Canadian Whisky Awards 2010 - Winners

Canadian Whisky Awards 2010

January 1, 2011


Update November 13, 2011 – As you read this, six independent judges are busy tasting a large selection of Canadian whiskies to identify the best Canadian Whiskies of 2011. To increase objectivity, all tastings are being done blind. The winners of the 2011 Canadian Whisky Awards will be announced on Thursday January 19, 2012. In the meantime – here are the current reigning champions:

Canadian Whisky Awards 2010 – The Winners

Canada’s top whiskies of 2010 are honoured in these, the first annual Canadian Whisky Awards. There are six awards in all. The winners of three awards were decided following extensive tastings, while the others were selected based on special contributions that individual whiskies make to expanding consumer interest in Canadian whisky.

Canadian whisky is one of Canada’s greatest ambassadors. Every year, millions and millions of whisky lovers around the world buy more than half a billion dollars worth of Canadian whisky. But the awards celebrate more than successful sales figures. Canadians appreciate the contribution Canadian whisky makes to our economy, but we never stop to recognize the excellent quality of these whiskies. All of that now changes with these awards.

The Canadian Whisky Awards recognize the very finest flavoured new Canadian whiskies released in 2010, along with special contributions of highly successful individual whiskies that have garnered favourable attention to Canadian whisky in 2010.

Virtually every Canadian whisky introduced in Canada or the U.S. in 2010 was tasted. The best was chosen in one of three categories: the Canadian market, the export market, and multiple markets. Awards of Excellence are also conferred for accomplishments in innovation, brand extension, and notable success in raising the profile of Canadian whisky in general.

The Connoisseur Whiskies:

Connoisseur Whisky of the Year – Domestic Market: Wiser’s Legacy
Wiser’s Legacy is a new, ultra-premium rye whisky from Corby Distillers. This rich, complex, and flavourful whisky has been compared favourably to high-end single malts. Although demand has become strong to release it in other markets, Wiser’s Legacy was initially available in the Canadian market only.

Connoisseur Whisky of the Year – Export Market: Caribou Crossing
Caribou Crossing Single Barrel whisky was released early in 2010 to high acclaim from whisky writers and connoisseurs. They were all impressed with this complex and richly flavoured new whisky. As a single barrel whisky, Caribou Crossing introduces a new Canadian whisky in a style much admired by connoisseurs.

Connoisseur Whisky of the Year – Multiple Markets: Forty Creek Confederation Oak Reserve
This is an iconic Canadian whisky matured in Canadian oak barrels made from trees that sprouted at the time of Canadian Confederation. Made in a winemaker’s fashion, by John Hall, Forty Creek Confederation Oak Reserve earns this award for its creamy, rich and robust flavours. Confederation Oak is available in Canada and selected U.S. markets.

The Awards of Excellence:

Innovation of the Year: Highwood Distillery, White Owl Whisky
White Owl Whisky has no peer in Canada or anywhere else in the world for that matter. The first ever fully oak-matured white whisky, White Owl retains the flavours of Canadian rye whisky, while adding the cocktail-mixability of white spirits. In so doing, it successfully introduces the flavours of Canadian whisky to a whole new demographic.

Award of Excellence – Brand Extension: Crown Royal Black
When a distiller can’t keep up with demand everyone takes note. This new, more robust version of Canada’s best selling whisky, Crown Royal Black was welcomed so enthusiastically by American whisky drinkers that Diageo was faced with the challenge of having a truly runaway success on their hands. To the average American whisky drinker, Crown Royal Black was THE big whisky news of 2010.

Award of Excellence – Canadian Whisky Profile: Canadian Club
Viewers of AMC’s Emmy and Golden Globe-winning television series, Mad Men will not be surprised by the winner in this category. As Don Draper’s whisky of choice, Canadian Club was featured prominently throughout the series, attracting the attention of a new generation of Canadian whisky consumers. Canadian Club reached yet another new audience in 2010 with its featured role in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire.

Hearty and well-deserved congratulations to all the winners. More information about each of the 2010 Canadian Whisky Awards winners will be posted here over the next two weeks.

About the Canadian Whisky Awards
The Canadian Whisky Awards are presented annually to recognize the very best Canadian whiskies. The Awards are fully independent of the Canadian whisky industry and operate on a not-for-profit basis. gratefully acknowledges the support and encouragement of Lawrence Graham, Serge Valentin, Mark Gillespie, Ralf Mitchell, Chip Dykstra, Keith Wood, Jason Debly, Mark Connelly, Johannes van den Heuvel, Oliver Klimek, and Sam Simmons.

Canadian Whisky Awards 2011 are reported here.

Canadian Whisky Awards 2012 are reported here.


17 Responses to “Canadian Whisky Awards 2010”

  1. George Jetson:

    Davin, great job on the inaugural awards. How about a sleeper category? Best Canadian Whisky disguised as Amercian……and the winner is……..WhistlePig Rye.

    You know that I am the outlier Amercian who is not ethralled with CR Black, so we will always agree to disagree on that one.

    Congrats again and I am looking forward to the 2012 version already.

    • Davin:

      Hi George,
      Hehehe! Well it does say “Imported from Canada” on the label, but still the press and most of the shops talk about it as if it was American rye. Anyway. It’s great whisky.

      Now how about an awards for an American whisky disguised as Canadian? ……………and the winner is……………Seagram’s 7. Come on guys, Seagram’s 7 doesn’t even qualify as whisky here in Canada!

      Thanks for your encouragement. Planning for next year is already underway.

  2. [...] The Awards will be unveiled tomorrow, December 6, on Davin’s Website,! Based upon what I know of the thoroughness of Davin’s research and the quality of his work, these awards are sure to become prominent markers of excellence on the Canadian Whisky landscape.  Great Job Davin! I look forward to reading the selections for the first Canadian Whisky Awards 2010! [...]

  3. Mike:

    Sadly, the only whisky I have tried on this list is Canadian Club.

  4. Yello to Mello:

    Great awards gentlemen.

    • Davin:

      Chip, George, Mike, YtM, Thanks very much for your comments. It was a lot of fun. Look for a bigger better CWA in 2011!

  5. Off-kilter:

    Davin, Johanna and I were just visiting you last night and you never said a word about this. You will never become as reknown as Serge if you continue with this all too canadian modesty.It’s a brilliant idea and about time. Major kudos to you for a job well done.I agree with you on your first three awards but I will cavil with you later about the Crown Royal Black.

    • Davin:

      Hi O-K,
      Well, I’m Canadian; what can I say? We did enjoy your company the other night.
      Thanks for your kind words on the Awards. It was a lot of fun. There’s a lot of great whisky out there for sure.

  6. Davin, I’m late commenting. I read earlier this week. Fantastic work on this and some brilliant choices. I’ve had the Carribou Crossing and it’s extremely good, but I’m looking forward to trying the others as well.

    This may be a hard question but do you have a favorite of the bunch?

    • Davin:

      Ooooh, Jason, hard to say. They are so different from each other. I think depending on time, place, and company each has it’s forté.
      Thanks a lot for your enthusiastic support for the Awards.

  7. Dave:

    When will Crown royal black be in Ontario or Quebec?

    • Davin:

      I’m really not sure. When I asked I was told “eventually.” I hear there are a few bottles in Alberta. Some of those shops out there are pretty aggressive about getting the new whiskies, even before they are released in Canada.

  8. Austin:

    This makes me feel like this year was a good year to start getting into whisky like I have. Thanks Davin for the reviews and support of an underrated Canadian icon.

    • Davin:

      Hi Austin,
      Thank you for your kind comment! This website is a lot of fun, and even more so knowing that there are folks like you who appreciate it.
      Best of the season!

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