Canadian Club 20

Maker: Canadian Club, Windsor, Ontario, Canada. (Beam Suntory)20180307_101740.jpg

Distiller: Hiram Walker, Windsor, Ontario, Canada. (Corby)

Age: 20 y/o

ABV: 40%

Purchased at an LCBO store for $60 Canadian ($47 US). Not available in the US.

Appearance: Dark caramel.

Nose: Roasted corn, clove, oak, alcohol, dried flowers.

Palate: Full-bodied. Caramel corn, crème brûlée, oak, toffee.

Finish: Creamy and sweet with some heat.

Parting words: While the 8 y/o and 12 y/o expressions of Canadian Club have their own recipes, the 6 y/o and 20 y/o expressions share the same blend. The only difference is age and you can taste it. All the elements of Canadian Club are there but in much more mature form. It’s like seeing a picture of a your significant other in formal attire after looking at a picture of them as a drooling toodler. The spice, oak and sweetness are much better integrated than in baby CC. CC 20 manages to be both flavorful and very drinkable, an impressive feat at 40% ABV.

Like Scotland, Canada’s climate lends itself to long-aging periods for its whiskies. I wish there were more Canadian whiskies in the 20+ year range on the market.

It tastes even better when looking at the price tag. It doesn’t reach the dizzing heights of Wiser’s Legacy or special releases, but it’s better than it needs to be for $47. It blows away similarly priced Crown Royal expressions. If this were available in the states it would be on my regular rotation for sure.  Canadian Club 20 is highly recommended.

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)

Age

CCR: 9 y/o

C12: 12 y/o

ABV: 40% (both)

Michigan State Minimum

CCR: $18

C12: $23

Appearance: Burnt orange (both).

Nose

CCR: Burnt almonds, cedar, roasted corn, habanero

C12: Leather, caramel corn.

Palate

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

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

Finish

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.

Canadian Club Sherry Cask

Maker: Some distillery or distilleries in Canada (Beam Inc.)

Age: 8 y/o

Style: Canadian Whisky finished in a sherry cask.

ABV: 41.3%

Appearance: Dark copper with thick legs. Like a tanned figure-skater.

Nose: Big, bold sherry flavors. Wood, butterscotch, caramel.

On the palate: Hot, but thick. Some sweet butterscotch candy, light fino sherry flavors, and caramel again.

Finish: Hot, but mitigated by the fruity sherry sweetness. Disappears fairly quickly in unfortunate Canadian Whisky tradition.

Parting words: This is an unusual whisky. The closest thing I can compare it to would be a super sherried single malt Scotch like Abelour A’bunadh. The sherry influence is very strong. Sometimes I think it’s too strong, sometimes I like the fact that the typical Canadian Club notes don’t come through. It works best as an after-supper sip. I didn’t have much left when I reviewed it, but I did have enough to try it in a Manhattan. It didn’t perform as well as a high-rye bourbon or rye but the sherry added an interesting twist to the drink. Canadian Club Sherry Cask gets a recommendation.