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Canadian Club 20 Year Old

Average score from 4 reviews and 7 ratings 86

Canadian Club 20 Year Old

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Canadian Club 20 Year Old

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.

Tasting notes

  • 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.

@casualtorture I’m glad the circumlocutory nature of my reviews helped. I hope you don’t think me a sesquipedalian.

@RikS “Guru” is often used as a term of derision.


Nose: a gentle intermingling of butterscotch and vanilla, along with damp wood. Deeper down I find a leafy/earthy note. With time, hints of orange or lemon zest emerge. Quite mellow yet complex enough to be intriguing.

Taste: slippery-smooth in the mouth, with toffee and butterscotch becoming slightly spicy at the back of the tongue. Very easy-drinking.

Finish: oak all the way.

Balance: the spirit seems just a little too light to hold up to this kind of aging. Certainly the grain character has taken a backseat here, but what else would you expect with a blended grain whisky of this vintage? Still, a highly drinkable, polished dram.

@Megawatt, the 2014 release was not at all to my liking. Ten months later the half-fill bottle has improved. I rated it 71 and would now give it 10 - 12 points more, still not a great iteration. The 2011 (90) and 2012 (91) were both very good, but not in the same league as the extremely delicious Danfield's 21 YO (93.5) or the perfectly balanced AP25 (95.5). My disappointment in the 2014 led me to return two bottles for a pair of Crown Royal Monarch. The move was much to my liking.

@Astroke, AP25 is available on the secondary market. Last year the going price was an arm and a leg. With our declining C$, the market is currently at an arm, a leg, and a kidney.

@Astroke, As much as I enjoy this topic, I get very frustrated because I do not understand why they would release a 90 proof whisky (Dark Horse) and add 1/4 oz. - 1/2 oz. of sherry to every bottle. AP standard at 90 pf would be a very special whisky, I can't imagine how glorious some of the new oak aged flavouring whisky would be at 90 pf or more....(CC 100% Rye or 1910 Pendleton's on steroids)...now about that longer aged Alberta Rye that comes back to Canada at 5 - 10 x the price... here piggy, piggy, piggy, piggy...


This whisky is a "limited" release, which really means that it is produced in batches as it is a pretty regular offering from CC. It's the same recipe as the standard "Canadian Club", but it is just in the barrel for much longer. Batch variation of this one can be significant, but it appears the recent batches seem to be doing pretty well.

Nose: Some nice, sharp rye and dry corn (like fresh cornmeal) comes up with classic rye fruitiness. Oak comes up, along with some pencil shavings, with earthiness much like you might expect a slightly damp, mossy oak stave to smell – though not perhaps the most appealing description it is a great smell. Light fruit – white grape and green plum as well as notes of strawberries. It does smell quite dry overall, and underneath the larger aromas there is a rich toffee backdrop, alongside a caramel pudding creaminess. The whisky reminds me very much of a well-aged dark rum, interestingly enough.88%

Taste:Rich maple and woody flavours start the palate, with some molasses notes leading into a sweeter brown sugar note along with some toasted oak. It is interestingly nutty, and has an almost nutty cookie-dough like feel to it along with a strong orange note like orange liquer. The rye comes through almost right at the end of the palate – overall it’s quite rich and dense. The molasses notes are interestingly strong enough that I wonder if I could be sipping a rum. 92%

Finish:Quite dense, and slowly unfolding, with some interesting flavours that remind me of what cookie dough made with whole wheat flour might taste like. It is still fruity, and feels quite lively because of the light fruitiness. The back of the throat particularly, I find, “feels” this whisky. There are still molasses notes, reminiscent of a good dark rum. There is also oak, light orange peel, and a very light touch of vanilla. It is a bit too dry, for the profile, though, and this detracts from the experience. 87%

Intrigue:Though I am no rum expert, this reminds me of some fine dark rums I have tasted before - with the density, woodiness, and molasses notes. Still has many nods to characteristic CC flavours, but goes a bit deeper and is my favourite of their regular offerings (provided the batch is good!) 93%

Weighting the nose 25%, taste 35%, Finish 15%, and Intrigue 25% the overall grade is 90.

*I have also posted a separate format (with similar content) of this review at whiskywon.wordpress.com/2014/08/…

@paddockjudge - yes, the batch was 2012. @astroke, CC20 is terrible for batch variation - so much so that sometimes I wonder if it is ever worth buying. @paddockjudge has I'm sure tasted more batches, though, and may have a better idea than me though.

G&W is very complex, and well integrated - all of the Canadian Whisky Guild whiskies are very good. when I get a bit of time I'll post my review to connosr, but for now:


I still have most of a bottle I purchased last year and I find it unremarkable. I mean it's OK (I am a defender of Premium Canadian Whiskey to the end) but I like both Danfields 21 and Century 21 more and Highwood 20 much more (to use similar age statement comparisons).I may pick up another bottle now that the LCBO has added 500 bottles. Would like to get your thoughts on Godderham & Worts 4 grain. Seems to be Legacy with some Wheat added, good stuff.


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!

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