Saturday, December 15, 2012

Canadian Whisky Suggestions for the Holidays

Well, it is that time of year again.  Holidays are upon us.  Christmas parties, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah observances too.  I am sure I am missing some other world religions and so please feel free to post a comment pointing out my omissions/ignorance.  Oh yeah, and then there are those atheists who do like a good party too.  They belong to a religion too, just one that affirms there is none.

I'm cool with whatever you are into as long as it is tolerant of others.  Okay, I sound preachy, but don't worry, the only sermon you are going to receive concerns holiday whisky recommendations.

Anyway, you know the deal, there are so many parties, the office Christmas party, maybe the service group you belong too (Royal Order of Buffalo type), the guys at the office want to tie one on, the wife has social engagements too, which of course you must politely attend.  Maybe you are a college student, well you just party all the time, even with exams looming.

In spite of our confessional differences, we do have spiritual commonalities   Maybe not the same Holy Spirit, but at least the need for gift giving and the appreciation of heavenly or divine objects: whisky!

What do I buy the boss?  The professor?  The realtor who shaved a point off his commission to get the deal done.  Maybe the doctor that did her job fantastically well (okay the mole was not cancer, but damn, I was scared).  What do you buy all these people that you understand like a little whisky?

Don't worry!  I am full of suggestions.  Today those suggestions are Canadian whisky.  This whisky is generally much loved by everybody because it is not offensive.  The holidays are all about easy, no-muss or fuss.  We want to avoid conflict.  Let's have a good time.  Canadian whisky is a very good choice in that regard.

Crown Royal
Always a safe bet.  Gentle vanilla, honey and oak.  You can't go wrong with this.  Everyone likes it, and it is superior to Canadian Club.   If you have always picked up a bottle, maybe it is time to try something with a little more punch.  Please consider Canadian Club 20 years.

Canadian Club 20 Years
While I am not a fan of the standard bottling of Canadian Club, and have suggested you reach for the Crown Royal as the safest, most mainstream, least offensive whisky flavor profile that comes to mind, that is not to say that you couldn't shake things up a bit.

Canadian whisky can be complex and impressive and this is available in the Canadian Club 20 years.  Concentrated flavors of sweet ginger, lime, and black pepper dusted Camembert.  The finish is composed of lovely oak, cinnamon and candy cane.

Alberta Premium Dark Horse

I have one more Canadian whisky suggestion:  Alberta Premium Dark Horse.  More powerful than Canadian Club 20 is this little number that does not have an age statement.

This Canadian whisky was launched earlier this year and it is impressive.

Dark Horse is a return to what made Canadian whisky great in the first place and that is: rye!  91% rye to be specific and you can taste it on the palate.  Rich, spicy, powerful!  Flavors?  Think Morocco dates,  plums, figs, and the zest and  spice of rye laid over top with a good measure of oak.

This is a big whisky.  Lots of body and spice that can certainly be enjoyed neat or deliciously on the rocks.

. . .

So, there you have it, a couple of heavenly spirits to provide good cheer during the holidays!


Jason Debly


  1. Jason is this a policy statement '' The holidays are all about easy, no-muss or fuss.''??? I would only agree if by that you mean like the Plum Pudding is a gift of the Sovereign and comes from Windsor Castle, or the baby Stilton is important with the finest champagne and Scotch from London on special delivery, that is my idea of no fuss. No to mention all the other specialties which are part of every day life but are must have at Xmas. As for Crown Royal I have never tasted it and it would not cross my mind to buy it. To me its in the same category as Ritz Crackers everyone has it and only really old people drink it. I always thought that you would drink it with a Dr.Pepper mix or a Coca Cola. How do you drink the stuff, straight up or with a bit of water can you put it on the rocks? As for the Tar Sands Harper Special from Alberta, I know its their time to shine in the Sun now that they in Alberta have all turned Communist and sold out to the Chinese. Shades of Manchurian Candidate here. Can we buy this in Ontario? How is it to be drunk?
    Have a Good Xmas and thanks again for the blog, many happy tastings in 2013.

  2. At a party, I like Crown Royal with a little ice. At home alone, watching a movie, probably neat. Great either way. While it is widely available, don't let its lack of exclusivity imply a mediocre whisky choice. Really, it is a classic representation of Canadian whisky. Gentle, delicate, presence of oak, and like most Canadians: unassuming and inoffensive. Give it a try! You and Harper may have something in common after all!

    1. Jason, thank you for the reply, I was a little snarky in my comment. Did you know that my grandfather drank Crown Royal at Christmas and he simply called it Rye, I am having a Rye on the rocks. So I never thought of it as a Whisky.

  3. ...a little snarky. ya think?

  4. Forty Creek beats out Crown Royal all day everyday.

    1. They are both fine brands of Canadian whisky. I will eventually do a post about Forty Creek Portwood. Really well done.

  5. I found Alberta Premium one of the finest Canadian whiskeys. And surely you mean that BC has sold out to the communists. Or have they crossed the western border already?