After sampling more than 130 top-rated Canadian whiskies, the nine-member judging panel for the 11th annual Canadian Whisky Awards agree that Canadian Club 43-year-old — Canada’s oldest whisky — is also its very best. A traditional blended Canadian whisky, Canadian Club 43 is elegant and astonishing in its complexity and depth of flavour.
The panel of independent experts also declared Shelter Point Double Barrel Whisky Batch #5 and Two Brewers Release #22 tied for best single malt whisky. For Double Barrel, six barrels of six-year-old whisky spent an additional 75 days in blackberry wine barrels absorbing their fruity tones. Shelter Point Distillery, one of about two dozen single malt distilleries in Canada, is located in Campbell River, B.C., on Vancouver Island.
When beer sales drop off in winter, Canada’s most northerly brewery, Yukon Brewing, makes whisky. Release #22 uses a sour mash process, then the mature whisky is reduced to bottling strength with undistilled sour mash rather than water. Bottled under the Two Brewers label, Release #22 is a rich, creamy dram at 51 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).
—Davin de Kergommeaux
Canadian Club 43, $320
Shelter Point Double Barrel Whisky Batch #5, $80
Two Brewers Release #22, $120
Photo Credit: Canadian Club. Shelter Point Distillery. Yukon Brewing