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Collingwood Brings Maple Finish to Canadian Whisky

Jack Bettridge
Posted: March 25, 2011

The march of interesting new whisky finishes has taken another large step with the introduction of Collingwood, the first whisky of its kind to undergo an extra aging step wherein it rests with toasted maple wood.

Collingwood is a triple-distilled Canadian whisky, initially aged in charred-oak barrels before the extra maturation, which the producer, Brown-Forman, says is intended to make the whisky "exceptionally smooth." And at that it has succeeded, although despite having the rough edges honed, the whisky manages to be quite flavorful. The flavor profile is very fruit driven with a complex spice load.

The term finish in the whisky world refers to a period of extra maturation (usually not more than a year) that is performed with wood casks of a varying type. The practice was developed in Scotland, where Scotch typically aged in former Bourbon barrels would then enjoy time in a former wine cask.

Brown-Forman also makes Jack Daniel's Tennessee Sour Mash whiskey, which is in part defined by a mellowing process in which the whiskey is filtered through sugar maple charcoal. Another B-F product is Woodford Reserve Bourbon, which recently released a Master Collection edition that was finished in maple wood.

Chris Morris, the master distiller of Brown-Forman, comments that "by now, people have figured out fancy bags and bottles don't make great whisky, it's what's inside that counts." That said, the Collingwood package is nonetheless impressive. The 750-ml bottle is in a distinct rectangular shape with a large black over-cap that hides the neck when closed.

While the whisky is quite smooth, it is in a category—Canadian—that already tends to be quite mellow. What struck us more was the profusion of flavor. We've so far enjoyed it only neat, but the preponderance of sweetness suggests it would be an amicable whisky for mixing, especially in Manhattans and Old-Fashioneds.

Collingwood is currently available in Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana and Texas. More markets will be added during 2011.

TASTING NOTE

Collingwood, Hand-crafted Blended Canadian Whisky, (80 proof, 40 percent alcohol by volume) $26.99

APPEARANCE: Amber and copper color. Medium-slow, fat legs.


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Comments   3 comment(s)

stantine972 March 25, 2011 2:38pm ET

The bottle reminds me of a bottle of cologne , or knob creek with a big cap. Jack have you tasted Collingwood with a cigar? If not what do you think would be a nice match?


Kevin Feteira — Hamilton, Ontario, Canada,  —  March 31, 2011 11:12am ET

It seems like people constantly are telling me they have found a better whisky and ill go buy a bottle but I always go back to my crown royal, a double crown on the rocks is my drink usualy accompanied with an esspresso before or after, and a Cuban Romeo Y Julieta. Would you recommend this whisky to me or maybe something else?


Ben Potvin — Canada,  —  May 6, 2012 12:23pm ET

I went and got a bottle of this stuff a week or so ago and I didn't really enjoy it by itself. But it was really good with a cigar and in cocktails. I only tried it in a whiskey sour and Manhattan though.


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