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Thursday, October 27, 2022

Ninety 20 year old Canadian Rye Whisky

Originally named Sunnyvale Distillery, Highwood Distillery was built in High River, Alberta, 37 years ago. In 2005, the distillery's owners bought Potter's Distillers, an NDP/broker with a good stash of its own Canadian casks. Using both sources, Highwood Distillers currently bottles a wide range of whiskies and flavored-whiskies, two of which tilt the Canadian scales at 45%abv, a 5 year old rye and a 20 year old rye, both of the Ninety (as in proof) brand. I have a 2oz sample of that 20 year old rye right here...

Company: Highwood Distillers
Brand: Ninety
Distillery: Highwood Distillery (and perhaps others)
Region: Alberta, Canada (and perhaps others)
Type: Rye
Age: at least 20 years
Maturation: Bourbon barrels for the first two decades, then six months in sherry casks
Alcohol by Volume: 45%
Chillfiltered? Probably
e150a? Probably
(from a bottle split)


The nose begins lightly fruity and floral. Apples and peaches. Wheated bourbon and Nillas. It gets quirkier with time, picking up notes of Dove soap, Loch Lomond-type funk and shoe polish.

The palate is very very sweet. Root beer, vanilla and loads of caramel blanket the foreground. Mocha, neutral grain spirit and a hint of bitterness lie below.

Caramel, mint extract and mocha fill the cloying finish.


The pleasures of Canadian whiskies largely escape me. Perhaps Ninety would fare better next to Canadian Club's Rye, but Lot No. 40 whups it royally in a side-by-side. The enjoyable nose does rescue Ninety's score from the D-range. But this really seems like caramel-flavored whisky, the resulting palate made for sweeter teeth than mine. Not a great week for international whiskies so far...

Availability - Canadiana
Pricing - 60-70USD(?)
Rating - 74