Most people reviewing this whisky online either want to eviscerate Jim Murray or vindicate him. I want neither; I'm just sharing my thoughts. I've had three bottles of this Canadian rye whisky. My first bottle was in December 2015, my second in November 2016 and my third in March 2017. My notes for the first two bottles are not as detailed as my notes for the third.
The first bottle had (undiluted) lovely rye on the nose with hints of brown sugar, less sweetness than expected on the palate and some nice pepper and nutmeg on the finish.
The second had (undiluted) more citrus on the nose than the first, more sweetness on the palate and the spice on the finish was more subdued.
The third and most recent bottle had (undiluted)
Nose: Cloves, rye bread, orange peels, oak, vanilla
Palate: medium-bodied, brown sugar, oranges, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, rye bread
Finish: Pepper (similar to the first bottle), ginger, oak and cloves
Adding some water brought out more fruitiness, but I like my ryes and bourbons on the spicy side, so I prefered this neat. With the orange tones in this whisky, I imagine it would do quite well in a Whisky Sidecar cocktail. Since it's sold at such a reasonable price, I wouldn't feel as though I was "wasting" CRNH by mixing it.
I don't think this is the best whisky in the world, but I really enjoyed it. I often keep a bottle around because of how accessible it is to those new to whisky. And at about $35 CAD, I don't mind if people cover it with ice and/or coke. For those interested, I've also posted a review over on my blog.