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According to Canadian Whisky guru (see note) Davin de Kergommeaux, "This is exactly the same whisky as the 6-year-old mixer, but it has simply been left in the barrel for an additional 14 years." While Davin is mad for this whisky, my own experience was a bit more lukewarm. Perhaps my palate isn't as refined as Davin's, but I'll state, for the record, that this tasting was done from a single 40 ml sample in a single sitting. This whisky was donated by a friend, and I have no idea when the bottle was opened, nor when the sample was poured.
- Nose (undiluted): brown sugar, musty wood (but in a pleasant way), rum raisin ice cream (seriously), caramel corn, orange zest, a bit of menthol
- Palate (undiluted): gentle arrival, brown sugar, toffee, orange zest
- Finish: medium length, caramel corn, orange zest, drying wood tannins, and a slight note of Angostura bitters.
With water, a flat cola note appears on the nose and palate and the whole thing seems to get a bit sweeter. There are some blackberry notes on the finish as well. This is bottled at 40% abv and really doesn't need water. This is very similar to the Canadian Club 12 Year Old. In fact, I'm not sure I'd be able to tell them apart in a blind tasting. The nose of the CC 20 Year Old is a bit deeper and richer, but not significantly different than the 12 year. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I don't think this is worth the extra twenty bucks.
Note: I don't use the term "Canadian whisky guru" pejoratively; I've spoken to Davin through Facebook messenger several times; the man is very knowledgeable and friendly. He is a true gentleman.