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Our Favorite Canadian Whiskies Ranked

Canada has a long history of distilling spirits, and while many people may think Canadian whiskies are only rye or bourbon-based — that assumption couldn’t be further from the truth.

canadian whisky

There is an incredible range of different types of Canadian whisky available on the market today, and we’re here to tell you about some of the best Canadian whiskies available!

Check out our top 13 Canadian whisky brands that we recommend.

Best Overall: Danfield’s Limited Edition 21 Year Old

The perfect representation of Canadian whisky is crafted from a rare and exceptional blend of malted barley, rye, and corn. Moreover, master distillers have matured it for up to 21 years in their warehouses.

Danfield’s 21 was produced in the Schenley distillery in Quebec and is now done in the Black Velvet distillery at Lethbridge, Alberta. Moreover, the first thing you’ll notice is its notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, along with its taste of brown sugar and caramel.

Runner-Up: Forty Creek Heart of Gold

Forty Creek Heart of Gold is a Canadian whisky with a fruity and floral flavor profile with a subtle rye taste and an ABV (Alcohol by Volume) of 43%.

Forty Creek aged a blend of rye, barley, and corn whiskies, distilled separately, in toasted oak casks for at least a few years.

That brings us to the blend we have now that leaks slightly floral and light rye notes.

Smoothest Blend: Crown Royal Deluxe

There are many great Canadian whiskies out there.

However, if you’re looking for a smooth and delicious blend, Crown Royal Deluxe is the best choice.

It has an elegant taste with notes of vanilla and fruit that will make it a memorable evening drink.

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With its lower alcohol content (40%), more of you can enjoy this whisky than others while enjoying its creamy taste with hints of oak and vanilla.

Interesting Combination of Tasting Notes: Lot 40

Winning the whisky of the Year award in 2013, 2015, and 2017 and also winning the 2017 Canadian whisky Awards, there’s a good reason why Northern Border Collection’s famous 100% rye whisky is a beloved drink.

With a zesty aroma and tasting notes combining coffee, vanilla, dried apples, raisins, and deep mature oak, it’ll funnel your drinking experience toward a refreshing yet sweet finish.

The only downside to Lot No. 40 comes when drinking neat or mixed-in cocktails, as its lack of complexity doesn’t make it as versatile.

Rich Flavor Profile: Alberta Premium 30-Year-Old

The 100% rye Alberta Premium 30 Year is near the top of any list for best Canadian whiskies for a good reason.

Alberta Distillers only produced 8,400 of these bottles that are now rare to find.

This whisky has a sweet and smooth taste that will leave you wanting more.

It’s aged for thirty years in charred white oak barrels, giving it a great flavor profile with vanilla and caramelized fruitcake notes.

Moreover, it’ll give you a slight citrus finish bound to leave a lasting impression.

Complex Blend: Pendleton Director’s Reserve 20 Year

Pendleton Director’s Reserve is blended with barley, corn, and rye whisky that has been aged for more than 20 years in Canada, but bottled in Mt. Hood, Oregon (US).

The 40% ABV whisky is what we would consider the best of both worlds. It’s perfect for sipping on during dinner or after a long day at work.

Moreover, it balances out light brown sugar notes with a touch of waxiness.

The oak barrel distilled whisky has a complete flavor profile that starts with a taste of butter toast and oak, which afterward moves into almond and ends with molasses.

Many will find themselves impressed—even the savviest of whisky drinkers.

Pleasant Aromas: Forty Creek Confederation Oak

Forty Creek Confederation Oak Reserve is a Canadian whisky produced by Forty Creek Distillery.

It was introduced in 2010, and it has won many awards, including Whisky of the Decade.

These barrels were finished for up to a couple of years in Canadian Oak barrels, which gives the drink an old gold tint with various aromas, including honeyed nuts.

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The blending process gives the final product its full-bodied yet rich flavor and smooth finish, making it stand out among other whiskies.

You’ll also encounter a pleasant lingering white pepper finish that fades over time.

Best For Its Age: JP Wiser’s 15 Year Old

With being aged for 15 years in New White Oak barrels, JP Wiser’s 15 Year Old whisky blesses us with sweet notes mixed with vanilla, milk chocolate, and an interesting subtle scent of a coniferous forest.

Afterward, it leads us into a taste that begins with a mixture of marzipan, ginger, toffee, and milk chocolate.

Finally, it gives us a short but spicy finish with a cream cake. 

Sweetest Notes & Flavor: Pendleton Whisky

The 40% ABV Pendleton Whisky is made by the Pendleton Company.

While it’s based in Hood River, Oregon, it blends Canadian whiskies to achieve characteristics not often found in other whiskies.

When first trying this drink, you’ll find yourself bewildered by its sweet notes of caramel and marshmallows.

If you’re craving a sweet whisky, this is the perfect drink for you. You’ll notice a bit of subtle rye spice that leaves you with a slightly warming finish.

Spice: Pike Creek 10 Year Old (Rum Barrel Finished)

The 10 Year Old Pike Creek whisky was aged for ten years in rum barrels to give it an interesting combination of notes and flavors that many of you may not believe.

But first, Pike Creek was released in the late 1990s as a part of an initiative to introduce Canadian whiskies to the North American market.

However, it was unsuccessful. Conversely, Pike Creek re-released it in 2012.

Regarding the flavor, when you first drink it, you’ll notice a mix of baking spices and berries flowing through your nose.

Next, as you sip, you’ll taste a peppery whisky with hints of red licorice. Afterward, you’ll face a strong finish with vanilla mixed with wood spice and cinnamon and hints of maple syrup.

Ambitious Multigrain Blend: Gooderham & Worts Four Grain Whisky

Gooderham and Worts Four Grain Whisky blend four grains that result in a rich, complex taste.

The company launched its whisky in 1837, became one of the best-selling brands in Canada, and was immensely profitable during Prohibition in the United States.

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It includes rye, barley, wheat, corn to give it its deep golden amber tint and the best flavor profile possible. With notes of cinnamon Red Hots, licorice, and some eucalyptus, they combine wonderfully together.

It would be considered one of Canada’s best whiskies due to its complexity compared to other Canadian whiskys on this list.

For instance, what other whiskies will give you loads of flavors as Gooderham & Worts Four Grain whisky?

When taking a sip, you’ll notice green grains, cinnamon, ginger snap cookies in the foreground, with hints of peanut brittle and caramel following suit.

The 90 proof whisky will finish you off with a pleasantly dry cinnamon and clove taste.

If you’re seeking a spicy winter dram or a thoughtfully put-together whisky that’s sure to impress fans of Crown Royal Northern Harvest, you should at least try the Four Grain whisky.

Interesting Finishing Taste: Shelter Point Artisanal Single Malt Whisky

One of the best Canadian whiskies to drink now is Shelter Point Artisanal Single Malt.

This whisky is made with 100% malted barley (the most common type) and then distilled two times before being aged in a small American oak barrel for at least three years.

So what makes Shelter Point’s whisky stand out? It offers subtle chocolatey mint fragrances mixed with other sweet notes like caramel.

Moreover, its flavor profile gives us an interesting combination easing us into a vanilla taste and ending with a gentle grapefruit peel finish.

Short Finish: Caribou Crossing Single Barrel

The Old Montreal Distillery brings us a combination of rye, corn, and malted barley that sat in unknown barrels. 

When taking a whiff of this medium-bodied whisky, you’ll notice a vast spectrum of notes, including nuts, oak, butterscotch, spice, grain, caramel, lemon zest, and vanilla.

Afterward, once you start to drink, you’ll find yourself hit with a complex vanilla biscuit taste with hints of butterscotch and caramel. Moreover, you may notice some grain and oak.

Finally, to finish things off, you’ll have a short yet spicy and sweet finish with a taste of butterscotch.

While it isn’t the best drink for you who want a lingering taste, it’s excellent and sweet yet a complex drink.

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  1. Macaloney’s Island Distillery is by far the most awarded Single Malt Whisky Distillery in recent Years. Only Distillery to make true Peated whisky outside of Islay.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

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