Taste of the North: Discovering Best Canadian Whiskies in 2024

Peng Lin

22 November, 2023

Let's dive into the world of Canadian whiskey, where each bottle tells a story of tradition and innovation. This blog is your gateway to understanding what makes Canadian whiskey a standout in the world of spirits. We'll explore everything from the classic rye flavors to the meticulous aging processes that give these whiskeys their unique character. Whether you're a connoisseur or new to this amber delight, join us as we journey through Canada's proud whiskey heritage and discover some of the best bottles out there.

Table Of Contents:

  1. Top Canadian Whiskey Picks
  2. Forty Creek Confederation Oak
  3. Canadian Club 100% Rye
  4. J.P. Wiser’s 18 Year Old Blended Canadian Whisky
  5. Lock Stock & Barrel 16 Year
  6. Lot 40 Canadian Rye Whisky
  7. Crown Royal Deluxe
  8. JP Wiser's 15 Year Old
  9. Pike Creek 10 Year Old Rum Barrel Finished
  10. Caribou Crossing Single Barrel Canadian Whisky
  11. Gooderham & Worts 49 Wellington
  12. LOT NO. 40 Dark Oak Rye Whiskey
  13. Alberta Premium Cask Strength Canadian Rye
  14. WhistlePig PiggyBack 100% Rye Aged 6 Years
  15. Chicken Cock Cotton Club Rye Whiskey Aged 20 Years
  16. Pendleton Midnight Blended Canadian Whiskey
  17. Barrell Craft Whiskey Gray Label 24 Years
  18. BEARFACE Canadian Whisky Elementally Aged Triple Oak
  19. Final Thoughts

Top Canadian Whiskey Picks

Canadian whiskey, renowned for its distinct and varied flavor profiles, has been a source of pride and craftsmanship in Canada for generations. In 2023, the tradition continues with an exciting array of whiskies that showcase the best of Canadian distilling. Let's explore some of the top picks for this year, each with its own unique story and taste.

Forty Creek Confederation Oak

Forty Creek Confederation Oak is notable for its unique use of Canadian oak barrels, which are denser than American oak, resulting in a richer and smoother whiskey. The flavor profile is complex, with layered notes of vanilla, butterscotch, and black fruits, leading to a subtly spiced finish. This whiskey is a celebration of Canadian heritage, showcasing a full-bodied and harmonious blend that evolves elegantly on the palate.

Canadian Club 100% Rye

Crafted from single grain rye, Canadian Club 100% Rye is distilled and aged in seasoned oak barrels, offering a pure and robust rye profile. Its character is defined by bold cereal spiciness, complemented by undertones of green apple and butterscotch. This whiskey is remarkably smooth despite its intensity, making it a versatile choice for both sipping neat and in rye-based cocktails.

J.P. Wiser’s 18 Year Old Blended Canadian Whisky

This blend, aged for 18 years, combines multiple grains, including a significant rye component, which imparts a delicate spiciness. The extended aging in oak barrels lends it a deep amber color and a rich texture. Expect a bouquet of toasted grains, ripe fruit, and subtle oak, leading to a palate that is elegantly smooth, balancing sweetness with a gentle spice. This whiskey is a great example of the smooth and refined character Canadian whiskies are known for.

Lock Stock & Barrel 16 Year

Aged for 16 years in American oak barrels, this whiskey offers a rich and full-bodied flavor profile. It's characterized by a deep, complex blend of caramel, dark fruits, and a hint of tobacco and leather. The aging process in American oak adds a unique twist, lending a slightly different character compared to typical Canadian whiskeys, with more pronounced oak and vanilla notes.

Lot 40 Canadian Rye Whisky

Lot 40 is renowned for being a 100% rye grain whiskey, offering a bold and spicy character typical of Canadian rye. It features a vibrant mix of pepper, cinnamon, and dark fruit notes, with a long and warming finish. The whiskey's robust flavor profile makes it a favorite among rye enthusiasts and is often celebrated for its authenticity and traditional rye characteristics.

Crown Royal Deluxe

Crown Royal Deluxe, a blend of fifty distinct whiskies, is known for its unparalleled smoothness and versatility. This whiskey presents a balanced blend of creamy vanilla, light fruit, and subtle spice, wrapped in a velvety texture. It is aged in both seasoned and new oak barrels, which contributes to its complexity and smoothness, making it a popular choice for a wide range of whiskey drinkers.

JP Wiser's 15 Year Old

JP Wiser's 15 Year Old is a blend of corn and rye whiskies, offering a harmonious blend of rich oak and sweet grain flavors. Aged for 15 years, it features a delightful mix of caramel, vanilla, and a hint of apple, with a depth and complexity that comes from its extended aging. This whiskey is known for its balance and smoothness, making it a refined choice for sipping.

Pike Creek 10 Year Old Rum Barrel Finished

This unique whiskey is finished in rum barrels, which imparts exotic notes of molasses, tropical fruit, and a hint of spice. The base whiskey, aged for 10 years, is smooth and mellow, with the rum barrel aging adding a unique sweetness and warmth. This finishing process makes Pike Creek 10 Year Old stand out for its innovative and distinctive flavor profile, blending traditional Canadian whiskey characteristics with exotic rum influences.

Caribou Crossing Single Barrel Canadian Whisky

Caribou Crossing is known for being one of the first Canadian single barrel whiskeys. Each barrel is hand-selected for its unique characteristics, resulting in a whiskey that's rich and full-bodied with notes of vanilla, honey, and a touch of oak. The single barrel selection ensures that each bottle offers a unique and individual tasting experience, reflecting the distinct qualities of the barrel it was aged in.

Gooderham & Worts 49 Wellington

Named after the historic distillery address, this whiskey is a blend of grains including corn, rye, wheat, and barley. It offers a complex and layered profile, with a rich texture and diverse flavor palette that includes notes of cereal, dried fruit, and a hint of baking spice. This whiskey is a tribute to the rich distilling heritage of Gooderham & Worts, and it stands out for its complexity and well-rounded finish.

LOT NO. 40 Dark Oak Rye Whiskey

LOT NO. 40 Dark Oak is a bolder and more intense version of the classic Lot No. 40. The additional aging in charred oak barrels intensifies the flavors, adding depth and complexity. The result is a robust whiskey with pronounced notes of dark chocolate, caramel, and a smoky undertone. This whiskey is a great choice for those who enjoy a more intense and flavor-forward rye whiskey.

Alberta Premium Cask Strength Canadian Rye

This cask strength whiskey showcases the pure, unadulterated character of Canadian rye at its most intense. It's bold and robust, with a rich tapestry of flavors including dark fruit, caramel, and a bold rye spice. The high proof adds to its robustness, making it a powerful and flavor-packed experience, ideal for those who appreciate a stronger whiskey.

WhistlePig PiggyBack 100% Rye Aged 6 Years

WhistlePig PiggyBack is a relatively young whiskey, aged for 6 years, but it brings a lively and spicy profile typical of a 100% rye grain composition. It's packed with flavors of fresh grain, pepper, and a hint of mint, making it ideal for rye-forward cocktails or for those who enjoy a more spirited and vibrant whiskey.

Chicken Cock Cotton Club Rye Whiskey Aged 20 Years

This 20-year-old rye whiskey is a rare find in the Canadian whiskey world. It offers an exceptional depth of flavor, with a rich array of vanilla, oak, and a subtle smokiness. The two decades of aging have mellowed its rye spiciness, resulting in an extraordinarily smooth and refined whiskey, a true gem for collectors and connoisseurs.

Pendleton Midnight Blended Canadian Whiskey

Pendleton Midnight is a blend that combines the best qualities of Canadian whiskey. It is rich in vanilla, caramel, and a hint of citrus, offering an exceptionally smooth and approachable profile. It's a versatile whiskey that can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails, making it suitable for a wide range of whiskey drinkers.

Barrell Craft Whiskey Gray Label 24 Years

This 24-year-old whiskey is a masterpiece of aging and blending. The finishing in sherry and XO Armagnac casks adds an extraordinary depth of flavor, with layers of dried fruit, nuts, and a luxurious richness. The dual cask finish adds an elegant complexity and a unique character, making it a whiskey connoisseur's dream.

BEARFACE Canadian Whisky Elementally Aged Triple Oak

BEARFACE takes a unique approach with its triple oak aging process, involving a mix of American, French, and Hungarian oak. This method creates a multifaceted flavor profile, with notes of vanilla, toasted almonds, and a hint of smokiness. It's a modern twist on traditional Canadian whiskey, offering a rich and dynamic tasting experience.

Final Thoughts

As our journey through the diverse and captivating world of Canadian whiskey comes to a close, it's clear that each bottle we've explored is more than just a spirit—it's a story. From the robust and spicy rye whiskies to the smooth, aged blends, each selection from 2023's top Canadian whiskies offers a unique window into the heart and soul of Canada's distilling heritage.

Whether you're drawn to the bold character of a cask strength rye or the elegant complexity of a decades-aged blend, there's a Canadian whiskey to match every palate and occasion. These whiskies are not just to be sipped; they're to be savored, contemplated, and celebrated. So, raise your glass to the craftsmen and craftswomen behind these exceptional spirits and to the delightful journey of discovery that Canadian whiskey provides. Until next time, cheers to the spirit of the North!

Peng Lin

Peng Lin

Peng, a dynamic entrepreneur and founder of DKK, VIVA, and Liiton, has built customer-centric companies with three successful crowdfunding campaigns, skillfully developing unique products for style-conscious consumers while mastering product-market fit, and currently resides in Toronto with his family, continually pushing entrepreneurial boundaries.