total: 96/100


Forty Creek Barrel Select












Price: $25

Aroma: Raisin, coffee, bell pepper, nutmeg, brown sugar, maple, dark chocolate. complex and subtle
21/25

Taste: Cinnamon, anise, raisin, maple, banana, herbal, coffee, tobacco, butterscotch
21/25

Finish: Medium length finish, slightly sweet and dry at the very end.
21.5/25

Balance: Sweet but a bit rough around the edges, none the less a great whisky.
20/25

Total: 83.5/100


Forty Creek Confederation Oak












Price: $70

Aroma: Carmel, honey, butter, toffee, marzipan, dark chocolate, maple
21.5/25

Taste: Campfire ashes, honey, cinnamon, creme brulee, carmel, apples, oak, maple, bitter lime
22/25

Finish: Short, mild, slightly dry and floral to conclude.
23/25

Balance: Wonderfully balanced whisky with lots of sweet notes.  A nice hint of smoke and fruit rounds off this great whisky.
23/25

Total: 89.5/100


Wiser's 18 Year Old












Price: $50

Aroma: Juniper, bell pepper, nutmeg, maple, brown sugar
23.5/25

Taste: Butterscotch, carmel, raisin, maple, orange zest, floral, burn toast
23.5/25

Finish: Very strong, long finish.  Begins sweet and tappers into a floral, dry ending.
22.5

Balance: No one element stands out in this whisky.  Every compliments one another and is a perfect example of a balanced whisky.
25/25

Total: 94.5/100


After 2 weeks of tasting some great -and some adequate- Canadian whiskies, I really came around to appreciating the true qualities that these spirits possess.  While I will still prefer a Scotch over a Canadian whisky the majority of the time, there are certain occasion that I do find my self craving a good Canadian whisky.

Sadly, even with the handful of spectacle Canadian whiskies currently on the market, I can't help but think, why is there such a lack of regulations governing what is and what isn't Canadian whisky?  Here are some fun facts,  Canadian whisky may include "Carmel and Flavoring," as well as up to 9% of fortified wine. There is also no cap to distillation limits, meaning, a distiller may distill the majority of the whisky used in the final product to 180 proof and above!  Essentially what you are getting is aged vodka with a dash of genuine pot still whisky.  The lack of regulation governing Canadian Whisky is truly detrimental to the over all industry.  If Canadian whisky is to ever see a turn around of reputation, laws must be set into place in order to dictate for a higher quality product.  Regulation similar to the Scotch and Bourbon industry need to be used as a model to direct Canadian Whisky in the proper direction.  Age statements, no addition coloring or flavoring, caps on distillation proof and sticker barrel regulation would be just a start.