That said, when Canadian Club invited me to their #IHeartRye event, featuring a tutored tasting session with Canadian Club ambassador Tish Harcus, I was intrigued. The more I learn about wine, the more I understand the many correlations between the making of spirits and the making of wine. This was an excellent opportunity to learn more about rye and attend my first real whiskey tasting event.
And what did I learn? Well, first off, that I shouldn’t stick my nose into the glass the way I do with wine – that burns! But otherwise, the techniques are somewhat similar. Tish taught us to warm the glass with our hands, to swirl, to sniff and then to taste. I had expected to find straight whiskey a bit intense, but I was impressed by just how different all four of the options we tried were—and how smooth I found them compared to what I anticipated.
Next, we tried a classic 12-year-old rye, which was the favourite at my table. Softer on the palate and a bit sweet, it also had caramel overtones on the nose. This one would be for sipping over ice – definitely not a rye that needs to be made into a cocktail.
Third, the Chairman’s Select 100% rye, had a very interesting nose – I kept getting Popeye Candy Cigarettes for some reason. This was my favourite of the tasting, as I liked how smooth it was. Tish told us this one had a high proportion of new wood and explained the use of copper pot distillation.
Are you a fan of rye? What are some of your favourites?