Canadian Whisky is Having a Major Moment

And these exclusive tastings at 39th and Cambie give you a front row seat to the revolution.

November 1, 2017

By Neal McLennan / Photo: Corby

Canadian whisky, long the whipping boy of the brown spirits category, is making a solid move back to the forefront of whisky-dom. Nerds have long gushed over the jaw-dropping value of Alberta Premium’s products (and at $22 their rye is still the very definition of a steal), but it wasn’t until Crown Royal’s Northern Harvest Rye was named Whisky of the Year by Jim Murray last year that the drinking public really stood up and took notice.

Now, if you make vodka and the public wants more you just keep the still running and voila—more vodka. But whisky, with its aging requirements, isn’t quite so nimble. Thankfully, our Canadian distillers have huge stores of aged and interesting whisky at their disposal and now that they’re finding a willing public, they’re flinging open the doors to some wonderful stuff. Take Corby, for example—the 150-plus-year-old distiller has rooted through its casks and the result is the first annual Northern Border Collection, a selection of  eight limited expressions that illustrate Canadian whisky can have as much depth and variation as either our Southern neighbours or our Scots brethren have in their stuff.

But the amazing aspect of these whiskies is the price. Just getting into bourbon and fancy trying an 18-year-old Sazerac? It’ll cost you $170. How about $176 for Highland Park 18-year-old scotch? Or you could mosey up to the JP Wiser’s 18-year-old (which is part of the collection) for $64. And it’s joined by some very cool stablemates:

There’s a JP Wiser‘s 35-year-old that, at $165 ,may be the cheapest 35-year-old bottle of whisky I’ve ever seen.

There’s a beauty of a 12-year-old cask-strength rye from Lot 40.

A lovely 17 year Gooderham and Worts 3-grain blend.

And a genre-bending 21-year-old Pike Creek that’s been finished in single malt casks from Speyside.

But enough about our thoughts—lets hear yours. You can head to the BCLDB at 39th and Cambie on November 4 where there will be a stand-up tasting of the entire Northern Border Collection. And if you’re one of the keeners waiting in line for the spirit release on November 3, Lot 40 will be distributing poutine infused with its whisky to all the faithful.


Get the Newsletter

Own your city with Vancouver’s thrice-weekly scoop on the latest restaurant news, must-shop hotspots and can’t miss events. Rest assured your email is safe with us.