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Scotch - Whisky - Brandy - Cognac

Find out more about these mythical drinks and their regions
of origin, use our taste tags to better guide your choices
and discover the latest trends.

Tags for every taste

Whisky, brandy, cognac… These unique and fascinating elixirs are all the result of distillation and are generally
aged in oak barrels. Today, fine spirits are best discovered through our five taste tags
– the easiest way to explore this incredible palette of aromas and nuances.

Select a taste tag to find out more

Light & Floral

These delicate spirits often present dominant floral notes, highlighted by subtle hints of fruit and woody accents. Elegant and accessible, they make for a great introduction to fine spirits.

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Regions

  • Irland
  • Canada
  • Scotland

Distilleries

  • Johnnie Walker
  • Jameson
  • Crown Royal
  • Canadian Club

Discover

Johnnie Walker Red Label

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Did you know

These products are found mainly among Canadian whiskies, Irish whiskeys and blended scotches, enjoyed neat, on the rocks or with a mixer. Because they’re affordable, they will also be great in cocktails and in your favourite recipes.

Medium-Bodied & Fruity

These spirits are medium-bodied and balanced. Characterized by notes of pear, apple, citrus fruit, and peach, and complemented by spicy notes, they are refined and delicate.

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Regions

  • Scotland
  • Japan
  • Irland

Distilleries

  • Glenfiddich
  • Nikka
  • Chivas Brothers
  • Bushmills

Discover

Chivas Regal 12 years old

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Did you know

Several Scottish Highlands single malts, blended scotches, brandies and Cognacs are representative of this profile where the heat of the alcohol and the flavours are well integrated, pleasing neophytes and savvy amateurs alike.

Medium-Bodied & Woody

Medium-bodied and mainly dominated by aging notes, these spirits possess flavours of vanilla, mild spices and red berries. Their woody side results in a thick and oily texture, and a slightly rustic character.

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Regions

  • United States
  • Canada

Distilleries

  • Seagram’s
  • Maker’s Mark
  • Jack Daniel
  • James B. Beam

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Jack Daniel's Old Nº7

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Did you know

American whiskeys, including the famous bourbons, are a great example of this profile along with certain Canadian whiskies aged for prolonged periods in barrels. With their beguiling vanilla-y notes, they’ll be great in a multitude of cocktails!

Full-Bodied & Complex

Imposingly powerful, these spirits reveal a wide range of flavours: spices, roasting, wood, fruit, and nuts. Their heat, complexity, and intensity attract savvy connoisseurs.

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Regions

  • Scotland
  • United States
  • Irland

Distilleries

  • Glenmorangie
  • Aberlour
  • Jack Daniel
  • Buffalo Trace

Discover

Jack Daniel's Single Barrel

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Did you know

These spirits come from all over but Scotland and the United States are well represented in this taste tag. Showing true character, they’re often sipped neat by purists but may also be enjoyed diluted with a few drops of water.

Full-Bodied & Smoky

These scotches present layers of smoke, peat, and iodine. Complex, imposing and unique, they stand out with the intensity of their perfumes and are appreciated by connoisseurs.

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Regions

  • Scottish Isles:
    Islay, Skye, Jura, Orkney, Arran, Mull

Distilleries

  • Bowmore
  • Talisker
  • Ardbeg
  • Laphroaig

Discover

Bowmore Islay 12 years old

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Did you know

Considered the pinnacle of whiskies by several aficionados, these scotches are emblematic of the Scottish Isles (including Islay), where the all-pervading sea air and the use of peat lend them a unique and fascinating personality.

WHISKIES THROUGHOUT THE WORLD

Whisky is a type of eau-de-vie distilled using a variety of cereals and following the traditions
and availability of the raw materials. Most producing countries require aging in oak barrels.
Only whiskies distilled and aged in Scotland can bear the name of scotch.

 Canada

The United States

Ireland

Scotland

the Highlands and Speyside

The islands

The Lowlands

  Japan

Canada

A small player on the world stage, Canada offsets this by standing out with a varied selection of quality whiskies.

A HERITAGE INFLUENCED BY IMMIGRATION

Just like in the United States, the history of distillation in Canada has been strongly influenced by the large number of Irish and Scottish immigrants. They certainly had no intention of giving up their traditions just because they left the motherland, especially since their new country was covered with vast cereal fields, the primary ingredient needed to make whisky!

A DIVERSIFIED SELECTION

Historically, Canada was known for its important production of rye whiskies, made predominantly from this rustic cereal well-adapted to the climate of the Prairies. This is why Canadian whiskies are still often described as such, regardless of the cereals they’re made with. Today, there’s a varied selection available, from subtle and delicate offerings to more complex and woody ones, but always balanced and accessible.

Products from this region

Exported illegaly to the United States during the prohibition years (1920 to 1933), Canadian whisky’s popularity soared and never lost its momentum, even when alcohol became legal again. Appreciated for their silky character, Canadian whiskies may be enjoyed neat or with your favourite mixer.

Highlands and Speyside

The Highlands span a vast territory comprising the smaller Speyside region, reaching the northernmost areas of Scotland.

THE HIGHLANDS

It is home to dozens of distilleries and as many styles of whiskies. No common style stands out due to this variety, but robust aromas of caramel, malt, molasses, vanilla, spices and wood are often found. Some distilleries also offer peaty and smoky whiskies.

SPEYSIDE

About forty distilleries among Scotland’s most famous are located in Speyside, a region renowned for the exceptional quality of its water and abundance of natural resources. Its scotches claim to be the most elegant and classic with their fragrances of honey, pear, candied fruits and notes of vanilla and flowers.

Products from this region

Scotch is aged for a minimum of 3 years. Several types of oak casks are used (bourbon casks, sherry casks, etc.), bringing further complexity to the flavours of the final product.

The Islands

Scattered in the North Sea, the Scottish Islands offer a dramatic natural scenery that is home to many renowned distilleries.

A WORLD APART

Sometimes associated with the Highlands, distilleries from the Scottish Isles nevertheless offer a unique style and they seem to be a world apart in their craggy landscape. The Isle of Islay has eight distilleries, the Isles of Jura, Arran, Mull and Skye one each and the Orkney Islands has two.

AN IMPOSING STYLE

The Islands offer powerful scotches among the most sought after by whisky aficionados. With the sea close by, the oak casks are permeated by saline air, which often translates into notes of iodine in the glass, where smoky, fruity and spicy aromas can also be perceived.

Products from this region

The small Isle of Islay is recognized as a production region in itself since it has eight distilleries, producing authentic whiskies that acquired a cult following, famous for their deeply smoky, peaty and sometimes iodine character.

The Lowlands

Its whiskies share a well-defined style. They’re famous for their subtlety and their floral, herbaceous and fruity character.

THE REMNANTS OF HISTORY

Long ago, this region that includes Glasgow and the capital, Edinburgh, was a major production center for scotch. Today, only a few distilleries remain. In operation since the 19th century, they’re renowned for their subtle whiskies.

ACCESSIBLE SCOTCHES

If you’re hesitant when it comes to whiskies, Lowlands single malts are ideal to begin your initiation. Since they’re delicate, they won’t overwhelm your taste buds, allowing you to enjoy their notes of citrus, hay, cereals, caramel and spices.

Products from this region

The whiskies from Auchentoshan Distillery are distilled three times (like often in Ireland), instead of twice like elsewhere in Scotland, which accentuates their delicate style and makes them particularly smooth.

The United States

The many Irish and Scottish immigrants brought their know-how with them to the United States, creating a wide range of seducing and supple whiskeys.

BOURBON

Hailing from the eponymous Kentucky county, Bourbon may be produced anywhere in the United States, as long as it’s made with at least 51% corn and aged for at least 2 years in new oak casks. Its typical fragrances of vanilla, burnt sugar, banana, cherry and sweet spices are a perfect match for lovers of rich and generous whiskeys.

RYE

American rye whyskeys are making a noticed comeback after being forgotten for a while. Made predominantly from rye, they display a unique style. Strongly spiced (almost peppery), they exhibit scents of ginger, orange zest, nuts and caramel. They can be enjoyed neat and will also add personality to whisky-based cocktails.

Products from this region

Although there’s more than one theory, the most common is that Bourbon got its name from Bourbon County, Kentucky, famous for its whiskey, the county itself having been named to honour the French royal family (the Bourbons) for their support to American revolutionaries.

Ireland

At one time at the center of the world’s whisky production, Ireland slowly took a backstep to Scotland, while continuing to offer whiskeys deserving attention.

A TRADITION THAT’S ALIVE AND WELL

Still very active today, whiskey distillation in Ireland dates back, by most accounts, to 600 AD, when monks brought back stills from the Middle East. Although Scotland is now at the forefront, Irish whiskeys do not pale in comparison with scotches, offering a wide range of products with distinctive characteristics.

AN ORIGINAL SIGNATURE

Irish whiskeys are often triple distilled, which lends them a delicate style with herbaceous, floral and fruity notes, highlighted by scents of cereals, vanilla and caramel. Ireland also offers a style of whiskey uniquely its own, the pure pot still, which integrates a portion of unmalted barley to the blend, giving it typical aromas of cereals, hay, fresh herbs and citrus.

Products from this region

Did you say "whiskey"? Irish whiskey adopts the "ey" written form (just like American whiskey) to differentiate it from Scottish whisky. By contrast, in Canada and Japan, "whisky" is spelled just the same as in Scotland…

Japan

The Land of the Rising Sun turned to Scotland for inspiration when it started producing whiskies, showcasing its legendary meticulousness.

A MODEL AND STUDIOUS PUPIL

Whisky production in Japan dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. It is closely linked to young chemistry student Masataka Taketsuru. Fascinated by scotches, he trained at Longmorn Distillery before managing Yamazaki Distillery at home starting in 1923. He founded his own distillery, Nikka, in 1960.

A TIME-HONOURED TRADITION

Japan often projects the image of an ultramodern, technology-savvy country. This being said, it’s ironic to note that its whiskies are deeply rooted in the traditional Scottish style of the 1930s. Appreciated for their balance and persistance, they managed to establish themselves on world markets.

Products from this region

Two giants dominate the Japanese market: Suntory and Nikka. Disciples of traditional methods that even the Scots abandoned, they also purchased several distilleries in that region; Suntory, for example, owns Auchentoshan, Bowmore and Glen Garioch.

The tasting kit

Inside:

- 5 mini-bottles (one for each fine spirits taste tag)

- A tasting guide

- Entertaining coasters

GREAT CHOICES TO START EXPLORING

Scotch whisky
United Kingdom, 750 ml
Taste tag: Light and floral Base spirit: Fine Spirit
Regular price: $29.95
Irish whiskey
Ireland, 750 ml
Taste tag: Medium-bodied and fruity Base spirit: Fine Spirit
Regular price: $32.25
Canadian whisky
Canada, 750 ml
Taste tag: Medium-bodied and woody Base spirit: Fine Spirit
Regular price: $27.95
American whiskey
United States, 750 ml
Taste tag: Full-bodied and complex Base spirit: Fine Spirit
Regular price: $48.75
Scotch whisky
United Kingdom, 750 ml
Taste tag: Full-bodied and smoky Base spirit: Fine Spirit
Regular price: $45.00

TRENDING Spirits

"The ryes go ballistic"
 

If you’re a lover of spicy and full-bodied spirits loaded with character, look no further than 1792 small batch bourbon. Whisky guru Jim Murray stated about it in in his "Whisky Bible" that "the ryes go ballistic, especially on the spice front". Fall under the charm of its intense rye, caramel and vanilla notes, and see if you share Mr. Murray’s impressions!

RICH, COMPLEX
AND TRIPLE DISTILLED 

Each drop of Auchentoshan is triple distilled. Why? If the distillery uses this long and costly process, it’s in order to offer a complex but smooth scotch, ideal enjoyed on its own and versatile enough for your favourite cocktails. The nose unveils crème brûlée, a burst of citrus and aromas of nuts while fruits, hazelnuts and notes of cinnamon can be perceived in the mouth.

SAQ COURSES