Legal Requirements of Canadian whisky

According to the laws of Canada;
A Canadian whisky must be mashed, distilled and aged in Canada.
It may contain caramel (as may Scotch whisky) and flavouring, in addition to the distilled mash spirits.
As with Scotch and Irish whiskey, the alcohol content of the spirits used may exceed 90%. Thus, much of the spirits used in making a Canadian whisky, prior to aging, may have less grain-derived flavor than typical single malts or American. "straight" whiskies.
While this aspect is similar to Scotch and Irish whisky regulations, it contrasts with the maximum alcoholic proof limits on distillation (80%abv) and aging (62.5% abv) purity allowed in the production of "straight" whisky in America. All spirits used in making a Canadian whisky must be aged for at least three years in wooden barrels of not greater than 700 L capacity (a requirement similar to that for Scotch and Irish whisky and stricter than for American. whisky).
The final whisky must contain at least 40 percent alcohol by volume. As with Scotch and most other whiskies, the barrel used for aging may be new or re-used and may be toasted, charred or left raw.


Historically, in Canada, whisky that had some rye grain added to the mash bill to give it more flavour came to be called “rye”. Although many Canadian whiskies are still labeled as “rye”, the modern mash bill for a Canadian “rye” whisky often contains little or no rye grain, and their flavour is derived in other ways (such as flavour development from the aging process, blending with stronger-tasting Canadian whiskies, and the addition of flavourings).

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