Canadian Whisky Awards: Best Whisky for 2015

Lot No. 40, a whisky distilled in Windsor, Ontario was named Canada’s best at the sixth annual Canadian Whisky Awards on 14th January at the Victoria Whisky Festival.

Lot No. 40 is a 100% rye whisky and the chairman of the judging panel, Davin de Kergommeaux, described it as: “A rye whisky sensation. Interest in rye is surging globally and here is proof that Canada makes the best all-rye whiskies in the world.” Tasting it at the Awards Preview, I found it to have a powerful, gutsy nose which transformed into a full, supple body with complex spices, nuts, pepper and licorice. Definitely worthy of taking top honours.

It’s an exciting time for Canadian whisky with skyrocketing demand. de Kergommeaux reports that Canada’s whisky makers have responded to that with a wealth of new high-end releases, “For example, for the first time ever, a major legacy brand, Crown Royal, has bottled single barrel Canadian whisky at high proof.” The breadth and quality was obvious in the Preview tasting of some of the medal winners:

Canadian Club 100% Rye (gold medal): citrus, spice, wood and hints of earth on the nose. A balance of rye-fieriness, cloves and caramel on the palate makes a complex and creamy spirit.

Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye (gold medal) – the first Canadian Whisky to earn World Whisky of the Year in Jim Murray’s Annual Whisky Bible 2016: robust cereal and floral note interweave with marzipan and spices. On the palate, fennel, licorice and pepper join in to deliver a nuanced and smooth whisky.

Forty Creek, Copper Pot (silver medal): enticing butterscotch, caramel and honey on the nose. A warming palate with pepper, orange marmalade and brown sugar that lingers.

Wiser’s Hopped Whisky (silver medal), one of the new family of flavoured whiskies, this has dry hops added after blending: a smooth spirit with floral, vanilla and distinct chocolate notes. The cocoa inspiration continues on the palate with dark chocolate covered espresso beans evolving into milk chocolate coffee creams.

Canadian Rockies 21 Batch 001(bronze medal): a mellow spirit with apples, citrus and floral notes. A light body with summer orchard fruits and a hint of gunflint smoke.

This is the 6th Annual Canadian Whisky Awards, and attracted over 60 entries – all of which had to be distilled and matured in Canada. The list of all the winners is now available at

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