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Danfield's Limited Edition 21 Year Old

Average score from 7 reviews and 9 ratings 91

Danfield's Limited Edition 21 Year Old

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Danfield's Limited Edition 21 Year Old

I know very little about Danfield's 21, I do know that it was a brand that was once produced at the Schenley distillery in Qu├ębec and that it is now produced in Lethbridge Alberta at the Black Velvet distillery. It seems to be one of those classic Canadian whisky brands like Gibson's Finest, which has been bounced around from home to home.

This sample is courtesy of @paddockjudge, I had the pleasure of being the recipient of a small box containing a plethora of mysterious elixirs decanted by the man himself...who knows maybe one of them contains AP30 and ginger ale.

Nose: Brown sugar, vanilla and spices that seem to stem from the wood so cinnamon and a bit of nutmeg. Loads of oak, like a carpenter's shop, a little green bell pepper and paraffin, it's a bit nippy.

Water softens the nose, bring in some honey and increasing the vanilla.

Palate: Oak & cedar, warm caramel with loads of brown sugar and baking spices. Grapefruit pith, white pepper and a touch of wax. Surprisingly hot for, 40%. Nice mouthfeel.

Water brings out cardboard, more spices, reduces the bitterness a touch.

Finish. Is medium length, that sweetness you can only get from corn whisky,some astringence from the oak, a little cardboard, and chili pepper not as sweet as on arrival,

I feel like this is a perfect representation of a classic Canadian whisky, I found the bitterness a bit off putting at first but with time it seems to bring equilibrium to this blend. The wood notes are interesting because they push into the cedar/tobacco like territory. This isn't my favorite Canadian whisky but it's hard to deny that this is a well crafted gem in a style that doesn't seem to be as popular.

@cricklewood, nice review!...and it is a classic Canadian style, the likes of which we see very little these days and possibly may not see again, a 21 YO that shows its age.

....the AP30 and Ginger is safely stashed for a fellow Connosr. You must share the same birth date with me to get a dose of this one. blush


This is a quick, sequential review. It's my second day without any caffeine (I've been weaning). Last night I was exhausted by 10 pm and went to bed. I woke up at 4 am with a headache. 3 hours and Tylenol and ibuprofen later I got a little sleep but then had to get up for work. I tried to nap this afternoon but wasn't very successful and as soon as the kids are tucked in I will be too.

I've had this before. I think I tried it 2 years ago in August thanks to @TAlexander. Then it came up again at another tasting and somewhere down the line, when I lamented I wouldn't own a bottle of it (I don't think it is available anymore) @Paddockjudge was kind enough to give me a generous four ounce sample of it. I don't know how long the bottle was open but this is the first time I have opened the sample bottle.

I don't know the composition (though I'm sure if we ask @paddockjudge can provide some illumination)

Nose - fruits, green apples, caramel, perhaps a touch of butterscotch. Something spicy behind it. Light, subtle, quite pleasant. 22/25

Taste - a little thin on the mouth-feel with an alcohol bite. Some caramel and some spiciness from the first sip. Something "old", like damp wood, but not in a bad way, adds a slight sourness to it. The more I sip it the more I like it. 22/25

Finish - medium-long, some caramel, a touch of pleasant bitterness (could that be from 21 years in wood?), a little astringent. 21/25

Balance - nice balance of flavour, the nose and palate complement each other, but it is a little weak.- 21/25

Trader Joe's 85% Dark Chocolate completely overpowers this whisky. Their milk chocolate seems to complement it.

Total Score: 86/100

A pattern I've found with those Canadian whiskies that I enjoy is that it takes a few sips for me to realise the full potential of what I'm tasting. This is very true with this one. So I think it's less suited for a formal review and more suited to sitting with a small group of friends, and enjoying over an extended period of time. If I close my eyes I can imagine just that and the score goes up by one or two...

I have no doubt some others on this site will mark this a little higher. This is a good whisky and a great ambassador for Canadian spirits, but to me its greatest shortcoming is likely attributable to its ABV and almost certain chill-filtration. I'm starting to sound like a broken record when I say: "I wonder what this would taste like at cask strength."


Nose: leans heavily towards butterscotch and brown sugar, unsurprisingly. But in the mellow aroma there is also oaky spice, fresh wood, the slightest hints of dill and dried leaves. Deceptively complex. Warm, mellow, and inviting.

Taste: pure goodness. Voluptuous on the tongue, with the flavour of caramel candies melting in your mouth. Develops a pleasant earthiness as it sits on the tongue. This is incredibly smooth stuff; the oak gives it just enough grip on the mouth. Sometimes I notice notes of milk chocolate mid-palate.

Finish: medium length. Nothing tremendous happening here, with the oak having flattened out anything the grains had going on. But there are some pleasant spicy echoes to savour nonetheless.

Balance: Danfield's is what I would call a traditional Canadian whisky, in that it doesn't try to break the mould. It does what it does very well, coming across as a mellow, sophisticated, and highly polished dram. An excellent whisky at a more than reasonable price, and one of the best Canadian whiskies I've yet come across.

So, what would you say are the other four of the top five Canadians?

Enjoying a glass right now since I snagged a return at the LCBO. Still hoping there is another release down the road. Makes my top 5 as well. Legacy being #1.


This whisky is produced out at the Black Velvet Distillery in Lethbridge, Alberta. I think it is a fabulous whisky, and shows off some brilliant blending. Also perhaps the best bargain in Canadian Whisky (in Ontario anyway, when you can find it) - $44 for a 21 Year Old that is very nice. Also it's terribly presented, but if that means I can buy it this cheap - ok.

Nose: At first whiff, it seems a bourbon nose. Then, wait, is it a rye nose? Or...a malt nose? I can't think of a bottle which seems to show up all three grains so distinctly as this one - you can pick them each out as you admire it. It's beautiful. It's all framed and held together by the rye in the background, but the part that seems to lift the nose up are the bourbon notes. It's quite floral - carnations and green leafy plants - and fruity - icewine, in particular. Honey, once again floral, a bit like lavender honey if you've ever had it. There is apple juice, with pulp included, a bit of lychee, and, of course, the oak is there, as well as some maple, but it's so light and you have to search for it a little. I even found a touch of moss developed as it sat. I really love this nose. fantastic! 95%

Taste: The rye comes in at first, it's light, fruity, and then the corn kicks in for a bit with good dollop of honey before the rye finishes it off with some spice and the oak kicks in at the end and leaves your mouth full of sweet oak and spice. I get grape notes throughout the palate as well, and the spices on the end are marvelous - not bold, but solid dried ginger and a touch of cloves. It is very fruity and has some good grape fruitiness to it, and even a touch of green apple. It has touches of bourbon throughout, as well. There is a touch of oak bitterness that can detract from the brilliance ever so slightly...but, overall, it's fabulous. 93%

Finish: The rye sits on the palate with some nice grape flavour, some spice provides some body, and it is chewy and enduring. The finish seems quiet for a bit as the rye fades, and the mouth dries out a bit. However, as you wait, you begin to taste some wonderful vanilla and honey come in as the rye seems to end its course and the corn seems to take centre stage. There's certainly nothing negative about the finish - it is, perhaps, a bit quiet though, and sometimes the rye takes up a bit too much of the stage. But, though it is quiet, it oddly seems to become even more prominent and makes you want to go back and have more - not immediately after - but a few minutes in. 93%

Intrigue: I really like it, and the nose and taste are certainly worth savouring. It is, for sure, one of my favourite noses in whisky. This is a gentle, complex whisky which would be a very good introduction I think to canadian whisky - likely a pretty easy one for beginners if you are looking to win your friends over who are not used to whisky. Also, I have to say, once again, a (good) 21 year old whisky sitting a tad over $40 in Ontario! We're all thankful for that. 93%

Weighting the nose 25%, taste 35%, Finish 15%, and Intrigue 25% the overall grade is 94.

*I realized I would never have time to upload all my Canadian whisky reviews to connosr properly, so I've been importing the tasting notes in bulk to expand the whisky base on connosr. For more info on the whisky (with similar tasting notes), see my post at whiskywon.wordpress.com/2013/12/…


Danfield's 21 years is the "all grown up" version of Black Velvet. Df21 is distilled and bottled at the Black Velvet facility in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. The label is owned by Independent Bottler, Williams and Church. This expression possesses all the desired characteristics of a fine Canadian sipping whisky - the nose is terrific - rye floral notes, baking spices, wet cedar and wild berries. The mouthfeel is creamy. Baking spices translate from the nose to the palate - vanilla, cinnamon, brown sugar - some mild heat/black pepper followed by ginger/citrus sourness which are offset by toffee and caramel. There is a nice balance to this whisky. The finish is dry and clean and leaves you wanting one more. A very nice, easy sipping whisky. This is what I like to give as a gift for birthdays...at least there'll be one good bottle in the house.

Yes, Danfield's 21 yo is one of the best Canadian whiskies, though my bottle of it took a few months to really come together before I felt that way about it.

That's pretty amazing to me that Danfield's 21 yo is from the Black Velvet folks. Somehow that item of information had eluded me previously. That would be nice if Black Velvet tasted more like 21 yo Danfield's.

In recent H2H tastings vs Gibson's 18 Yrs, Danfield's 21 Yrs has scored higher. Three different batches of Gibson's vs one batch of Danfield's. Result: D'field's 21 shutout Gibson's 18 by a score of 3 - 0.


Ahhhhh. I'm inside on a sunny Saturday afternoon, watching the Rogers Cup semi-final (the women's tennis, taking place in Montreal). That it is the Williams sisters against each other makes it quite exciting. Especially because one of them is Serena...who I love....so much.....such a huge crush... strong... beautiful..... sooooo....oh, wait. Snap out of it! OK, on to the whisky.

Since the tournament is in Canada, I thought we would do a Canadian. There isn't much info out there on Danfield's 21 Year Old. The label says the distiller is Williams & Churchill (Williams whisky...Williams sisters...OK this makes sense), based in Valleyfield QC and Lethbridge AB - this is definitely distilled in Lethbridge though. Although there is no batch number or bottle code, this is labelled "small batch". It is also "diamond filtered." Wonder what marketing geniuses came up with that one...but anyway...

The colour is a coppery gold. On the nose, honey and caramel comes first, with a backbone of rye spice. Sourdough bread, vanilla custard and some rich oak. Marzipan and maple. Water makes it more floral, but be careful with water - too much will drown it. Rich and luxurious.

On the palate some citrus comes through (where did that come from?) with more caramel, vanilla and oak. The citrus with the sweeter notes, and the rye spice (with cloves), provides extraordinary balance - it's sweet but never cloying, and has real bite (which is reduced by adding water). The oak really is beautifully done here. Delicious.

The finish gives a burst of nutmeg and cinnamon, with more oak - it's long and deep, finally ending in tobacco. This has always been one of my favourite Canadian whiskies, not only a true pleasure to drink but features great depth and complexity. Jim Murray scores this a 95, by the way. Almost impossible to find now - @paddockjudge was somehow able to source this bottle for me - so grab it if you find it. And now, back to Serena. I mean, back to the tennis...

yes, very sad that this one is becoming hard to find. It was around so long (and at such a bargain!) that I was hoping it wasn't a "limited" limited edition. One of my absolute favourites too. has anyone figured out what "diamond" filtered is? I came up short in my research to find out...

According to a tag on the bottle, "As a final step, our whisky is "Diamond Filtered" just prior to bottling. We use real diamonds to filter our fine whisky and this provides a "polishing" hat assures a smoothness and drinkability from first sip to last." Sounds like a bunch of woo-woo to me.


The reviewed bottle has been open for 21 months and is 90% full. Review will be in non-sequential format (SQVH)

Strength: strong flavours of rye, wood, and wine. Score: 22/25 all whiskies; 23/25 Canadian Category

Quality: for the first 5 months of the bottle open, the flavours did not come together for me with this whisky. After that, they gelled nicely, and showed me the whisky of which Jim Murray and others have thought so highly. This is heavy on maple flavours from oak, and has a lot of sweetness. I am not sure where the sweetness comes from, whether from wood, or added caramel, sweet wine finishing, etc. The wood flavours themselves are good but not great. A little tired tasting, but pleasant. Spice from rye grain is a primary feature, and the rye grain flavours here are good to very good, but not especially refined. Score: 22/25 all; 23/25 Canadian

Variety: there is plenty to engage the attention among the various component parts. Score 22/25 all; 23/25 Canadian

Harmony: once the flavours gelled together, they formed a very nice harmony, heavy on very sweet maple. Spice and wine are more apparent in the nose and early in the delivery, and sweet maple becomes more prominent into the long finish. Score 22/25 all; 23/25 Canadian

Total Scores: 89 all whiskies; 92 Canadian

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