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My inaugural review, so bear with me.
I am not typically a flag-waiving patriot, nor am I otherwise a fan of Canadian whisky, but something excited me about the prospect of a home grown single malt. Perhaps it was my predilection for the underdogs, or my curiosity about how the whisky compared to the Scottish single malts to which I am accustomed.
Nevertheless, I was of two minds about this whisky before ever having tasted a drop. On the one hand, it has won several awards (a testament to its intrinsic quality?). On the other hand, it has not always been highly regarded among whisky drinkers on this site and others (a testament to the lack of quality?). Moreover, it is expensive. At $87 Canadian for a 10 year old, it is near the upper end of the market for that age range. To compare, Talisker 10 is $75, Laphroaig 10 is $80, and Ardbeg 10 sells for $100 (at the LCBO). There are likely reasons for the high price, beyond simply the desire to gouge consumers, but it is certainly a factor. I only acquired a bottle because it was on sale at the LCBO for the store-crashing price of $82.
After two months and a number of sessions, the results are in:
Nose: banana-nut to the fore, then a bizarre agglomeration of toast, honey, floral/perfume, dull soap and some grassiness.
Palate: oily and mouth coating. Mildly sour, balanced by toasted cereals, honey-flower, green apple, and some mild ginger. It is astringent at first, but this mellows with the addition of water.
Finish: sharp and long, with initial cereal notes transitioning to sourness and spice.
Overall, it's not bad. But not great either, especially for the price. Some age, quality casks, and distillation wizardry will go a long way to improve the overall quality. Otherwise, it remains a mediocre day for Canadians.