Google Canadian vs American High Rye

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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

January 24, 2017


Canadian vs American High Rye

So Koval and that Crown Royal, head to head, because you see, we had to. As you’ll notice, we did not select a big, emphatic American rye since we did not want to stack the deck against the Canadian…

Koval ‘Single Barrel Rye’ (40%, OB, USA, +/-2016)

Koval ‘Single Barrel Rye’ (40%, OB, USA, +/-2016) Three stars This is 100% organic rye matured in American oak from Minnesota. I have to say I already found Koval’s bourbon pretty impressive (WF 87). But that one was bottled at 47% vol., while these 40% sound a little… well, diminutive. Something diminutive from Chicago? Colour: gold. Nose: it does start a little oaky, with sawdust and oak shavings, and then quite some nutmeg and cinnamon, but it tends to shift very progressively towards ginger, thyme, and some kind of dry cologne (which is nice in this context), and the, indeed, a rather bready and brioche-y ryeness. The whole remains soft and easily approachable. Mouth: a little more punch would have been an asset indeed, but it isn’t weak. Spicy mulled wine, curry, bitter oranges, candy sugar, and toasted wholegrain bread. Loses a bit of steam after a few seconds, I really think 45% vol. would have worked better. Finish: medium, a little more oak-forward, with a spicy and slightly drying aftertaste. Celeriac. Comments: the opposite of a creamy whisky, it’s the oak and the rye’s spiciness that seem to be doing the work. Very enjoyable nonetheless, but I still like Koval’s bourbon much better. SGP:461 - 81 points.

Crown Royal ‘Northern Harvest Rye’ (45%, OB, Canada, blended, +/-2015)

Crown Royal ‘Northern Harvest Rye’ (45%, OB, Canada, blended, +/-2015) Two stars and a half90% rye in this one, which is notorious for having been someone’s World Whisky of the Year in 2016, although many other commentators have stated since back then that it actually wouldn’t win the Nobel Prize of Whisky (talking about the rye). It’s distilled in Manitoba. Colour: gold. Nose: it’s much rounder and softer than the Koval, for sure, and much fruitier as well. Notes of ripe bananas, ripe gooseberries, perhaps white currants, then the usual vanilla, with very soft spices and a wee leafiness. Almond skins, hints of vetiver... Certainly not unpleasant, and certainly much less bready/rye-y than the Koval. In short, easier. Mouth: creamy, soft, but less smooth than I had expected, with a peppery and slightly lavendery start, then notes of Southern Comfort and Cointreau, while the oak remains noticeable. Peppered bread, nutmeg, and mulled white wine. The body remains a tad thin, the lighter Koval had rather more substance. Finish: nice notes of bitter oranges. Comments: easy, rather well made, and certainly pretty acceptable. Rather unchallenging, I’d add. Oh and my old auntie would love the bottle. SGP:541 - 79 points.

(And merci Gael!)







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