Canadian Whiskey 101
Canadians are no shy drinkers, so it comes as no surprise that they have one of the finest whiskeys on the market.
The modern Canadian whisky industry, without an ‘e,’ came to be in 1799 when a Montréalais, Mr. John Molson, purchased an ex-rum still to distill the large grain surplus coming from the southern Canadian fields.
During the following years, several entrepreneurs started their own distilleries, capitalizing in the French Napoleonic Wars, the American Civil War, and years later Prohibition with illegal rum-running trade to the States. Canadians have always provided their warm spirit wherever it’s needed.
Canada was the first New World country to create laws to protect their whiskey in 1890, which evolved into the regulations we see today, passed in 1875.
Canadian Whisky must be made with Canadian grains, most commonly rye and corn. Producers must use a continuous column still, which renders silken smooth spirits, and the whisky must be aged for a minimum of three years, from which 18 months must be in charred oak barrels, adding complexity to the blend.
Rye brings a spicy flavor to a honeyed corn base for a combination that has become immensely popular. Today, Americans drink as much Canadian whiskey as they do American styles, and there are over 100 Canadian distilleries in operation.The smooth, mildly sweet Canadian malts with hints of warm spices are the very essence of pleasantry; it’s hard not to fall for them.
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