Book Reviews

Book Review: Canadian Whisky.


The whiskies of four countries namely – Canada, Ireland, the USA(Bourbon), and Scotland enjoy worldwide fame. In reality, there are several others, like Japan, India, Belgium, France, and Germany that produce whisky, but they are mostly for local consumption and rarely exported.

Canadian whisky, generally called rye whisky, is one of the most popular of the four mentioned above, but there are only a few books that explore the making and makers of this fine spirit.

Davin Kergammeaux, a certified sommelier and independent whisky expert decided to write a book about this Canadian spirit to enlighten all who like to consume it, and those who ought to.

The book takes the reader on a journey through the first systematic presentation of how it is made, why it tastes the way it does, its history and the folklore that surrounds it.

There are many pieces of information that correct several myths about Canadian whisky, namely, that it is produced mainly using rye. Inf act there is only one brand that is marketed as such. The law stipulates nothing that obliges a distiller to use exclusively rye. Any graim including wheat, corn, triticale, and rye, may be used.

In fact the largest proportion of the grain in Canadian whisky is corn.

The author explains in detail the importance of fermentation, the role of yeasts employed, the type of still used, the location of aging and the barrels employed, and blending and how they change the flavour.

The reader will understand the difference between the science of distillation, and the art of blending.

Whisky is the result of geography, skill, and art.

In addition to this vital information about whisk, the author writes about the history of distilling, evolution in Canada, and how governments derived significant amounts funds from taxing and distribution of spirits and still do.

While at the beginning of the 20th century there were 200 licensed distilleries in Canada, nine exist now and produce more than ever before.

Much of the whisky produced is exported to the USA in bulk for blending, but practically all whisky in this country is aged in once-used Bourbon barrels.

In this extensive book all Canadian whiskies available are organoleptically analysed and artfully described. The part of the book which helps the reader understand how the American Prohibition helped Canadian distilleries of the time to get rich by supplying illicit whisky to the lucrative US market.

After reading this well-illustrated book that is written in a straightforward and fast-paced style, you will understand that there is a lot more to Canadian whisky to explore.

An excellent book every citizen should read, regardless of his/her drinking preferences.

It is the “liquid history” of Canada and belongs to the shelves of each public or home library.

Highly recommended.

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