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Gooderham & Worts Centennial

Happy 150th, Canada! - Part XIII of XIII

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@talexanderReview by @talexander

1st Jul 2017


Gooderham & Worts Centennial
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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  • Brand: Gooderham & Worts
  • ABV: -1%

The final whisky in this series of reviews celebrating Canada's 150th birthday couldn't be more fitting. This 15 year old Gooderham & Worts was bottled to celebrate Canada's 100th birthday in 1967! How amazing is that?? The bottle is gorgeous, with a painting of the Fathers of Confederation around the circumference (the original painting was in the G&W offices), and housed in a white leatherette zippered bag, which is itself in a cardboard box with the same painting on the label. There is also a little booklet giving the history of Confederation, and some history about the distillery, as well as a legend identifying each and every old white guy in the painting. I will definitely be keeping this bottle after it is emptied (though I will try to not have any more until July 1 2018). The bottle was purchased at the same LCBO / Waddingtons auction as the G&W 1832 Decanters.

The colour is a deep brownish amber. On the nose there is lots of wood smoke, dark caramel, old leather and furniture polish. Quite herbal. Humidor. A drop of water brings out honey and more caramel. Rich and rewarding. Quite similar to the other G&Ws I've tasted in this series, but not quite as sweet as the 1832 Decanter (1950) or the Small Batch.

Similar notes on the palate, with a bit more oak and herbs such as mint and sage. Also prominent with dark honey, tobacco and warm baking spices. A drop of water brings out some anise and cinnamon. Delicious, though it leans toward the sweet side.

The finish is long and chalky with charred oak, more herbs and cloves. While not as spectacularly balanced as the 1832 Decanter (1948), it also doesn't suffer from the almost-cloying sweetness of the 1832 Decanter (1950) or the Small Batch. But it is extremely rich and speaks of age and elegance. To open up a bottle of liquid history crafted to celebrate 100 years, so I can today celebrate 150 years, is a truly remarkable experience.

While I greatly enjoyed writing these thirteen reviews, I think I'll have to take a break from Canadian whisky for a while! This exercise has shown me the similarities in all the bottles produced, from 1958 to 2017, displaying a remarkable consistency in the style of Canadian whisky. There are a lot of synchronous notes on the nose and palate between them all, especially the bottles from Gooderham & Worts. But since I've been tasting nothing but Canadian whisky for over two weeks, I think it's time for some peaty Islays....


Nozinan commented

Quite right...I was focusing on a single Canadian whisky for most of the month (review pending), and while I feel I got a good idea of it, I missed some of the others I occasionally reach for. Peaty Islay is a great idea. Sir John A was a Scotsman...

6 years ago 1Who liked this?

paddockjudge commented

@talexander, a great series of reviews! I have enjoyed your journey into Canadian liquid history during the 150th celebration and look forward to your adventure at Canada's Septaquintaquinquecentennial.

6 years ago 2Who liked this?

newreverie commented

Serious question in regards to the discussion topic about the industindustrial nature of Canadian Whisky production. G&W was once the largest distiller on the planet and we now have reviews of their product ranging from the 1930s to the 1990s. All excellent and of similar quality and profile. So what happened? Why are they closed and why aren't other distilleries producing regular whisky of this quality?

6 years ago 0

talexander commented

@newreverie I don't know why they closed, but keep in mind the bottles that I'm tasting here are likely not indicative of their regular product (two special edition decanters, one one-off for the Centennial and an independent bottler). I don't think I've tasted standard G&W before. Having said that, I have tasted some standard bottlings of other brands from the 1950s through to the 80s (Haig Dimple, Chivas Regal, Johnnie Walker Black, etc) that were fantastic. Our ancestors were so spoiled!!

6 years ago 0

talexander commented

@paddockjudge Thank you! It was tons of fun to do and I learned a lot. Having said that, I'm kind of Canadian-whiskied-out, if that's a phrase? (It is now!)

6 years ago 0

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