Liquid gold: 'World's best' whisky from Manitoba flying off shelves
Published Thursday, November 26, 2015 6:56PM EST
A Manitoba-made rye crowned world’s best whisky last week is flying off the shelves as liquor distributors struggle to match the boom in demand.
Retailing for $30, Crown Royal’s Northern Harvest Rye has gone from a good-bang-for-your-buck to the Holy Grail of whiskys since writer Jim Murray named it World Whisky of the Year 2016 last Thursday.
"To say this is a masterpiece is barely doing it justice," Murray said in a statement, describing the rye distilled in the small town of Gimli, Manitoba.
Within days of the announcement, demand skyrocketed. At an Ottawa LCBO store, 240 bottles were sold out within a few hours.
"We were actually the first store in the Ottawa area to get it,” Robbie MacLead, an LCBO product consultant, told CTV Ottawa. “We were sold out as of noon today.”
Shelves are similarly bare at several Ottawa-area LCBOs, such as Carleton Place, where the only remaining bottles are reserved for customers who called ahead.
That hasn’t stopped persistent whisky connoisseurs from searching. One woman has travelled to several Ontario cities in hopes of tracking down a single bottle.
So far, she’s had no luck.
"I've looked in Toronto, Ottawa and now Carleton Place. Nothing, nothing,” said Darlene Haywood. “So now I'm going to look in Montreal.”
But in spite of the hype, one liquor expert has cast doubt on the true merits of Northern Harvest Rye.
Scotch consultant Nelson Simmonds says he has bottles of whisky that cost up to $5,000 and that the modestly priced Crown Royal distillation hardly measures up. Instead, he suggests that the selection was a bit of a publicity stunt.
"He's selling books,” Simmonds said, referring to Murray’s 2016 “Whisky Bible.” “That's pretty much what it comes down to.”
In Ontario, ongoing shipments regularly restock the in-demand rye. The LBCO regularly updates its website with the latest availability.
With files from CTV Ottawa