I've only tried a few ryes but am finding that I quite like the punchy, spicy and herbal complexity the grain offers. This is my first Canadian rye (well first Canadian whisk(e)y all together, I think) and I'm happy to report I'm more than pleased with the virgin oak matured, copper pot still distillate.
Bottles been open going on two months now and has about 3/5s left. Review is from a neat pour sat for fifteen minutes or so.
Nose - Warming, sweet and spicy with menthol/eucalyptus notes ever so slightly taking the lead. Some red apple, toffee, ginger and a touch of tobacco and leather. Sticky peach glazed French pastries. More complex than I'd have expected to be honest.
Taste - Quite a rich mouthfeel for the abv that unwinds as you chew revealing the mint, toffee and fruity, sticky pastries along with some solid oak notes that are pleasingly well integrated. Again, surprisingly complex and lots going on without any one note taking over
Finish - Medium. It fades to a sort of fruit syrup drenched oak with some dry and bitter tannins; but given the relative richness of the mouthfeel it balances this whisky out nicely and makes you reach for the glass again (which is always a good sign). There's also a kind of minty 'nip' that lingers about nicely as well.
What I really like with this whisky is how it tows the line between being not too sweet and not too savoury. It also seems to be more balanced than other ryes I've had, especially where the heavy spice notes are concerned. What struck me with this was just how good it was as soon as I opened the bottle - no need for airing or decanting here - and it's not done much since then expect keep bringing a smile to my face every time I pop the cork. I'd be interested in the age of this and the mash-bill, which I'm guessing isn't 100% rye but could well be wrong?
in short, a great introduction to Canada's whisk(e)y wares and, perhaps, rye whisk(e)y in general. Recommended - seriously. And for those in the UK this is about £30 or maybe under and gives genuinely excellent value for money. Bring on the cask strength . . .
@OdysseusUnbound - Cheers! It really is a pleasure. One of those whiskys that has the knack of being easy (too easy!) to sip at whilst being rewarding every time.
I can't say it evokes memories of freezing my arse off in Montreal or swimming in the lakes of the Laurentian mountains but it does make me want another bottle and to see what else the real jewel in the Commonwealth Crown has to offer lol!
I’m glad you enjoyed this. I’m fairly certain this is 100% unmalted rye (the 2012 release had malted rye in it), but you’d have to ask @paddockjudge to confirm.