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Tonight was Easter Dinner at my parents' house - and as my brother is not a Scotch fan, I thought I should bring something he likes - Canadian whisky. I patriotically try to sample as many varieties as I can, despite the fact that I am averse to the sweeter whiskies. So I thought I would crack open my CC 20 and see how it flies.
It's hard to imagine now how dominant CC was across the globe, back in the day. Canadian Club is the oldest and most influential brand in Canada, created by Hiram Walker in 1884. It was perhaps the first whisky in North America to be shipped in bottles, and when Hiram Walker & Sons was bought by Harry Hatch in 1927, it became the largest distiller in the WORLD. During Prohibition in the US it was widely and illegally imported and any Mad Men or Boardwalk Empire devotee knows how ubiquitous it was in its prime.
Now, I must admit I'm not a huge fan of the standard CC. But his one is very nice. It is a shiny coppery colour, and a nice nose of caramel, vanilla, sherry, oak, cocoa - a little like a bourbon but softer. Some mint around the edges. Water dilutes the scent a bit too much though.
In the mouth, this is very smooth but there are some rye edges in there, balancing out the softness. Some fruitiness, like a light raspberry. With some brown sugar, more caramel (but not too much), pepper. The right amount of sweetness for a Canadian whisky. Although it does little to the nose, water does underline the rye grain flavour.
A very long finish with that peppery rye grain character. Definitely a fine Canadian whisky, with all the right characteristics in place. Nicely balanced, nothing overpowering anything else, and is firmly in the CC taste profile - but it is the best of the range that I've had (I also like the Classic 12 Year Old). It doesn't hit the high of the Wiser's Legacy for me (my current favourite Canadian whisky), but if you can find this very limited bottling (or you can enjoy a pre-dinner dram at Via Allegro in Etobicoke, where it's on the menu), please give it a try!