from “Canada’s Next Big Thing” by Davin de Kergommeaux, DINE and Destinations 2017-18
How Local is Canadian Whisky?
Canadian whisky is Canadian grain, grown by Canadian farmers, distilled in Canada, by Canadians, bottled, sold, and shipped by Canadians across Canada and around the world, accounting for more than 2/3 of a billion dollars of foreign revenues into the Canadian economy every year.
Whisky or Whiskey?
Only Ireland and the United States use the spelling “Whiskey”, while all other countries, including Canada, use the spelling “Whisky.” One school of thought on this difference in spelling is that the Irish and Scottish sought to distinguish their spirits from each other. Another is that it has to do with a difference in translation from Scottish and Gaelic.
Canadian Whisky by the Numbers:
• 202 million litres bottled annually
• 270 million standard bottles sold annually
• 99.9% of this is produced by only 8 major distilleries
• 15% is consumed in Canada
• 85% is exported
• $460 600 000 generated in export revenues.
• 8,500 full-time jobs sustained
• $5.8 billion contributed to Canada’s GDP
• Scotch: Malt and Peat Smoke
• Bourbon: Toffee, Wood, Vanilla
• Japanese: Robust, Rich, Fruity
• Canadian: Elegant, Spicy, Clean
* The broad range of flavours in Canadian whisky is all built on a single basic framework: an initial toffee sweetness, a spicy, peppery middle, and a slightly bitter grapefruit pith on the finish. Everything else is nuance.
There are five categories for complementary and contrasting whisky pairings:
• Glazed meats and desserts like crème caramel pair well with sweet whiskies such as Forty Creek Double Barrel or Gretzky Ice Cask.
• Poultry and sausages go well with the fruit chutney flavours of Canadian Club Sherry Cask and Gibson’s Bold.
• Spicy Asian dishes and most chillies pair with spicy whiskies such as Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye and Canadian Rockies 21.
• Coffee and chocolate mousse pair well with the dark flavours of Alberta Premium Dark Horse and Lot Number 40.
• Thinking of eggnog? Try cream whiskies.
Davin deKergommeaux is the leading voice on Canadian whisky today. He authored the influential book Canadian Whisky: The New Portable Expert, and the Definitive Guide to Canadian Distilleries. In addition to DINE, Davin writes for Whisky Magazine, Whisky Advocate, American Craft Spirits and a number of lifestyle publications. He founded the Canadian Whisky Awards and has been a judge for the Malt Maniacs Awards and the World Whisky Awards for many years. He lives in Ottawa Canada with his wife and Lhasa Apso pup.