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What Bartenders Should Know about Canadian Whisky

Canadian whisky (spelled without the e) is a blend of aged grain whisky and heavier-flavored blended whiskies; it's aged in oak casks (usually white oak barrels) for a minimum of three years. No rules limit the grain, distilling proof, formula, or type of barrels used.

Each distiller is allowed to make its own type of whisky. Canadian whiskies sold in the United States are blends bottled at a minimum of 80 proof and are generally 3 years old or older. Popular brands of Canadian whisky include the following:

  • Black Velvet: 80 proof and 3 years old.

  • Canadian Club: 80 proof and 6 years old.

  • Canadian Mist: 80 proof and 3 years old.

  • Crown Royal, Crown Royal Special Reserve, and Crown Royal XR: All 80 proof.

  • Seagram's VO: 86 proof; aged for 6 years (the VO means “Very Own” or “Very Old”).

  • Tangle Ridge: 100-percent rye whisky aged for 10 years in oak barrels, blended with sherry and other natural flavors, and then recased before bottling.

If you're looking for a flavored Canadian whisky, try one of these:

  • Crown Royal Maple: 80 proof.

  • Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey: 66 proof.

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