Canadian Whisky Awards 2010 - Innovation


Canadian Whisky Award of Excellence – Innovation of the Year: Highwood Distillers, White Owl WhiskyWhite Owl Whisky has no peer in Canada or anywhere else in the world for that matter. It is after all the first ever fully oak-matured white whisky. White Owl retains all the flavours of Canadian rye whisky, while adding the cocktail-mixability of white spirits. In so doing, it successfully introduces the flavours of Canadian whisky to a whole new demographic.Although it hasn’t been seen in recent years, white whisky is not exactly new to Canada. In the past there has been a strong market for so-called “whisky blanc” – a fully matured whisky, at least technically, but aged in metal containers so that it did not have any of the familiar oak-derived flavours normally associated with Canadian whisky. But it sure was mixable.With White Owl Whisky, Highwood Distillers has notched up the concept of whisky blanc considerably, by maturing the whisky fully, not in metal but in oak barrels, then using charcoal to filter out the colour, but not the flavour.White Owl has been a smash hit with the cocktail crowd, so much so that Highwood had to scramble to keep up with early demand. In focus groups, female imbibers seemed particularly drawn to the whisky flavours of a clear spirit that did not muddy up the appearance of an elegant cocktail.Highwood Distillers is an independent Canadian distillery with a maverick approach that values rapid reaction to markets, forward thinking, and experimentation, approaches that make it a clear winner of this inaugural award.Canadian Whisky Award of Excellence – Innovation of the YearWhite Owl Whisky is reviewed here.All Canadian Whisky Awards winners for 2010 are listed here.