Wayne Gretzky Gets His Own Whisky. Why? Because He Can.

Wayne Gretzky whiskyCelebrity-backed whiskeys are everywhere. These days, hardly a day goes by without seeing things like the Drake bottling emerge from the shadows. I thus have to wonder, once again, about the whole “get a big name behind a whisky” thing as word trickles out of Canada about the first expression unveiled from the yet-to-open Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery & Distillery. That’s right – as in the super famous former hockey player. I guess when you are at his level, this is what you do in retirement?

Whatever the case, let’s take a look at the whisky and put feelings about celebrity-backed booze aside. Wayne Gretzky No. 99 ‘Red Cask’ Canadian Whisky, which will be available I believe just in Canada for the time being, is a non-age statement offering made up from a rye, malted rye, and corn mash bill that’s been “individually mashed, fermented and distilled.” After aging, said whisky was then finished in red wine casks from the Wayne Gretzky winery.

“I have always enjoyed a good whisky and was thrilled to work with Master Distiller Joshua Beach to create a new fabulous Canadian whisky,” said Gretzky in a prepared statement. “What’s truly exciting is we are using oak wine barrels from our red wines to finish the whisky for a really smooth and refined taste.”

As far as it goes, Beach looks to be the man behind the curtain. His background, according to the distillery, is that he “completed his MSc in Brewing and Distilling from Heriot Watt in Scotland and then gained experience in brewing and distilling in Europe before starting a distillery in Vancouver.” According to him, the way the whisky was finished in red wine casks

[P]olishes the whisky, adding rich oak, vanilla and spice, and balancing all of the elements to produce a refined and smooth, very drinkable whisky.

“What makes us stand out is that each of these barrels has a story and they all bring together this unique and consistent taste profile with aromas of caramel, toasted oak and a hint of allspice for a truly elegant and rich taste,” said Beach.