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Caribou Crossing Single Barrel

A bit too woody, perhaps

0 083

@JasonHambreyReview by @JasonHambrey

19th Oct 2014


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

This is a single barrel bottled by Sazerac, out of a stock of around 200,000 barrels acquired by them in 2010. With the pine and rum notes, I often wonder if that stock was in large part from Hiram Walker distillery. From the stock, so far, two products are produced -Royal Canadian Small Batch and Caribou Crossing, both of which have a similar taste profile. This one, of the two, is quite a bit more expensive - more than twice the price in Ontario, when you can find it.

Nose: A grassy, pine-rich nose, with a hint of dry oak and a bit of an oily presence - the woody notes are pretty strong - oak, pine, and cedar. Some vanilla is present as well, with some corn chips, and hints of buttery caramel. Some nuts and spice come through - sharp cinnamon, allspice and pecans. 20/25 (82%)

Taste: Nicely loaded with spices (cinnamon and a hint of allspice), while retaining a relatively light profile and good body. There are woody notes of oak, pine, and cedar and also maple syrup. There's a nice development of rich, oaky vanilla in the middle too, which is quite nice - in fact, without it, the taste might be a bit boring. Mouthfeel is very nice, though, and this does elevate the drinking experience. It seems to start, and end, with wood - in fact, I think it has a bit too much. 29/35 (83%)

Finish: Cinnamon, and a bit of a buttery flavour and it is a bit nutty with some almonds on the end. A bit too much oak bitterness, I think, and quite dry...but it's reasonably developed and involved. 13/15 (87%)

Conclusion: Enjoyable, but really not that great. similar in profile to RC. The amount of wood influence in this one seems to be borderline...I am not sure what to think of it. Sometimes, it is too much, and sometimes, it is just heavy. 21/25 (85%)

So how does this one compare to Royal Canadian Small Batch? on nose, bourbon influence seems stronger in RC - I think the nose might be better on RC, but on Caribou crossing there are more notes of pine and rum, though those are also present in RC. The mouthfeel is a bit better and it is a bit more "patient", with the spices developing more slowly and the finish developing longer, with a bit more of a dry character. More woody, and a bit over the top, at times, I think. RC is a bit sweeter. RC is slightly better (than this barrel, at least, though they're close enough that a better barrel could outdo RC), and cheaper.

Weighting the nose 25%, taste 35%, Finish 15%, and Intrigue 25% the overall grade is 83.

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