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Highwood Ninety 20 Year Old

Canadian Corn

3 1389

@NozinanReview by @Nozinan

25th Nov 2016

0

  • Nose
    ~
  • Taste
    ~
  • Finish
    ~
  • Balance
    ~
  • Overall
    89

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

As the sun sets on the old Connosr website and we eagerly anticipate its rebirth on the new site, I’m sure I’m not the only one itching to post the “last review” . This is my attempt to end it all with a Canadian whisky.

This expression, from Highwood Distillers in Alberta, is made up of 100% corn, and yet is labelled a rye. This is one of the interesting foibles of Canadian whisky nomenclature. The name derives from its (American) proof and the minimum age of the whisky in the bottle.

This expression is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes. As is my habit with Canadian whiskies, I did not add water to this expression. The bottle is about half full, opened in December 2015, and gassed after each use.


Nose

First thing that hits me on pouring is fruity sweetness, then caramel. Then freshly opened can of corn kernels packed in water. Then I get dustiness. Leaving it for 20 minutes (while putting the kids to bed), I come back to intense caramel and vanilla. 22/25

Taste

The first sip is an explosion of caramel and very spirity. Then comes sweetness, loads of vanilla. The development is slightly drying. 21/25

Finish

The finish lingers longer than expected, leaving behind the impression, just the impression, that I am sucking on a buttered corn cob that has been eaten and all that is left is the empty cob. 21/25

Balance

This is NOT a very complex whisky, but the nose and palate complement each other very well. What you smell is what you taste. A little sweet. I don’t mind but some others might be put off by this. 22/25

Sequential Score: 86/100

However, this whisky is better than an 86. This is full-flavoured, and gets better and better with each sip. My enjoyment of this supersedes the technical analysis and I am assigning this a score of:

89/100


This is a very flavourful whisky, one of my favourite Canadian expressions. I did have the opportunity, thanks to Spirit of Toronto and @Talexander, to taste an independent bottling of a similar spirit from the distillery served up at cask strength, and I would eagerly welcome a standard bottling of this nectar at cask strength.

See you on the other side…

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13 comments

@Spitfire
Spitfire commented

I have to agree with you--not complex at all, but very sweet and satisfying and easy to drink--I find it all brown sugar and gentle spice, kinda like gingerbread. One of my favourite Canadians, too. I've just bought my second bottle.

2 years ago 0

@MaltActivist
MaltActivist commented

Interesting. Not a lot of Canadian whiskies in my neck of the woods.

2 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@MaltActivist All the more reason to fly OVER Islay and into Toronto where there are at least half a dozen Connosrs who would be happy to put you up and set you up with more than you can taste.

I'm sure we could convince @Paddockjudge to visit and do his famous Wiser's Legacy exercise. A true legacy-building experience.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@MaltActivist
MaltActivist commented

I don't doubt that at all! Fingers crossed I might make it across the pond this summer. Plans still being finalized.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Mancub
Mancub commented

Just noticed that the LCBO raised the price on this from $49.95 to $57.95. Maybe to clear out stock with the old labels to make room for the new or maybe just because...that seems more in line with their price increases.

about one year ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@Mancub I don't think they would raise the price to clear out stock, but then again, who knows what the KGBO does or why?

about one year ago 0

@Mancub
Mancub commented

@Nozinan This whisky vexes me a little. Upon first opening it I thought it was just okay, but after a second tasting a couple weeks later I thought it was pretty great. My father-in-law also really enjoyed it, more so than the Benromach 10 and Bowmore Laimrig IV we tried it with. It's now several months later (bottle is about 1/3rd full - has been gassed), and I felt it was quite underwhelming. Maybe the moment was wrong and I need to give it another chance? How have you found your open bottle to taste? Has it changed much?

about one year ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@Mancub I last tried it Nov. 26. That's the problem with normally having 1-2 drams a week, 50 bottles open and a month off. I opened the bottle just over a year ago and it has always been gassed, and I've seen no drop in quality. Remind me in February and I'll see if I can look at it again...

about one year ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@Mancub, an 89 score from @Nozinan for a Canadian Whisky is like a ninety-five for a single malt.

about one year ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@paddockjudge

I think it would be more accurate to say that an 89 that I give to a Canadian whisky is equivalent to you giving it a 95.

A 95 I give to a Malt would mean I like that malt a lot more than something that gets an 89.

There are malts that I like as much as the Highwood and they get marks about the same level.

about one year ago 0

@Mancub
Mancub commented

@paddockjudge I'm not sure where I stand number wise, I'll revisit it this week and maybe have more to contribute. While I have enjoyed this one, I shared it with about 8 fellow whisky drinkers at one of our monthly meetings and none of them jumped out of their seats for it.

about one year ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@Mancub I think I enjoy it most when I'm in just the right mood for it. For 45% it packs a lot of flavour.

about one year ago 0

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