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Let the Blending Begin

Not-so-easy Mixing

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Bruce May, Wine & Spirits Columnist for the Pittsburgh Magazine, blending whisky during a lesson

Bruce May, Wine & Spirits Columnist for the Pittsburgh Magazine, blending whisky during a lesson at Canadian Mist Distillery

Photo Credit: © Shannon Graham

The intimate conference room at the distillery was transformed into a grouping of miniature chemistry labs, complete with beakers, flasks and various liquids. Our challenge was to use the ingredients lined up in front of us to create a blended whisky while abiding by the Canadian whisky regulations. A Canadian base whisky, Canadian rye whisky and wheat whisky along with an imported rye whisky, brandy, sherry and port were our options and, other than water, all that we had to work with.

I will put it forth and say, "I am no blender." In fact my concoctions were complete and total disasters that easily could have been used to fuel a small jet. As the pros do, the blends are made at cask strength, highly intoxicating and virtually undrinkable, this out-of-the-barrel whisky is rough and is diluted with the pure Georgian Bay water before it's considered drinkable. However, as my luck would have it, even the softer version of my blend was gruesome and after the session I gained a renewed appreciation for the blender's task.

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