Head to head: Canadian Club Reserve vs. Canadian Club Classic 12

CCR= Canadian Club ReserveCC Res vs Classic

C12= Canadian Club Classic 12

Distiller: Hiram Walker (and possibly elsewhere), Windsor, Ontario, Canada (Beam)


CCR: 9 y/o

C12: 12 y/o

ABV: 40% (both)

Michigan State Minimum

CCR: $18

C12: $23

Appearance: Burnt orange (both).


CCR: Burnt almonds, cedar, roasted corn, habanero

C12: Leather, caramel corn.


CCR: Full bodied, caramel, cayenne, a touch of oak.

C12: Thinner and milder. Light brown sugar, vanilla and some oak.


CCR: Maple syrup, alcohol,

C12: Fades quickly. A little more oak and a light, warm sweetness.

Parting words: Before I say anything else, I want to say that I don’t like the newly revamped Canadian Club label designs. The different expressions look too much alike on the shelf.

That out of the way, CC Reserve recently got knocked back a year from 10 y/o to 9 y/o. The 10 was one of my favorite Canadian whiskies and I was pretty annoyed when the change was made. It doesn’t seem to have changed the flavor of what’s inside. It’s still spicy and bold and a pleasure to drink. The price is impossible to beat for a Canadian with this much character. It’s recommended, and a few proof points more would probably push it into highly recommended territory.

The Classic 12 is good too, especially for the money, but it’s held back by its low proof. It works as a first pour of the night sipper whisky, but that’s about it.  Classic 12 is mildly recommended.

2 thoughts on “Head to head: Canadian Club Reserve vs. Canadian Club Classic 12

  1. Josh, I always kind of liked the 10 year old as well. I think remember Gary Gillman said on the SB board that the 10 had a higher content of straight whiskey (rye) in it, that CC doesn’t just use the same mashbills aged at different lengths. Maybe the 9 also has that higher content of rye.

    1. I would not be surprised at all if that were the case. They taste very different.

      I just checked the CC website and they claim that the Classic 12 has “a more robust barley profile”. That makes me think it is indeed a different mashbill. The old bottle looked very different than the rest of the CC line. I wonder if it was once its own brand and later brought into the CC fold.

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