Canadian Whisky Awards 2014 – Canada’s Top Whiskies

January 15, 2015


VICTORIA, Jan. 16, 2015 – The verdict is in. A whisky distilled more than two decades ago, then tucked away and forgotten, is the best Canadian whisky of 2014.  A jury of nine independent whisky experts named Collingwood 21 Year Old Rye the Canadian Whisky of the Year at the fifth annual Canadian Whisky Awards. They announced the results of this annual blind tasting competition Thursday evening, January 15, at the Victoria Whisky Festival in Victoria, B.C.

Collingwood is the best Canadian Whisky of 2014 - Whisky of the Year

Chairman of the judges, Davin de Kergommeaux, described Collingwood Rye as: “A Canadian whisky connoisseur’s dream come true.” Only fifty barrels of Collingwood 21 Year Old Rye were distilled at the Canadian Mist Distillery in Collingwood, Ontario. Canadian stocks are almost gone, though limited quantities are still available from select U.S. liquor stores.

Other top winners include Lot No. 40, Canadian Club Chairman’s Select 100% Rye, Forty Creek Double Barrel Reserve, Masterson’s 10-Year-Old Rye, and Crown Royal Monarch. Forty Creek distillery’s John Hall received a lifetime achievement award.

“Interest in Canadian whisky continues to grow and Canada’s whisky makers have responded with a wealth of new high-end whiskies,” said de Kergommeaux as he revealed the winners. “For the first time a major legacy brand, Canadian Club, has released 100% rye grain whisky as a core offering. Canada’s best-selling whisky, Crown Royal, became the first major brand to release high-proof single barrel whisky, and Collingwood bottled long-aged rye whisky. Overall, distillers have released more small batch and top-end deluxe whiskies than ever before.”

Sales of flavoured whisky also remain strong with Forty Creek, Centennial, and Sortilège making strong gains.

The Winners:

Whisky of the Year: Collingwood 21 Year Old Rye

Lifetime Achievement Award: John K. Hall. Forty Creek Distillery

Connoisseur Whisky of the Year Domestic Market: Canadian Club Chairman’s Select 100% Rye
Connoisseur Whisky of the Year Export Market: Masterson’s 10-Year-Old Rye batch 5 barrel A2-062
Connoisseur Whisky of the Year Multi-Markets: Collingwood 21-Year-Old Rye
Best New Whisky: Stalk & Barrel Rye Whisky

Sippin’ Whisky of the Year Domestic Market: Crown Royal Limited Edition
Sippin’ Whisky of the Year Export Market: J.P. Wiser’s Rye
Sippin’ Whisky of the Year Multi-Markets: Royal Canadian Small Batch

Value Whisky of the Year Domestic Market: Highwood Canadian Rye Whisky
Value Whisky of the Year Export Market: Canadian Mist
Value Whisky of the Year Multi-Market: J.P. Wiser’s Deluxe

Flavoured Whisky of the Year Domestic Market: Forty Creek Cream
Flavoured Whisky of the Year Export Market: Peach Mist
Flavoured Whisky of the Year Multi-Market: Tap 357
Flavoured Whisky of the Year: Forty Creek Cream

Award of Excellence Canadian Whisky Profile: Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel Program
Award of Excellence Innovation: Masterson’s 10-Year-Old Rye Barrel Program
Award of Excellence Line Extension: Canadian Club Chairman’s Select 100% Rye

Gold Medals
Alberta Premium Dark Horse
Canadian Club Chairman’s Select 100% Rye
Centennial Dark Chocolate
Collingwood 21-Year-Old Rye
Crown Royal Limited Edition
Crown Royal Monarch
Forty Creek Cream
Forty Creek Double Barrel Reserve
Lot No. 40
Masterson’s 10-Year-Old Rye batch 5 barrel A2-062
Sortilège Maple Cream
Stalk & Barrel Rye Whisky

Silver Medals
Canadian Club Classic 12
Caribou Crossing
Crown Royal Maple
Crown Royal XO
Forty Creek 2014 Evolution
Forty Creek Barrel Select
Forty Creek Spike Honey Spiced
J.P. Wiser’s Rye
Masterson’s 10-Year-Old Rye Batch 1 barrel F2-038
Royal Canadian Small Batch
Tap 357
Tap 8 Rye
Wiser’s Red Letter 2014
Wiser’s Spiced Torched Toffee

Bronze Medals
Canada Gold
Canadian Mist
Canadian Rockies 21 year old Batch 2
Crown Royal Apple
Crown Royal De Luxe
Crown Royal XR  LaSalle
Forty Creek Confederation Oak Reserve
Forty Creek Copper Pot
Gibson’s 12 year old
Gibson’s 18 year old
Highwood Canadian Rye Whisky
Highwood Ninety 20 year old
J.P. Wiser’s Deluxe
JP Wiser’s Spiced Whisky Vanilla No 5
Legacy Small Batch (Sazerac)
Maple Mist
Peach Mist
Pike Creek 10 Year Old
Pike Creek NAS
R&R Reserve
Sortilège Caramel
Sortilège Prestige
Spicebox Gingerbread Spiced Whisky
Spicebox Spiced Whisky
Wiser’s 18 Year Old
Wisers Legacy

About the Canadian Whisky Awards

The Canadian Whisky Awards recognize the very best Canadian whiskies and encourage distillers to maintain the highest standards for making whisky. To qualify, the whisky must be distilled and matured in Canada. An independent panel of whisky writers, bloggers, and journalists selects the winners after tasting each whisky blind. Operated on a not-for-profit basis, the Canadian Whisky Awards are fully independent of the Canadian whisky industry.

The Judges: Jason Debly, New Brunswick, Davin de Kergommeaux, Ontario, Chip Dykstra, Alberta, Mark Gillespie, USA, André Girard, Quebec, Graham MacKenney, New Brunswick, Johanne McInnis, New Brunswick, Blair Phillips, Ontario, Kris Shoemaker, Ontario.

Canadian Whisky Awards 2010 are reported here:

Canadian Whisky Awards 2011 are reported here:

Canadian Whisky Awards 2012 are reported here:

Canadian Whisky Awards 2013 are reported here:


20 Responses to “Canadian Whisky Awards 2014 – Canada’s Top Whiskies”

  1. Craig:

    Hi Davin, can you give us any details on how judging was executed? Was everyone gathered together to sample over the course of a few days, or were samples mailed out for judges to evaluate at their leisure?

    Also, it’s cool to see an age-stated Canadian winning some accolades. Maybe it’ll pave the way for some more mature releases in the future (not to belabour the age thing; most of my favourite Canadian whiskies are NAS).

    • Davin:

      Samples are mailed out and the judging is done 100% blind.

  2. That’s a solid list – I really liked the Collingwood 21 Year Old – good work to all the judges! Really glad to see the S&B Rye get its due as well. Nice to see some of the change coming with some great high quality products coming.

    Frankly, I’m surprised Forty Creek Evolution scored so low. At first when I reviewed it, I thought perhaps it was just one geared to my nose/palate as others didn’t generate as much of a fuss about it as I. However, in a number of tastings this winter it has been a stunner and most of my guests, whether they know whisky well or not, are in awe of it. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a nose like that one – if you take at least half an hour with it to see it change and take it all in.

  3. Hi Davin,

    Do you have the batch number of the Forty Creek Double Barrel that you all sampled? I’d be interested to know which one it was. Cheers!

  4. Gerard:

    Hi Davin,

    I’m curious about the judging and how points (or medals) are awarded.

    Is there a certain level or range of points that puts each whisky in the gold, silver, or bronze categories – once all judges have rated each whisky, the total points determines which whiskys are in which category? Or do the whiskys get voted simply as being gold, silver, or bronze-worthy, with the total number of votes for each medal determining which whiskys are awarded which medal?


    • Davin:

      Numbered samples are sent to the judges who taste them blind over a period of 6 to 8 weeks, and assign scores. The scores are then averaged to arrive at a final score for each whisky. Whiskies with higher scores earn medals, those with lower scores do not.

      • Gerard:


        thanks for the insight!

        I’m able to get many, but not all, of the medalists here in Newfoundland – I’ve had a lot of them already. I was interested in the methodology because a number of Crown Royal whiskies won medals, but the Crown Royal Reserve did not. I’ve been considering either the Limited Edition or the Reserve as my next purchase. With the LE getting a medal and the Reserve not, plus the LE being about $10 cheaper than the Reserve, my decision has been made, although I’m sure I’ll still try the Reserve in the future.

        • Davin:

          They are both good. I prefer the LE but I also really enjoy CR Reserve. If you end up buying both save a bit of the first one to try head-to-head with the second one you buy. Then you can make your own assessment. And . . . enjoy!

          • Gerard:

            I’ll definitely save some for a head-to-head. I buy Canadian Club 12 Year Old Small Batch by the flask because 1) I think it’s a good whisky, and 2) I love the glass flasks for pouring half of another bottle into, either to save it for later or (if it’s a more expensive whisky) to cut down on oxidization as I spare it along. I’ve got a 200 ml empty CR De Luxe bottle and a bunch of sample bottles for the same reasons. I love having a collection of samples for comparison!


  5. Peter:

    Problem is I have 2/3 bottle of C21. What am I going to do as this does not exist anymore? Tell me I am mistaken.

    Solution is Lot 40 I guess.

    Only glaring issue I see is Ninety getting a bronze medal. This may be the best whiskey in the world and at $50 it surely is the best value whiskey in the world.

    All those Crown Royal whiskies named and no Cask 16?

    No CC 20 Yrs, really?

  6. [...] Really slacking on this one, but put out its Canadian Whisky Awards way back in January and we somehow managed to miss it. We also recently tasted the Collingwood 21, which *spolier alert* won Whisky of the Year and we can taste why. Read our tasting here. Have a look at the rest of the awards at [} [...]

  7. [...] It’s an industry that’s growing at fast enough of a clip to merit the creation of the Canadian Whisky Awards. It’s an industry piquing enough interest to make liquor conglomerates pay attention. In [...]

  8. Jeff c:

    I am truly shocked at Gibsons 12 and especially the 18 yr being a bronze.
    I don t give the judges much credit seeing these results.
    I do not trust the results either. I have done blind tests comparing 40 creek to Gibsons.

    • Davin:

      Gibson’s 18 is one of my all-time favourites. Still, the judges have a difficult task and I have to respect their work and their results.

  9. Andy:

    Which kind of “JP Wiser’s Rye” is it that received the silver medal? You have some listed as “JP Wiser’s xxx” and others listed as “Wiser’s xxx” yet every bottle of Wiser’s says JP on it. I think you should label them all with the JP in front (or none) to avoid confusion.

    Pine Creek appears to only make one kind of rye looking at their website. Is Pine Creek Vintage Double Barrel the “Pine Creek 10 Year”, the “Pine Creek NAS” or is it a completely different beast?

    Also why is Forty Creek Cream even being compared to other whiskey when its a 17% liqueur. I understand many flavored whiskeys are no longer 40% but there’s a big difference between a flavored 35% whiskey and a 17% whiskey liqueur. A fair comparison would be stacking it up against Bailey’s or other cream liqueur but not against spirits.

    • Davin:

      1. This whisky, which is exclusive to the US is labelled “JP Wiser’s Rye.”
      2. There are two different Pike Creeks. The 10 year old is exclusive to Canada, the nas version is sold in other countries.
      3. This was entered in the flavoured whisky category.
      Hope this helps.

  10. [...] mouth feel and complexity that belies its age. I am in agreement with Davin de Kergommeaux from The Barry’s hit this one out of the park for their first Rye [...]

  11. [...] mouth feel and complexity that belies its age. I am in agreement with Davin de Kergommeaux from The Barry’s hit this one out of the park for their first Rye [...]

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