Whisky Wednesday Column: Gretzky No. 99 Maple Cask

by Stephen Dafoe

I haven’t been a big fan of the Wayne Gretzky No. 99 line of whiskey products, but I was intrigued when I heard that they had brought out a product called maple cask.

There are a lot of maple whiskies or so-called maple whiskies on the market. Cabot trail make a great one. Crown royal make a maple whiskey. The problem is they aren’t true whiskeys because they’re under 40 percent alcohol by volume. They’re liqueurs. This one = Gretzky Maple Cask – is actually 40 alcohol by volume, so it’s a true Canadian whiskey.

What makes this one interesting is that the distiller takes the casks to a maple syrup producer. The maple syrup producer fills the casks with their maple syrup and ages them for four months. Then when they bottle up the maple syrup, the empty casks go back to the distiller who puts the whiskey in it to age.

So it takes on the subtle subtle notes of the maple syrup. It’s the same as using ex-bourbon or sherry casks to make a scotch or a whiskey.

There’s a really really subtle maple syrup smell to Maple Cask. The Cabot Trail and the Crown Royal also have that maple aroma too but I find it’s a little overpowering. This one is quite subtle. It’s has a sweetness to it that’s quite nice.

The taste just a hint of maple syrup. It’s like if you had your pancakes and you put two drops on it – it’s that kind of thing.

What I don’t particularly like about it is, while the maple taste stays with you on the tongue, when you swallow the whiskey you get hit with that kind of Wayne Gretzky 99 slap shot taste that’s common in all of their products. It’s kind of an oily taste.

But the maple taste stays in your mouth for quite a while and the warmth going down is pleasant.

Like I say, not a fan of Gretzky’s stuff. but I have to say they’ve scored on this one. It’s kind of like a hockey team or like some hockey teams it starts the period strong and withers in the finish.

I do recommend it. I’d probably give this one no more than a seven out of ten, and I’m probably being a touch generous there.

But if you like maple syrup and you like Canadian whiskey, the combination is nice. It’s unique. I

t is a little pricey for some whiskeys. I think this line is pricey for what you get. It’s in the high $30 range and you can find stuff that’s much better for less.

But I do recommend it. If you want something different definitely pick up this one.

And until next time cheers.

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