Drinking the Bottom Shelf: Canadian Mist Blended Whisky

Drinking the Bottom Shelf

Will Gordon drinks his way through the bottom shelf of the liquor store...so you don’t have to.


It's been brought to my attention that the Bottom Shelf has been relying too heavily on overlong digressions about my home life, Scrabble habits, and condiment preferences. The criticism hurt; being told I stray too far from the topic felt as if Emily had come home late, played "quozz" for a triple-word score, and then rubbed Cholula in my eyes. But I am nothing if not handsome, and nothing else if not responsive to the desires of the medium people, so I've decided to drop all the narcissistic tween-on-Facebook bullshit and give you what you came here for: The official Bottom Shelf primer on the state of the American political system.

I studied journalism but have never really practiced it—mostly because no one will let me, but also because I recognized early on that my style of writing doesn't lend itself to efficient, objective analysis of a specific topic (except for my clinically precise fast food pieces, such as the shameless Pulitzer-bait about Wendy's Cheddarburgers).

But even though I don't practice news, I preach its importance every chance I get. I love listening to smart radio shows and reading whichever couple of newspapers and websites still report news in between charts and slideshows of the 25 best cheap lunch spots for locavore yoga dads. I find the news—broadly defined as "all the interesting stuff people outside my social circle are doing, thinking, and warring over"—to be fascinating, and I also think my fellow loudmouths and I owe it to the rest of you to at least know what the hell we're screeching about.

The only downside to expending very little energy during the day is that I don't sleep well at night. I go to bed at a normal time, but I can rarely fall asleep within the first hour. Rather than stare at the ceiling or count loads of laundry I might as well be doing, I lay there in the dark and listen to the BBC news all night. It's a great way to pass the time, and British voices are so soothing, especially when they're being condescending about whichever irrational American science-denier they've decided to let represent all of us that day.

The BBC is also a great source of whatever might be happening in the benighted precincts of Earth where they don't care who's in the Super Bowl or what the Lohan kid crashed her car into that day. That was especially nice throughout 2011, when there were all sorts of exciting revolutions happening abroad and boring teams Super Bowling at home.

But for the past month or so, even the BBC has been taken over by incessant babble about American politicians. This may seem to contradict my stated love of "the news," but I simply don't care how many wives this one had, how much that one paid in taxes, or how many lovely speeches the other one gave. I care very much about what they actually get done, but since there's never much to say in that regard, the media—even the good media—is reduced to pretending it matters what the candidates say every day of the year-long panderama that precedes the actual election.

Now that the weirdo novelty candidates are mostly gone, we don't even get their nuttiness sprinkled atop the blandly disingenuous sundaes served up by the more polished professionals. So for the next 10 months, my American and British news outlets are going to be relentlessly boring fonts of polling data and antimatter, which is why I'm moving to Canada until Election Day.

A lot of Americans fake-threaten to flee to Canada if their candidate loses, but I think it makes more sense to just skip north until it's time to come back and vote. I would never abandon my countrymen for good just because they elected the wrong guy, but I look forward to 10 blissful months of Canadian information while the American newswaves are polluted by nonsense.

The only hitch in this plan is that I haven't had much luck with Canadian beverages. Even if Moosehead, Molson, Labatt's, and all that are a notch above their American macrolager equivalents, that's still a couple notches short of satisfactory. Plus it gets cold up there; Canada (I've got my eye on Vancouver and Toronto specifically) seems more of a whiskey sort of place this time of year.

I've said unkind things in this space about Canadian Club and Black Velvet, so I wasn't optimistic about Canadian Mist, but I was desperate so I got a 750 mL bottle for $12.99 and set about to drinking myself through the visa application.

Well guess who finally didn't get hosed? This temporary ex-pat and anyone who wants to come help me finish the bottle at my going-away party. Canadian Mist has a gentle aroma of sweet orange perfume, light and floral without any sting. The flavor is unique in my experience with blended Canadian whiskies, which tend to replace the generic vanilla-caramel blandness of cheap American whiskey with a sugary-yet-acrid tire-fire element clearly intended to scare the Yanks away.

Canadian Mist is good stuff, and I can't wait to load up at the duty free on the way home in November.