With its reputation for lighter - less complex - whiskies, its confusing labeling and the fact that the higher quality whiskies are hard to find outside Canada, Canadian whisky doesn’t enjoy the greatest global reputation. The laws in Canada allow it to be labelled Canadian Whisky, Canadian Rye Whisky or Rye Whisky but do not specify a minimum rye content. It is often blended from two component whiskies - a lighter corn whisky base and a rye ‘flavouring’ whisky. Since the amount of rye can be quite small drinkers used to more characterful American straight rye whiskeys frequently find it quite disappointing.
The news isn’t all bad however because there are some examples of fine Canadian whisky - some of the older whiskies from Crown Royal and Canadian Club have garnered praise in recent years. The US company Buffalo Trace, known for the quality and innovation in its whiskeys, owns the Caribou Crossing & Royal Canadian brands and is releasing some interesting small batch bottlings under those names.