At this year’s 10th annual Canadian Whisky Awards, a blend known as the Pike Creek 21 Year Old Oloroso Cask Finish took home three awards, including Whisky of the Year, Best Blended Whisky and Connoisseur Whisky of the Year Domestic. The flavour of this blend marries the sweet, smooth characteristics of Canadian whisky, with the depth and complexity found in single malts.
The man behind this winning blend is Master Blender Dr. Don Livermore, who is the Master Blender of J.P. Wiser’s at Hiram Walker & Sons Ltd.
Livermore holds an MSc and PhD in Brewing & Distilling, with a focus on how wood interacts with whisky. Additionally, Livermore also took home the award for Blender of the Year for the second year in a row, and Distillery of the Year for Hiram Walker & Sons.
“To be recognized as the Distillery of the Year is a tremendous accolade. From grain to glass, there is a dedicated and passionate team behind our whiskies,” said Livermore.
The Canadian Whisky Awards recognize the very best in Canadian whiskies, and encourages distilleries to maintain the highest standards for making whisky. To qualify for these awards, the whisky must be distilled and matured in Canada; made from grains, fermented, distilled, and aged in Canada; aged in wooden barrels of less than 700 L for a minimum of 3 years, and be more than 40% abv.
“We are not told we have to use a mash bill – like bourbon. We are not told how to distill. Pot still. Column still. The choice is ours. And we are not told what barrel types we can use. New wood. Used wood. Wine barrels. Rum barrels. The choice is ours. That makes Canadian Whisky diverse. Isn’t that Canadian?” said Livermore.