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Appearance: Darker than my usual choice of Bourbons- a dark Baltic amber hue.
Nose: Very, very light nose- all vanilla and cocoa. Some of that slight earthy-yet-acidic feeling of a lightly brewed fresh coffee.
Taste: Creamy mouthfeel. Lots of deep caramel, toffee and coffee, with that drying, woody note that comes from the rye- if anything, this supports the coffee flavours. A tiny bit of smoke too and an acidity. Not as sweet as I expected though- though there is a fair bit of cake-spice flavour going around too.
Like the standard issue Canadian Club, the finish isn't complex and pretty much all vanilla. It is a good deal longer than the standard CC, but still pretty short as it goes....You can barely taste the alcohol compared to a similar strength Bourbon- so very smooth and silky in the mouthfeel. There's no rawness or burn- you'd swear it was 20% not 40%....
Overall, despite the 12 years of maturation, this is still a very light all the way through. It's good- and drinkable, being so smooth. Just lacking depth and the dark caramel flavour gets more than a little cloying after a couple of glasses, and then out comes the Bourbon.
Good but not earth-shattering.