Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Canadian Whisky Awards

The second annual Canadian Whisky Awards have just taken place in Victoria, British Columbia as part of the Victoria Whisky Festival.  The gala ceremony was held to celebrate some of the best and most innovative whiskies produced in Canada during 2011 and the contribution of pioneers from within the industry.

Now, we choose to not normally comment or report on the numerous whisky awards ceremonies around the world - it is hard to keep up with the exploding number of such awards and this makes it difficult to select which awards hold more gravitas and importance. However, we openly admit that we know very little about Canadian whiskies and the industry in that country.  This is something that we are currently working on given the growth in popularity of Canadian whisky and a recent email that we received kindly telling us, "how can you call yourselves Whisky For Everyone, if you never mention Canadian whiskies ...?" Watch this space.

The Canadian Whisky Awards are the brainchild of Davin de Kergommeaux - the world authority on Canadian whisky and writer of the must-read website  His goal is to raise awareness about the fine whiskies coming out of the country and bring further information to a wider audience. Davin was head of the seven man judging panel, which included some of Canada's best known whisky writers, bloggers and broadcasters.  The whisky producers were asked to submit their best whiskies and each was sampled and scored in a blind tasting by the judges.

Gold Medals were awarded to just five exceptional whiskies -  Forty Creek John's Private Cask No.1, Gibson's Finest Rare 18 years old, Masterson's Rye, Wiser's Legacy and Wiser's Small Batch.  A further 12 whiskies were awarded Silver Medals and eight were awarded Bronze Medals. The most prestigious prize of Canadian Whisky of the Year 2011 went to the Forty Creek John's Private Cask No.1 (pictured, above), which is produced by Kittling Ridge Estate Wines & Spirits. Numerous other awards were presented, including the Canadian Whisky Innovations category which saw the White Owl whisky - a filtered, clear rye whisky made by Highwood Distillers in Alberta which has taken the cocktail world by storm (pictured, below) - take the first prize.

As we say, we have not tried very many Canadian whiskies to date but hopefully the increased popularity and exposure that they are receiving will result in more becoming available in the UK. We hope to track down, taste and review the two winners named above. In the mean time if you have tried either of them, please leave a comment below and let us know how they taste, what they are like and any other notes that you may want to add.  We look forward to reading the results.

For more information about the awards and prize winners, and Canadian whisky in general - visit


Rick Duff said...

I am not one for yearly releases of expensive whiskies, but the exception is Fourty Creek. John always has an outstanding whisky released. This years was no different and really deserving. All of his offerings are great. He's a true pioneer. John takes a winemaking approach to whisky making and it works out really well.
I make sure I'm in Canada a minimum of yearly so I can pick this up.

moscato said...

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic.