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Canadian Mist Collingwood 21 Year Old Rye

Countdown to Canada Day Part IV

0 1665

@talexanderReview by @talexander

1st Jul 2014

0

  • Nose
    15
  • Taste
    16
  • Finish
    16
  • Balance
    18
  • Overall
    65

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

If memory serves, the story behind this whisky is something like someone somewhere found a bunch of old barrels of rye whisky forgotten in the back of the warehouse, and it was tasted, and it was good (oh, if only I had a nickel for every time I heard that story...) In this case, however, it might actually be true. This is a very limited release, and I believe at the time of writing this rare whisky is now gone.

The standard Collingwood offering is a rather corn-forward, quite sweet blended whisky that is unique in that it is mellowed by staves of toasted maplewood that floats in the whisky while it is resting in stainless steel vats (after full maturation). The whisky we are tasting tonight, however, is a 21 year old rye whisky (not sure if it is 100% rye or not) that is of a completely different style and flavour than the standard release.

The colour is a deep copper. On the nose you are hit by something extremely floral - a strong soapy coriander-like hit, but almost artificial. To me, this is a huge weakness in this whisky. I want to say limoncello but it is more like those cottage spiral lemon mosquito repellents. Pine needles. Cloves. But overall, quite perfumy. On one hand, it is a rather pleasant garden aroma (though very strong) but it doesn't smell like whisky, let alone like rye whisky. Water makes things even more soapy and floral - not welcome.

On the palate, much less soapy but still has that artificial tang. Metallic. A hint of spice, and with a lot of indefinable herbal notes, as well as anise. Lots of citrus (again with the lemon) and eventually fairly sour. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it simply doesn't work for me. As with the nose, water is not helpful.

The finish is mouth-drying, short-to-medium with more herbs and...garlic? Have I gone mad? What is this? It has received excellent reviews (Davin de Kergommeaux scored this a 4 out of 5, and I know many Canadian whisky aficionados who love this.) I've given this more than a fair shot - I've tasted it numerous times, made Manhattans out of it, etc - my bottle is almost empty - but despite it's rarity, great reviews and the accolades my friends have heaped upon it - I simply don't like it. I suspect it may be 100% rye only because there is no sweetness to this, that can be attributed to corn or anything else. One-note, too floral, too artificial tasting. I'm not a big fan of the standard Collingwood release (which I scored a 71 last year), but for different reasons - these two whiskies are miles apart, but I don't particularly like either of them.

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16 comments

@talexander
talexander commented

Also, as with the standard Collingwood offering, the packaging is atrocious.

6 years ago 0

@65glenfarclas
65glenfarclas commented

Is this a review of the Collingwood 21yo? scotchblog.ca/scotch_blog/2014/…

If so, thanks for confirming a pass on this one. You know something isn't right with a Canadian whisky when the over-exuberant Mr Canadian whisky himself gives it only 4.5 stars (his average rating is 4.4)! IMO, an average CW in a perfume bottle is not worth $57.

6 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@65glenfarclas, agreement on all points except the last one; $57 is a small price to pay for this fixer-upper. It is a 'must have' bottle, if for no other reason than it can never be duplicated in our lifetime. This is so 'special' that it should eventually achieve cult status. I hosted a tasting last night of 14 expressions and this was the 14th sample; definitely not the last dram of the night, but nobody revisited it.

6 years ago 0

@65glenfarclas
65glenfarclas commented

@paddockjudge, a "fixer-upper" that "nobody revisited"? And you say it is a "small price to pay" for a "must have bottle"? I'm confused.

6 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

65glenfarclas, you shouldn't be confused. I was very clear with my explanation. I have included a direct quote below, in its entirety and without paraphrasing. Alternatively, I do not have the same measure of frugality as you when it comes to Canadian whisky purchases; I am willing to buy another at $57.

"It is a 'must have' bottle, if for no other reason than it can never be duplicated in our lifetime. This is so 'special' that it should eventually achieve cult status"

6 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

@65glenfarclas, yes that Scotchblog review is the same bottle (Jeff liked it a lot more than I did!) And I know quite a few smart, discerning connosieurs who really enjoy it. Just not me! But it is worth a try, if only - as @paddockjudge says - it is a once-in-a-lifetime whisky. Try a dram from someone else's bottle...

6 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

@paddockjudge, the other night you generously provided me with a sample of your Collingwood 21 Year Old rye, from a bottle that had been open for about 8 months. I'm tasting it as we speak, while reading my notes above from over a year ago. While the perfumy (FWP, anyone?) floral notes are still there, they are a little more muted...but alas, my opinion of it is not much different. Very soapy, bitter, too herbal and overall unpleasant. Given the strong nose has mellowed somewhat, I might score this one a 68 or so. Regardless, thank you for providing me with this sample and allowing me to revisit it!

4 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@talexander, It is amazes me that Collingwood 21 YO was selected as Canadian Whisky of the Year at the 2015 Canadian Whisky Awards...it was not unanimous...perhaps there were so many poor quality whiskies sampled that this one actually tasted good.

This whisky should be revisited once a year to remind us how something which has gone so wrong can yet fool so many people.

I cannot get past the maple influence. It does not bring a smile to my face, but it does intrigue me. Was this whisky so far 'gone' that it could not be released at a higher proof?...and maple? It certainly needed some restoration or it would have been released without the maple treatment.

Yo should be pleased that I didn't give you a full bottle!

4 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

Funny, I don't get a lot of maple on it. Now that you mention it, I do get a hint of it, but not a lot.

4 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

This one is definitely a bloody enigma!

4 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

It is a whisky, wrapped in French Whore Perfume, inside an enigma.

4 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

Perhaps it is a Russian Maple influence, in the Churchillian style.

4 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

The smell and taste of boiled cabbage were what predominated for me with Collingwood 21 yo Rye. An interesting experience...and a cautionary tale. MMMMM...mmmm...rye whisky which smells like boiled cabbage.

4 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

I'd rather smell boiled cabbage, cuz then I can eat it.

4 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

This would pair well with kielbasa!

4 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

I would rather not smell boiled cabbage. It probably ranks just above cooking gefilte fish...

Now steamed cabbage with butter, salt and some bacon lardons... That I could get interested in...

4 years ago 0

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