Canadina Whiskies Filter: where to start?
August 10, 2014 10:45 PM   Subscribe

I am a bourbon-drinking girl living in Toronto. I'd like to get to know Canada by way of its mash-- what are some great Canadian whiskies? Nothing too expensive- say, around or under $50 for a 750ml bottle? I like smooth whiskies with complex flavors that are not too peaty.
posted by atetrachordofthree to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Forty creek makes some great stuff. His copper pot reserve is a shelf regular... His confederation oak reserve is top 3 all time brown liquors for me. Plus John is a nice guy and very accessible.
posted by chasles at 3:03 AM on August 11, 2014 [3 favorites]

Yep, 40 Creek is best in Canada.

If you have the chance to check out their whisky weekend event (no details are posted for 2014 yet) you can try all their stuff, go on a tour and historically get a sampling led by John. Also, and for some more importantly, you can be first in line to pick up a bottle of whatever his annual special is. I've only been paying attention for a couple of years, but both have been great.

Otherwise, I would start at and follow their advice. For a long time (until 40 Creek, arguably) Canadian Whiskey was largely cheap crap but there's been a bit of a resurgence.
posted by cCranium at 4:54 AM on August 11, 2014

I'm partial to TangleRidge. I was responsible for getting it on the shelf in the local liquor store in Vermont after I tried it down in Pennsylvania. I also bought out the supply down in Penn when they stopped carrying it. It is a nice smooth rye whiskey double aged in sherry casks with absolutely no peat to speak of.

I wouldn't put it in the top 10 of whiskeys anywhere but for a cheap sipping whiskey it is pretty good and would probably only be like $30 for a bottle depending on the way taxes are in Canada. THe last time I bought it was in 2005 in PA and it was on special offer for $18 a bottle (and I got 8). Throw in inflation and extra taxes for Canada and I would guess around $30 to $40 or so.
posted by koolkat at 4:56 AM on August 11, 2014

You might go to a bar like 1602 Dundas and have night of sampling. They're pretty reasonably priced there.
posted by transient at 5:46 AM on August 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

I like Collingwood. Nowhere near as complex as 40 Creek, but really gentle and pleasant.
posted by neroli at 6:03 AM on August 11, 2014

I would ask the people at the LCBO. Some like to complain about our prohibition-era-leftover, but having unionised employees at a speciality store means that they really know their business (or, if they don't happen to know that topic, they will direct you to someone who does).

Go in with your preferences - Canadian whiskey, smooth, complex, not too peaty, under $50 - and see what they suggest. They've directed me to great, lesser-known wines & liquors. If you start at an all brands store (that is, an LCBO store that carries all brands that are available in Ontario), you'll have the maximum selection. The LCBO at Weston & 401 is an all-brands - there is probably another closer to downtown too.
posted by jb at 7:32 AM on August 11, 2014

Dark Horse out of Alberta is pretty good.
posted by Nevin at 7:34 AM on August 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

I suggest RevelStoke, which is your standard Canadian whiskey that has been spiced (I see that it's no longer a Canadian distillery's product, but is now out of Minneapolis. I have been ordering it special by the case from my booze guy, because their regular distributor no longer carried it. I wonder if I can get it easily again?). I have had only the original Spiced version (not the new Cinnamon or Pecan) and unlike most novelty spiced whiskies, RevelStoke is subtle (nothing at all like a flavored vodka) and not terribly sweet (much less sweet than, say Southern Comfort). It sips nicely on its own, giving up your standard whisky spice and warmth (I believe the bulk of the blend is a rye) with a lot of good vanilla on the front and a pop of ginger on the finish. We really love it in an old fashioned, particularly with Whiskey-barrel-aged bitters.

Hm. I guess I better add the caveat that I've been drinking from a case I ordered a while ago. With a new owner, it's quite possible the recipe is changed and sucks now. I hope not.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:47 AM on August 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

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