In general, whisky awards can be a bit confusing and cause the onlooker to be overwhelmed with information because there are so many categories, classes, levels of medals, etc. In an effort made by the organizers to be comprehensive and fair, these events can contribute to information overload for the whisky enthusiast.
The 2011 Canadian Whisky Awards was celebrated on January 19th, 2012, in Vancouver, Canada. I was one of the judges (it's wholly independent, with no compensation flowing to the judges, by the way). The results are in, and guess what? There are several categories like:
- Domestic Market Winners
- Export Market Winners
- Multiple Market Winners
- Overall Winners and Awards of Excellence
That's a lot of info eh? Don't worry if your head starts to spin. I am here to dumb it down, as I am so uniquely qualified to do.
There are two whiskies that emerged for me to be truly noteworthy that I would like you to consider at some point.
Forty Creek John's Private Cask No. 1 won in the category of Canadian Whisky of the Year. I agree.
This whisky is best enjoyed neat. It delivers a rich, full palate of toffee, caramel and spiced ginger, that textures but never offends the tasting experience. This spirit provides plenty of nip to the taste buds, as it is anything but smooth. Recommended for the serious whisky fan.
This is a real gem.
There were five judges plus our chairperson, Davin de Kergommeaux, weighing a great many whiskies.
Canadian Mist Black Diamond was ranked as a silver medalist overall by the other judges, but not by me. If ever there was a gold medalist, I thought this was the one. Priced around $15, this is a steal! What's it taste like?
Big, towering tastes of caramel stung by cinnamon and citrus flavors. Lots of brown sugar and then followed by more citrus elements too. Not what I would call a gentle whisky. Lots, I mean lots of flavor. I enjoyed it neat, but could see it as a great mixer, especially at the modest price point. A detailed review can be found here. Canadian Mist Black Diamond represents great value at a price point of $20 or less.
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So, if you have been wondering about Canadian whisky, the above are two splendid places to start. One at the high end, and the other at the entry level. For more information on these and other Canadian whiskies, please click here.
Copyright © Jason Debly, 2009-2012. All rights reserved. Any and all use is prohibited without permission except for photograph of gold medals. Photograph of medals belongs to Melissa Lao, who holds all copyright to it. It is used in this post with her permission.