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By Davin de Kergommeaux
Published by Appetite by Random House, 2024

There was perhaps no better choice for who should write this guide, which is more or less a love letter to Canadian whisky, than whisky expert Davin de Kergommeaux.

“Handles, mickeys, shots, or drams, no matter what its measure, Canadian whisky is a story of Canada,” Kergommeaux tells his readers in the Introduction, a theme carried throughout the entire book.

Canadian Whisky, Updated and Expanded (Third Edition): The Essential Portable Expert was originally published in 2012. In this fully updated edition, Kergommeaux covers everything a whisky enthusiast or the curious passerby could want to know, from how Canadian whisky is made, to the history of legacy distilleries across the country, to tasting techniques. From Introduction to Epilogue, Kergommeaux “tells the story of Canadian whisky by taking the reader inside the bottle, the distillery, and the marketplace.”

He starts with the basics. In Section One: The Substance of Canadian Whisky, Kergommeaux guides the reader through two of the most important ingredients in Canadian whisky: grain and water. Kergommeaux plants the reader on the Canadian Prairies to explore the wheat, corn, rye grain and malting barley typically used to create Canadian whisky. From there, Kergommeaux delves into Section Two: How Canadian Whisky is Made, which divides the process into four key parts: Processing, Distilling, Maturing and Blending.
In this new edition, Kergommeaux has added over 100 new tasting notes for Canada’s top whiskies, such as Forty Creek Barrel Select and Crown Royal Fine De Luxe, from legacy bestsellers to micro distilleries.

While the history of Canadian whisky makes up the bulk of the book, readers who don’t typically pick up history books should not let that dissuade them from Canadian Whisky – by weaving extensive research, historical fact and anecdotes from master blenders and distilling family royalty, Kergommeaux tells the engaging story about how Canada came to be through the lens of Canadian whisky.

A testament to Kergommeaux’s care for the craft, the inside cover of Canadian Whisky includes a map showing traditional and “lost” (as in, no longer functioning) distilleries across Canada, and the back inside cover includes a map of artisanal Canadian distilleries.

Whisky enthusiasts, industry experts and any curious reader would surely benefit from Canadian Whisky, Updated and Expanded (Third Edition): The Essential Portable Expert, to delve into the history of Canadian whisky and ultimately gain a better understanding of – and appreciation for – how Canadian whisky is made. 

For more information on Canadian Whisky, visit canadianwhisky.org.

Bill Ashburn, Forty Creek’s master blender
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Forty Creek Distillery

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Hiram Walker & Sons distillery
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Hiram Walker & Sons

Josée GulayetsJosée GulayetsMarch 21, 2024