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This is a new expression of Gibson's, a Canadian whisky brand owned by William Grant & Sons (Glenfiddich Master Blender Brian Kinsman also blends Gibson's apparently). This release has been timed with a general redesign of the bottle and label. I've always hated the 12 Year Old (scored it a 40) but love the 18 Year Old (which I haven't had the chance to review here).
The colour is a coppery red, darker than other Gibson's expressions (and darker than you would expect from an eight-year-old; obvious caramel colouring). On the nose there is some real rye spice, with vanilla, light caramel, cocoa and toasted oak. Nothing different from any decent Canadian whisky, but nothing terrible either. Unassuming, but improves with water, becoming spicier and more rye-forward.
On the palate there is heavier caramel with the vanilla and rye spice. Tastes younger than eight years old, it's a little too spirity. Black liquorice. Herbal. The longer you hold it in your mouth, the spicier it gets, especially with water. Quite nice, actually.
The long finish has definite wood with citrus pith. I would put this closer to the 18 Year Old than the 12. While this has no obvious faults, it is nothing spectacular either. Funny that it tastes richer and fuller - and bolder! - than the 12 Year Old, which is older. Also worth noting that the label says it "delivers Canada's boldest rye & cola," which apparently it was designed to be mixed with. I tried it with Coke and with ginger ale, and it's fine mixed with both, so perhaps a good bottle to pull out for a summer barbecue.