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- Brand: Gooderham & Worts
- ABV: 45%
When I saw this bottle on the shelf of some wayward liquor store marked down to $30, I thought, why not? I could use another Canadian whisky in my collection that isn't made by Crown Royal. I'd never seen the bottle before, and after my purchase I tried to find out about it. Unbeknownst to me, Gooderham & Worts was one of the oldest and most well known brands of Canadian Whisky. The brand has changed hands over the years - this batch was bottled by McCormick's Distillery. Perhaps more astounding than my lack of knowledge regarding Canadian distilling history is that the bottles in this batch resulted from a blending of only 10 barrels, so this bottle was quite a rare find given it was produced about 4 years ago. I proudly placed the attractive bottle on my shelf and there it sat for several months. I opened it a few weeks ago to serve to my sister in law (and myself) who enjoys crown. She enjoyed it, declaring it better than crown, I agree, but more to the point, it may be the best whiskey i have ever had. Since then I've tried the whiskey on several other occasions to ensure that my initial impression was not some sort of palate fluke. The dwindling supply of drams that remain in my bottle assure me that it is what I first believed it to be. Every glorious sip takes me a little closer to the rueful day when there will be no more.
Nose: Multilayered, sweet vanilla mixed with rye grass. Coffee with cream and sugar. Dipping my nose into the glencairn reveals the underlying wooded whisky and alcohol vapors.
Taste: Vanilla and butter toffee mixed with hints of chocolate. Notes of fine rum, highland scotch, and rye whiskey all blend together. Honey and herbal heather burst like firecrackers and then fade into frothy ocean waves crashing onto a beach strewn with dune grass and sandalwood. An all time favorite. I'd put this whiskey up against anything in my collection.
Finish: Peat smoke and a slight warming burn. Smooth and velvety. Leaves a long lasting coat of sweet corn commingled with stone (cherry, peach) and citrus fruit. Hints of sea salt and barrel char linger at the back of the tongue in anticipation of the next sip.
Balance: An unbelievably good whiskey. It is criminal that this is no longer available. The whiskey is a bit of a chameleon, but that is what makes it so wonderful. I can have this when I'm in the mood for rum, scotch, or a sweeter bourbon. The blender that pulled such delicate flavors out of only 10 barrels deserves the Nobel Prize in chemistry.
Final Thoughts: A world beater that I found for under $30! This stuff will haunt my dreams when it is gone. This small batch sits in the middle of my three favorite spirits and rather than getting lost or diluted it manages to take the best aspects of all three. A better nose and more complexity in the finish are all that keeps this whiskey from perfection. To ask for more feels a bit like Icarus wanting to fly closer to the sun.