A Canadian Whisky the World’s Best for 2016! shouted the headline on November 20th 2015. This was a first for Canada and the whole country was thrilled to hear it. The next day the whisky (Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye) was sold out. As I write this article on January 27th, the whisky remains sold out. If a case arrives at a store it all sells in a matter of minutes.
How often is there a front page news story on whisky? Those of us who are knowledgeable about whisky are aware that Jim Murray and his Whisky Bible are not the be all and end all of whisky assessment and ranking. In fact on January 15, 2016, a panel of ten independent whisky experts using a blind tasting panel technique, named Lot No. 40 as the Canadian Whisky of the Year. Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye did not win in Canada, yet was declared the World’s Best for 2016. Some education for the masses was sorely needed!
At the Canadian College of Whisky Knowledge, experience is considered the best teacher. To this end a Celebration of Canadian Whiskies was organized. The poster to the right indicated that six Whiskies would be tasted. With greater good as the goal, four bottles of Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye were obtained after a great deal of effort. Forty eight guests sat down to experience six different Whiskies. A blind tasting was not attempted.
The winning whisky was 40 Creek Confederation Oak Reserve. This illustrated how taste is a very personal thing and there is a wonderful range of Canadian Whiskies available. One guest declared to the gathering that he had come not expecting too much since he drinks single malt Scotch at home. He went on to share that three of the six Whiskies tasted would be welcome in his drinks cabinet, and his opinion on Canadian whisky was forever changed. This was an extremely gratifying experience for me. As whisky explorers there are so many enjoyable Whiskies to discover.
To bring this article full circle; people find it much easier to talk about whisky and learn about whisky when there is a glass of it in their hand. Perhaps it might be enjoyable and educational to conduct a tasting with whisky drinking friends. If you are passionate about Bourbon, chances are you will find yourself to be able to speak about your passion in a convincing manner.
What better way to spread the word?
Editor’s Note: Today’s Help Wanted guest blog post is from Bill Franks. Bill elected to bring us some Canadian Whisky banter and addresses the hype and controversy surrounding this year’s World Whisky of the Year selection from Jim Murray. We hope you enjoy his post and chime in accordingly in the comments section.