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Highwood Ninety 20 Year Old

Corny Canadian

1 591

@talexanderReview by @talexander

18th Dec 2015

0

  • Nose
    23
  • Taste
    23
  • Finish
    22
  • Balance
    23
  • Overall
    91

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

This has long been one of my favourite Canadians. It comes from Highwood Distillers in High River, Alberta, and is one of the rare Canadian whiskies that is at least 20 years old. I had always thought it was 100% corn but now I'm not so sure...

The colour is a light amber. On the nose it's pure oak and corn, like a great Scottish grain: tons of vanilla, butterscotch, mint, green apple, tropical fruits and buttered croissants (and popcorn, for that matter). Spicy with cinnamon and cloves. Rye bread comes out with water. Luxurious.

Sweet on the palate (but not too sweet) with maple, more butterscotch, ginger and grapefruit pith. Feels stronger than 45%. Very silky mouthfeel - and gets much spicier with time (and a drop of water). Delicious, very dessert-y (you could pour it on ice cream!)

The medium-length finish brings out more maple, with late-arriving rye spice, oak and savoury herbs. The reason I now question whether or not this is 100% corn is because I am getting more rye-ish notes as it oxidizes (and as I add water). Which doesn't mean it has spirit distilled from rye grain (the notes could be from the whisky maturing in used rye barrels). But I wonder. Tasting it side-by-side with another 20 year old Canadian (CC), you get the same oaky smoothness, but the CC 20 is a little spicier and even more complex. Davin de Kergommeaux scores this a 91 (as do I).

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5 comments

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

Had this tonight.... A truly impressive whisky!

3 years ago 0

@MaltActivist
MaltActivist commented

I've not had much Canadian whisky (just the Glen Breton Rare 10 Years and I wasn't impressed) but I think I have to seriously expand my knowledge given the good stuff coming out of there of late...

3 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

Come out to Toronto and we'll definitely set you up with GOOD Canadian whisky. I can promise no Glen Breton...

3 years ago 0

Astroke commented

My favorite Canadian along with Wiser's Legacy. Always have a backup. Would love to get my hands on the new release Canadian Rockies 21 years (46% ABV) and using Highwood Distillery Juice and bottled in Taiwan. Looks like only Alberta and maybe BC will get this one for now. The LCBO informed me they have no plans to bring this in (idiots). Oh well maybe just "Ninety 20" with another year on it and $16 extra for that year.

3 years ago 0

@AdamH
AdamH commented

Don't let the LCBO's canned responses get you down, it wouldn't surprise me if they brought it in at some point, especially given the early praise of Can Rockies 21 and recent hoopla over CRNHR.

3 years ago 0

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