St Patrick’s Day is upon us and i thought it an appropriate time to educate readers on just how the Irish “make the moonshine”. Heh, that’s a line from our new favourite family show – Moonshiners [and please, if the show is fake, i don’t wanna hear tell about it]. And yes, the title of this blog borders on being unethically misleading – or is it ethically misleading? Did you say ethically misleading?
In all simplicity, whiskey/whisky is moonshine aged in barrels.
In Canada we normally make our moonshine from rye. In Kentucky they use corn, or at least some combination of rye and corn. In Ireland and Scotland the best are usually made from malted barley. In Scotland peat is sometimes used to dry the barley, resulting in the distinctive peat nose and taste. In Ireland they don’t peat [except for Connemara] and they ….
You know what – I’m just complicating things. I find it fascinating, but i don’t want to start sounding like one of those people for whom the minutia of their dream is far more interesting to them than the listener.
So suffice it to say that i added this to my whiskey cellar just in time for March 17th. Also, I’m gonna read some of Thomas Cahill’s How the Irish Saved Civilization today.
“Here’s to your health” is a good traditional toast while raising a glass amongst friends and family. Recently i have been drawn to such a toast with either a whiskey or a whisky. “What’s the difference” you say? “Did you misspell that?”. People new to partaking in a “dram” of the spirit made from mashed grains may not even know that the Irish version is called Whiskey [with an e] and the Scottish version, more commonly known as Scotch, is Whisky [no e].
More importantly to the point. A friend of mine, Professor R we can call him [University prof] recently found this article. 10 Health Benefits of Whiskey.
I have at home the very good BushMills Black Bush [$37 LCBO#: 61374] and the delightfully smooth Auchentoshan Three Wood Scotch Whisky [$80 LCBO#: 720532] – which is only opened when my daughter M is in town. Maybe it’s the DNA speaking, or maybe it’s just a freakin’ good scotch, but we both love it. I think I like it because it’s aged initially in bourbon casks and then finished in Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez casks. Bourbon and then Spanish Sherry – I like both those things.
Back to Professor R. Now I call him “Professor R, the Enabler”. Thanks for the encouragement. Here’s to my health.
I didn’t know I liked Rye. The only time I’ve ever seen it was as Crown Royal served with Coke and I’ve never really been interested in that.
PROOF is a Rye whisky marketed in the coolest drug store style 500 ml bottle on the shelves. I admit that the cool bottle is what caught my attention but it was a recommendation by Billy Munnelly that closed the deal. I trust Billy with everything from beer to espresso so I gave it a go. I drank it at room temperature neat – really good. I drank it “on the rock” (1 ice-cube) – fantastic. The bottle makes me feel like I am doing a little Chemistry at home. Hey, I think I just found a way to keep Chemistry relevant again (read Champagne Science).
Rye is Canada’s spirit. It isn’t complex like Scotch whisky and it doesn’t have the deep smokey character of Bourbon but it is a spirit with expression. It reminds me that I am Canadian without the embarrassment of Crown Royal products hanging around my house.
LCBO 173351 | 500 mL bottle Price: $ 19.95
Tasting Note (from the LCBO)
clear amber colour; orange marmalade, spice aromas; smooth orange, caramel and spice flavours with a touch of smoke, medium finish
Tasting Note (from PROOF brands)
The blend of Canadian prairie rye and wheat is distilled with pristine spring water from the Canadian Rockies. It is then aged to perfection in charred oak barrels, to create its sophisticated sweet and smoky flavours.
PROOF brands of Toronto also makes vodka and rum in these very cool bottles