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One of my earliest reviews on this site was the Canadian Club Sherry Cask. Back then, it had different packaging, which was more distinctive than the other CC bottles. The current branding puts the Sherry Cask in the same bottle shape and label design as the Classic 12 Year Old (which is also labelled Small Batch, so I think the packaging is far too similar). The new 9 Year Old Reserve also has the same label design, but is a taller, thinner bottle.
I thought I would revisit it because a) it is new packaging (any excuse, eh?) and b) there are batch variations. The one I reviewed before was given a 70 - I didn't think much of it. I don't remember the batch number, but it is certainly different from this one - which is batch C12-047. I wonder if "C12" means it is 12 years old (my understanding though was that it was around 10 years old, having spent those last two years in sherry casks that once held Harvey's Bristol Cream - but who knows)?
The colour is a reddish amber. On the nose, pencil shavings, raspberries, pomegranate, with caramel and vanilla as you might find in a bourbon. I sense new white oak barrels being used here. Cardamom with a hint of smoke. More complex than I was expecting, especially with water, which brings out sawdust, rum and more sherry notes.
On the palate, dark stewed fruits, more berries, a hint of spicy rye notes. Extremely smooth and easy to drink, though not as complex as the nose. With water, a little more tannic. Quite rich, sweet and velvety. No sulphur whatsoever.
The finish is dusty, a little dry but with soft spices - the rye is coming out here. What a surprise! I wasn't expecting to enjoy this as much as I do. So clearly the batch variations (and perhaps other changes rather than the packaging?) are different. I believe I also saw on the shelf a bottle of batch C12-048, perhaps I will do a side-by-side...