The 10 Best Canadian Whisky Brands to Try in 2021
Canada’s whisky production can often be overlooked in favor of traditional powerhouses from Scottish and American distilleries.
The truth is that the Canadian whisky industry has a long and storied tradition. Canadian rye whisky has long been popular, and after saving the United States’ bacon during Prohibition it has remained a part of the liquor landscape ever since.
You could be forgiven for thinking that Canadian distillers are completely different to American distilleries (starting with the spelling of whisk(e)y on their bottles), however for the whisky lover that enjoys the peppery spice of rye whisky then they’re more alike than different.
This list of spirits showcases the best Canadian whisky to try in 2021, ranging from the independent distiller with distinct ideas about rye whisky production, to traditionally blended Canadian whisky popular around the world.
1. JP Wiser's Dissertation Rare Cask Series
Another of Dr. Don Livermore’s creations, this hard-to-get premium blended rye whisky (under the JP Wiser’s label) from the Hiram Walker distillery also features a mix of distilled rye (column and pot still mixed) and corn whisky.
Rye makes up 87% of the distillation, a much higher percentage of rye whisky than most, resulting in a strikingly individual whisky of great depth and complexity. At 46.1% ABV the punch of the alcohol pairs beautifully with the boldness of peppery spice and rye, then balanced against cereal malt whisky and vanilla smoothness.
If you’re a rye flavored whiskey fan or lover of smooth but punchy bursts of flavor, you’ll find that JP Wiser’s Dissertation will be an excellent addition to your home bar.
2. Forty Creek Double Barrel Reserve
Forty Creek Double Barrel Reserve Canadian Whisky is first aged in charred American white oak barrels for a minimum of three years. From there, it is finished for an additional 6-12 months in ex bourbon barrels casks.
This expression is reminiscent of American whiskey more so than other Canadian distillers, as the extra maturation gives the tasting note a wonderful, woody roasted aroma and a palate filled with vanilla, toasted baking spice, pecan and walnuts. The finish is extra-long with a full mouthfeel that is perfect over ice or for the neat sipping whisky drinker.
3. Lot No. 40 Rye Whisky
Long before the likes of Diageo, Suntory, and Pernod Ricard S.A (who currently own it) started globalizing the worldwide liquor game, there was Hiram Walker, one of the great booze barons who moved his distillery from Detroit across the border in 1858 to set up his crown jewel, and later his own town Walkerville (true story).
Lot No. 40 is not the only drop on this list to come from the Hiram Walker Distillery – one of the largest North American liquor producers – but it’s the most rye centric expression. Where some American distillers incorporate rye into a complex mash bill, Lot 40 dominates with its focus on rye spice and baking spice notes rather than corn and barley.
Lot 40 is crafted one batch at a time under the watchful eye of master blender Dr. Don Livermore, winner of countless Canadian Whisky Awards.
It commences distillation in a single copper pot still to preserve the fruity, floral notes that result from fermentation, then put into new American oak barrels to introduce notes of vanilla and caramel to rye. The resultant Canadian rye whisky is complex, bold tasting and emblematic of the best Canadian whisky production.
4. Gooderham & Worts Four Grain
Gooderham & Worts Four Grain aims to utilize the traditional recipe the original brand used in the 1800s when it dominated North American whisky. This 90 proof expression contains corn, barley, rye and wheat, all distilled separately in a combination of pot and column stills before being married together for maturation in virgin oak and ex-bourbon barrels.
The grains used work well together to create balance and complexity, with the rye taking the lead in strength but without overpowering the other flavors. The increase in potency over average strength really helps bring out the woodiness in the palate and aroma, while there’s enough corn and wheat sweetness to develop the taste’s likability.
Gooderham and Worts Four Grain is an expression to look for if you’re a fan of Canada’s whisky history, or an American whiskey drinker with a taste for smoother rye featured drinks.
5. Alberta Premium Rye Whisky
Alberta Distillers makes this premium rye whiskey that featured in our list of top rye whiskeys to try in 2021. Alberta Premium Rye Whisky blends two separately aged whiskeys, one of which is aged in bourbon casks for flavor.
After mixing they’re aged for another five years to give the barrel extra polish and to create a taste mixing caramel with hints of honey amidst the rye spice (which is strengthened from maturation in the cold climate). Alberta Distillers Premium Rye Whiskey is a fine tasting smooth spirit and affordable option for any whisky drinker, but it’s equally effective when deployed in traditional cocktails such as an Old Fashioned or Manhattan.
6. Signal Hill Whisky
Signal Hill is a whisky maker that takes a different approach to other blended whisky by focusing on corn and malt spirit, then aging them in three types of cask: ex bourbon barrel, ex Canadian whisky, and new oak cask.
The three casks bring out different aspects of the whisky’s character – vanilla and toffee notes, sweet grain and oaken spice – which is distinctly unique in comparison to other whisky brands that look for different grain types as part of their crafting process. On the nose, it offers sweet honey and vanilla, summer jam fruit and amidst the wood, and it is smooth and rich on the palate with dark plum and hints of honey.
The long finish is reminiscent of single malt Scotch whisky, especially Lowland and Speyside regional versions that aim for mellow, sweet, tastes and a golden hue.
7. Stalk & Barrel Single Malt Whisky Cask Strength
Stalk & Barrel is the first single malt produced in Ontario for more than a century. It’s a small-batch cask strength whisky, bottled at an ABV of 60.2% for more punch in the profile, aged in ex bourbon barrels for a minimum of three years.
For an expression at such a young age, Stalk & Barrel Single Malt offers a robust yet complex aroma and palate, loaded with cereal malt, vanilla, grape, pear, ginger and cinnamon notes, with a long note of fruit spice to finish. Stalk & Barrel also have a more traditional single malt whisky (40% ABV) and other rye grain expressions well worth checking out if you’re a single malt Scotch whisky drinker looking for something new and interesting.
8. Pike Creek 10 Year Old
Pike Creek 10 year old is a distinctly unique Canadian spirit that differs greatly from the traditionally more rounded, versatile ryes, sweeter than much of Canada’s whisky due to the finishing in rum casks (it was originally casked in port). This 10 year old suits the whisky drinker with a taste for richer up-front flavors – the brown sugar/molasses emphasis is clear – and the kick of rye and peppery spice.
It will likely be the most polarizing Canadian whisky on our list due to the influence of rum over oak barrel matured vanilla and caramel, but for whisky experts and those who enjoy a powerful flavor it’s certain to impress.
9. Canadian Club Whisky 1858
Created by whisky maker Hiram Walker in 1858 Canadian Club is arguably the most recognizable whisky brand the North has to offer. Known for its inexpensive price and easy drinking versatility; Canadian Club whisky is blended before aging in white oak barrels for six years.
1858 shares many similarities with Irish whiskey by blending sweetness and spice for a well-rounded flavor of vanilla, corn whisky, a hint of maple syrup and the oaky notes from lengthy barrel maturation. Look, there are some whiskies out there that just aren’t meant for drinking neat, with most whisky experts agreeing Canadian Club blended whisky is one of them – both for price and complexity reasons.
Personally, I find CC mixed with dry ginger ale and a fresh squeeze of Lime is the way to go, but it’s great for any mixed drink or cocktail. If it’s part of your home bar, it wont last long.
10. Crown Royal Blended Canadian Whisky
Lists of this kind must include Crown Royal and Canadian Club because their world whisky popularity and availability outweigh any heavy-duty analysis of their tasting note flaws. Much like introductory blended Scotch whisky or even companionable Irish whiskey, sometimes it’s better to flat out enjoy an easy, nice tasting drink mixed with dry, ginger beer, or coke than obsess over its levels of flavor.
Unlike Canadian Club, Crown Royal expands beyond its lead in bottle with a range of flavored whiskies meant to appeal for a younger, less stolid market, however in my opinion they’re not a patch on the original, which is smooth and easy to drink in just about any environment. Paying less than $30 a bottle for that kind of experience is certainly worth it!
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
With cellphones so ubiquitous, your watch choice can be less about telling time and more about personal style. However, a watch is not ‘just’ a watch. For example, the vast majority are made for right-handed people, but a select few cater to the lefties among us. There is a wide range in functionality and size.
The wristwatch is also one of the few socially acceptable accessories for men, so why not have a small selection? If you’re not cashing a CEO’s paycheck just yet, here are the top 28 most handsome watches for men that retail for under $500.
Got a bigger budget? Then check out our guide to the best men’s watches under $1000 instead.
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
1. Tommy Hilfiger Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
If you like the feel of a pliable, non-metal band but aren’t comfortable with genuine leather, this watch comes equipped with a handsome synthetic band. At 46mm in diameter, this watch is perfect for men of smaller stature, as it will not overpower your hand or make it look like you’re wearing your father’s watch. With bold Arabic numerals, a stainless steel case, and classic styling, this watch is an outstanding choice for an everyday watch and the man on a budget.
2. Nordgreen Pioneer – Black Dial
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Not everyone has an endless amount of cash to drop on a luxury timepiece. If you’re money-conscious but want something high-end, then why not consider the Nordgreen Pioneer.
An inspired take on a classic Chronograph, Nordgreen celebrates the Danish with what they call a timepiece “that captures the sustainable future.” Available in various dial colors from blue, black, and white. There’s even the choice of three case colors – gunmetal, silver, and rose gold. A perfect addition to the collection of any watch enthusiast.
3. Fossil Grant Brown Leather WatchCheck Price
This lovely offering by Fossil features slim Roman numeral hour markers and delicate cut-out hands. The casing is stainless steel and is water-resistant to 165 feet, making it a great dive watch. The band is made of supple, soft calfskin leather and uses a buckle closure.
Of course, this timepiece also comes with the generous 11-year warranty and it’s own fun tin. This watch oozes class and is great for nearly every occasion in your life.
4. Citizen Sport Stainless Steel Men’s Watch With Brown Leather Band
If you don’t want to deal with changing out a battery in a digital watch, this watch is powered by either natural or indoor lighting. The mineral crystal face and stainless steel case make this watch water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for swimmers and snorkelers.
Handsome and utilitarian, this is a great watch for everyday wear. It’s one of the best watches for men who are always on the go.
5. Fossil Men’s Machine Chronograph Silicone Watch
This watch was designed with the active man in mind. The knurled silicone band stands up to sweat and oils without issue, and the timepiece itself is water-resistant to 165 feet.
The patterned bezel and quality craftsmanship of the black dial is excellent, as is to be expected from a Fossil watch. It even comes in the iconic and collectible tin!
6. Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Watch
This men’s watch features Japanese quartz movement that charges itself indoors or out when exposed to light, making it a great choice for those who don’t want to change out the battery too often. The stitched canvas strap is soft against your skin and will wick away moisture, while the mineral crystal face stands up to the rigors of your everyday life.
Water-resistant to 330 feet, this dive watch is a classic and simple design you’ll be proud of for years to come.
7. Invicta Pro Diver Chronograph Men’s Watch
Another gorgeous offering by Invicta, this watch features a bold design with a slightly nautical feel to it. It will look at home whether you’re wearing a business suit or are going for a dive of less than 660 feet. This piece is also covered by a one-year warranty as a matter of course. The luminosity feature and magnified date window make it a great choice if you work or play in low light.
If you want something that looks like a Tag Heuer but without the luxury watch brand price tag, this is a good option!
8. Casio Edifice Multi-Function Men’s Watch
This watch has three sub-dials for 12 hour, 60 minute and 60-second displays, in addition to the standard time. It also features a fold-over, push-down clasp on the stainless strap, keeping it secure throughout your activities. If you’re looking for a classy timepiece that shrieks sophistication, this is a great choice.
9. Fossil Machine Three Hand Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This quality watch is a chameleon piece. It looks at home as a dress watch riding below the cuff of your best suit, and it also looks great paired with jeans and a t-shirt. Backed by Fossil’s 11-year warranty as a matter of course and beautifully crafted, this smoke-colored piece is guaranteed to become the go-to accessory for nearly every occasion.
10. MVMT Watches Black Face Men’s Watch
If you like the look of a simple watch, this minimalist offering from MVMT is right up your alley. With just a plain black face, tick marks to denote the hours and a single date window, there is nothing overdone or extravagant about this design. The is understated and suited to the simple design. It’s definitely a classy, low-key piece for the budget-conscious.
11. Timex Weekender Watch
If you’re looking for a fun watch to pair with casual outfits, this is a great option. The band is blue and yellow woven nylon, and the face features both civilian and military timekeeping. An Indiglo night light is also included. This watch is water-resistant to 99 feet, meaning it can withstand splashes of water or exposure to rain but you won’t want to submerge it.
12. PUMA Ultrasize Black Sport Men’s Watch
Boasting a 50mm diameter, this piece is perfect for the large-framed man or one who likes to wear his accessories oversized. A true fashion statement, this sports watch comes in eight different colors schemes to match your favorite hues.
Do be aware, however, that the dial knob is configure for left-handed men!
13. Timex Easy Reader Men’s Watch
Another dress watch designed with the older gentleman in mind, this watch features a white dial with generously sized numerals that do not appear comical to the casual observer.
It’s also an excellent choice if you take your contacts out at night and still want to be able to check the time. With classic lines and a simple white face, the watch would not be out of place at any casual gathering. It comes with Timex’s one-year warranty at no additional charge.
14. Fossil Nate Men’s Chronograph Watch
For men who like a more gritty, industrial feel to their accessories, this Fossil watch is right on point. The bezel is gear-edged and the face is utilitarian black and gray. Water-resistant to 165 feet, this watch is a great choice if you like your adornments to be understated yet add visual interest.
It’s definitely a stand-out piece, for those who would take notice!
15. Timex Expedition Field Chronograph Men’s Watch
Featuring an indigo night light, tachymeter, a date window and a buckle closure, this watch is perfect for men who like to work or play outdoors. It is also water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for snorkeling or swimming.
You won’t want to wear it for diving, however. With classic, black styling and a genuine crystal face, this is a timepiece that will stand the test of time in both form and function.
16. Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This Seiko automatic watch has all the bells and whistles you need, but presents it all in a plain and strikingly attractive manner. It features a date window in either English or Spanish, sword-shaped hands, a sweeping second hand and a mineral dial window. This is a great option for the man on the go. The canvas strap can be removed and hand-washed if sweat or other odors become an issue.
This watch is not water-resistant, so you’ll only want to wear it when you won’t be popping by the pool for a swim!
17. Invicta Pro Diver Collection Silver-Tone Men’s Watch
For those who prefer an all-metal timepiece, the stainless steel Invicta fits the bill nicely. It has a similar aesthetic to a Tag Heuer watch, but at a more affordable price. Equipped with a unilateral bezel and removable links, the band can be customized to fit your wrist perfectly. The face is flame fusion crystal and features a magnifier to highlight the date window.
It’s also water-resistant to 660 feet. If you’re looking for a gorgeous watch that stands up to an active lifestyle, this is an excellent choice.
18. Seiko Men’s Adventure-Solar Classic Casual Watch
This Seiko watch derives its power from either natural or indoor light and can withstand water depths of up to 330 feet. The supple brown leather strap and timeless brushed steel give this piece an attractive look, and the alarm chronograph is easy to set.
If you’re looking for a watch that can serve as a backup for your wake-up call while traveling, stand up to the elements and look awesome, this casual wrist watch is a winner.
19. Nautica Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Blue Resin Band
Featuring a plethora of options and a smart, snappy style, this a great casual watch with a eye-catching blue dial. The hardy resin band is adjustable, and the face is protected by a mineral window. Whether for work or play, this bold blue design is handsome and substantial on the wrist. It comes with Nautica’s five-year warranty at no additional charge.
20. Citizen Sport Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Black Leather Band
The black, red and white face of this piece eschews the traditional two-tone color scheme so often employed in other watches, and the contrasting stitching on the band adds creative flair. It comes backed by Citizen’s five-year warranty and will compliment any casual outfit.
21. Alessi Tic15 Analog Display Analog Quartz Black Men’s Watch
Another not-quite-round offering on our list, the curved square casing of this piece gives it instant visual appeal. Sleek and clean, this unfussy design will be a compliment to almost any occasion. It has quartz movement and is water-resistant to 99 feet, making it a great choice for everyday wear.
22. Invicta 1517 I Force Collection Watch
Another on our list designed for left-handed men, this watch is something special. Water-resistant to 330 feet and featuring oversize stenciled numbers and a sub dial, this watch is great for any casual outfit. The cloth band is extremely durable and stands up to dirt, sweat and grime.
If you lead an active lifestyle, this watch will be right at home in your collection.
23. TRIWA Blue Steel Nevil Canvas Watch
This watch comes in a whopping 14 color variations, all of them beautiful. You may decide to add more than one to your collection!
Designed in Sweden, this watch features Japanese quartz movement, a stainless steel casing and a strap made from Tärnsjö organic leather. TRIWA, which stands for Transforming the Industry of Watches, believes in the artistry of fine jewelry and it shows in their product.
24. Victorinox Swiss Army Alliance Watch
Another fine dress watch from the makers of the Swiss Army knife, this watch is emblazoned with the internally recognized cross and shield emblem. It has no sub-dials, tachymeter or other add-ons to detract from its simple and appealing style.
This watch will be at home with all but the most formal of outfits and carries a two-year warranty.
25. Ingersoll Automatic Stainless Steel Bull Run Watch
Again, Ingersoll remakes the classics and brings them into the present day. With a highly polished stainless steel casing, two sub-dials, a date aperture and arrow-shaped hands, this quartz watch is beautiful.
The band features contrasting stitching on the fine-grain leather, adding depth and detail to the workmanship. This watch will compliment any casual occasion and can be relied upon for years to come.
26. Tissot Quickster Chronograph Black Leather Men’s Watch
Made with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and Swiss automatic movement, this watch is a smart and utilitarian choice. If you’re looking for a solid Swiss watch that isn’t flashy, this is an excellent option. It’s also guaranteed for two years.
27. Seiko Sport Solar Men’s Beige Watch
Are you getting tired of squinting down at your watch or holding it closer and closer to your face? Don’t worry, we all get a bit nearsighted with age, especially over the age of 40.
If you’re not quite ready for reading glasses or a comically huge watch, this is a great choice from Seiko. The numerals, indices and luminous hands stand out in stark white against a black background, and the numerals are generous in size. It’s a perfect casual watch for the older gentleman.
28. Seiko Men’s 5 Watch Blue Canvas Band
This simple and affordable watch has a clean, crisp aesthetic to it and doesn’t bog down its design with a ton of bells and whistles. It’s time and date, end of.
If you want a watch for casual wear, this Seiko is a shoo-in. The band is forgiving and comfortable against your wrist, and it’s blue color will likely compliment your existing wardrobe. The price is also extremely affordable.
29. Tommy Hilfiger Men’s Stainless Steel Watch With Brown Leather Band
Featuring the Hilfiger logo at the three o’clock position, this wrist watch is a statement piece. It is a bright, shiny stainless steel work of art that you’ll be proud to wear at all but the most stuffy of workplaces. The calfskin leather band uses a buckle closure and the date window is beside the logo at three o’clock.
If you’re a fan of Tommy clothing, cologne or luggage, you can complete your look with this stunning accessory.