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The Canuck rye going head-to-head with Bulleit is the new Canadian Club. It is called "Chairman's Select" but I have no idea who this mystery Chairman is, nor if he is qualified to select anything. Unlike other CCs, which are distilled in Windsor, this one is sourced from Alberta Distillers. This is only available in Canada.
The colour is a deep reddish gold. On the nose, lots of caramel with some vanilla in the background. The spices are also softer and more subtle. The fruits are darker - plum, date - and it is not as floral as other high ryes. Much more Canadian influence owing to the casks likely being a mix of refill, and probably some ex-sherry as well. Soft and velvety, but a little spicier with water. Very pleasant and satisfying.
On the palate we have more spice but again they are softer, blanketed by the caramel. Mouth drying with the oak. Pencil shavings. Oiled leather. More plums, with overripe peaches and black cherries; even fruitier with water. Delicious.
The finish is quiet, drying to a wet slate, grapefruit pithiness. Of course, this is completely different from the Bulleit rye - there is no comparison. I find the Bulleit more complex, with more layers of fruit and spice. The CC is classically Canadian in its delivery, but is still very good (in some ways, more drinkable than the Bulleit). This was recently awarded Canadian Whisky of the Year by Whisky Advocate magazine, and I can see why. It's beautifully done, and I hope remains a permanent part of the CC stable. While Bulleit wins the battle, there really are no losers here.