Lot No. 40 was named the Canadian Whisky of the Year for 2015 at the sixth annual Canadian Whisky Awards held in the Grand Pacific Hotel of Victoria on Thursday night.
The rye whisky is distilled in Windsor, Ont., and was picked by a panel of 10 independent whisky experts. Results are based on a blind tasting competition during the opening evening of the popular Victoria Whisky Festival.
Canada is currently enjoying a rye renaissance, which is currently marked by the barnstorming demand for Crown Royal’s Northern Harvest Rye.
Crown Royal was caught by surprise when British whisky writer Jim Murray proclaimed Northern Harvest Rye “best whisky in the world” in his latest version of the whiskey bible. Since that November announcement, bottles of Northern Harvest Rye haven’t even hit the shelf, as they would pass from the back of delivery trucks to the hands of lined-up patrons awaiting its arrival.
“Bloggers still can’t believe it, but in blind tests they love [Northern Harvest] too,” said Davin de Kergommeaux, chairman of the Whisky Awards judge panel.
De Kergommeaux calls Lot No. 40 a “rye whisky sensation.”
“Interest in Canadian rye is surging globally and here is proof that Canada makes the best all-rye whiskies in the world,” he said.
Other top winners include Canadian Club 100% Rye, Gooderham & Worts, Crown Royal’s Hand Selected Barrel, and Masterson’s 10-Year-Old Rye.
“Canada’s whisky makers have responded to skyrocketing interest in Canadian whisky with a wealth of new high-end releases,” said de Kergommeaux. “For example, for the first time ever, a major legacy brand, Crown Royal, has bottled single barrel Canadian whisky at high proof.”
Canadian distillers released more small-batch and luxury whiskies in 2015 than ever before. Corby Distillers, for instance, introduced four new whiskies including the highly innovative Wiser’s Hopped Whisky.
Forty Creek, Centennial and Sortilège continued to maintain a strong presence for flavoured whiskies as well.
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.