SpiritsHandpicked by IWSC

Nine award-winning Canadian whiskies

From sweetly spiced and floral whiskies to ryes with expressive aromas, these are the best bottles of Canadian whisky from the IWSC 2023

Words by IWSC Judges

best canadian whisky
Handpicked by IWSC

Canadian whisky might, in some ways, be similar in style to blended Scotch, but it’s got a personality of its own, which many credit to the use of rye in its blends. That’s actually the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the drink and its differences to other world whiskies. Whiskies produced in the country must be aged for at least three years and be at least 40% ABV but beyond that, distillers are free to experiment in how they distill and age their spirits. And in fact, farmland improvements have allowed whisky makers to branch out to other grain blends. So even though the original whiskies of Canada were made using rye – the only grain to withstand harsh winters – nowadays, distillers are more likely to use corn than rye to make the country’s light, signature spirit.

best canadian whisky

The top Canadian whisky at this year’s IWSC was Black Fox Farm and Distillery’s SE Eleven Triticosecale Single Grain Whisky, which earned 94 points and impressed judges with its ‘flavour profile of cola sweet, tomato leaf and white pepper spice’. Another bottle that performed well was Hiram Walker and Sons’ Lot. 40 100% Rye Whisky, scoring 92 points and and boasting ‘a tropical aroma festival of kiwi, gooseberry and green apple with an indulgence of maraschino cherry on the palate’.

Every Canadian whisky on this list was judged by an expert panel, including Bordeaux Index spirits buyer Guy Hodcroft, spirits writer and consultant David T Smith, and ex-head buyer of spirits for Harvey Nichols and Enotria & Coe Ivan Dixon. Keep reading for the top whiskies from Canada and expert tasting notes from the judges.

hiram walker and sons distillery
The Hiram Walker Distillery, a pioneer of Canadian whisky and creator of one of the country's most well-known brands, Canadian Club


We run a tightly structured, rigorous spirits tasting process. That means that each spirit sample is pre-poured into numbered glasses and assessed blindly by the judges. Most importantly, our IWSC spirit judges are experts in their field, who work across all sectors of the drinks industry. For evidence, see our full list of judges.


Only the best spirits sampled receive a Gold or Silver award. For example, to win Gold, spirits have to score between 95 and 100 points. Meanwhile, Silver wines range from 90 to 94 points. Click here to read more on our scoring system.


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