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Bat Masterson was born in Canada, but made his fame in the US as a frontier lawman in the American Old West. Masterson's 10 Year Old was born in Canada, but got it's name (and bottling, packaging and distribution) in the US as an American Rye Whiskey. Are the similarities between the two coincidence? I think not.
I've written on here my frustration with Canadian rye whiskies that are distilled in Canada, then sent to the US where they are bottled and sold back to us. Both Royal Canadian Small Batch, and especially this one, are very good whiskies that I wish we could genuinely call our own.
This spirit originally comes from Alberta Distillers, the greatest Canadian straight rye distiller, then aged in white-oak casks. The company that created this limited edition product is 35 Maple Street, based in Sonoma CA, which is actually part of a winery, and also makes gin and rum. I am tasting from bottle no. 20918, from batch 003.
The colour is dark copper with gold highlights. The nose is classic straight rye: linseed oil, grapefruit pith, hot pepper, dill pickle potato chips - a fantastic rye nose, crisp and biting. With water, more dill pickle, also spun sugar.
In the mouth you get good heat, lots of rye grain, ginger, and mild cigar tobacco. Gets creamier with water. Absolutely wonderful Canadian straight rye flavour, very familiar to me.
The finish is long but gentle, with more grapefruit pith and a hint of vanilla. This is a fantastic rye, one of the very best Canadian whiskies I've had. Whisky Advocate rates this a 94, the highest rated whisky of its Spring 2013 issue, and Jim Murray awards it 2013 Canadian Whisky of the Year (scoring a 96.5, also from batch 003). Wonderful whisky, but I have huge issues with the marketing. Nowhere on the US packaging does this say it is Canadian. Even the website mentions grain from "the Pacific Northwest" and water from "the Northern Rockies," with no mention of the distiller nor the country it was distilled in. And of course, on the packaging it is spelled whiskey, not whisky. Here in Canada, it is slapped with a "Product of Canada" sticker, and runs you about $100 or so in Ontario. A high-price for a 10 year old Canadian whisky - but it is worth it.