“The Great One”
That’s what I grew up hearing Canada’s Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky being called.
Since retirement, he went into creating a wine estate and has now branched into whisky. Yes whisky.
When I first saw a bottle, thought “Could it really be any good?”
I’ll be honest… I had rather… ahem… modest expectations. Particularly after Sula’s rather unimpressive experiment with shifting from making wine to whisky with Eclipse.
However the Canadian nostalgic pride won me over and it made it into the quartet imported to India to share with friends as part of a wee celebration of Canada’s 150 years!
So what did we think?
- Nose – Fresh, a bit shy, woodsy, vanilla, faint chocolate, sweet wild flowers, a sugary dusting like on cake, camomile tea
- Palate – Very pronounced camomile tea, with an echo of a dry red wine… as you roll it about your mouth, the tannins are even more apparent and a fruity citrus orange flavour then emerges
- Finish – Sweet then bitter then actually a bit spicy
To be honest, we couldn’t quite make up our minds about this one. There is something a bit peculiar about it. Definitely different. Not bad but not something you would go “Oh gosh I wish I had more of that!” However it is unique and it isn’t a disaster so am glad it made its way from Canada to India.
It was revisited and again, once you adjusted to its slightly different character, it makes a reasonable sociable companion to the evening… almost distracting as it doesn’t quite ‘fit’ the standard whisky categories…. and every sip or two it reminds you of this.
Here is what the folks at Ontario’s LCBO have to say:
A remarkable blend produced from locally sourced grains and finished in red wine casks from the winery which impart a pale amber colour. Expect a smooth and refined flavour profile that includes notes of marzipan, light citrus, vanilla, oak and spice; the finish is long, warming and balanced.
It was released October 13, 2016, made in Ontario, Canada by Andrew Peller Limited with a style described as “Medium & Fruity.” It is a blend of rye, malty rye and corn with the current stock from an unspecified Ontario distillery, with plans to distill their own blend coming in the future.
The folks over at the the wine estate and distillery recommend serving No 99 Red Cask in a cocktail – the Great Old Fashioned and Top Shelf look like a rather apt combination!
I bought this at the 55 Bloor Street LCBO at Ron’s recommendation for CND $39.95. And at that exceedingly reasonable price point (by our standards this side of the globe), it fits the bill for pulling off something ‘different’ at an affordability you are happy to experiment! So not bad at all folks.
What else did we have in our “O Canada” 150th Celebration?
- Manitoba – Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye 45%
- Ontario – Gooderham & Worts Four Grains Canadian Whisky 44.4%
- British Columbia – Shelter Point Single Malt Whisky 46% (Batch 2, 2017)
- British Columbia – Barrel of Sunshine Liqueur 30%