- Brand: Howitzer
- ABV: 40%
My wife was out at her book club meeting tonight, so I did a blind tasting from my collection of samples.
This sample was generously provided by @Nozinan, The sample was poured from a freshly Opened bottle on May 23 2019. Tasted from a Highland Whisky glass.
- Nose: a touch shy at first, smells like young rye, a bit grassy, a bit of cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, a bit of orange zest, caramel, some wood furniture polish. With time, the caramel becomes more prominent on the nose. (18/25)
- Palate (undiluted): gentle arrival, some caramel, red apple skins, oak tannins, black tea, surprisingly pleasant after the shy nose (20/25)
- Finish: medium length, peppery, rye spices (cardamom and cinnamon mostly), freshly cut oak, red apples again, an extension of the flavours on the palate (20/25)
- Balance, 19/100, inoffensive and well-integrated, after a shy start
- Neat Score: 77/100 (shy, slightly muted nose)
- Nose: peppery rye, orange zest, caramel, cardamom and cinnamon are a little further back with a touch of eucalyptus. Water doesn't really help coax anything out. (18/25)
- Palate: red apples, oak, rye spice (mostly cloves now), thinner with water (18/25)
- Finish: more butterscotch than caramel, some slightly herbal green notes, with rye spice and an unpleasant solventy, spirit note lingering on. It's flattened out and lost some complexity with water. Definitely better neat. (17/25)
- Balance: better neat. Enough said. (18/24)
- Score with water: 71/100
Overall score 76/100
Reveal: Howitzer Canadian Whisky, 40% abv. I'm leaning toward the higher score, simply because I wouldn't normally have added water to this. It didn't need it and I only did it in the name of science. For those who don't know, a Howitzer is hockey slang for a booming slap-shot. The company's marketing seems to lean heavily on the association with our national obsession. However, this whisky isn't really a big bold...anything. There are pleasant rye notes on the palate when sipping it neat, but the nose is quite muted with and without water. I thought this was 100% rye whisky, based on the palate tasted neat, but as soon as I added water, those base corn whisky notes took over on the finish. Those of you who have read my reviews or chatted with me know that I'm not really a fan of that very spirity, dare I say vodka-esque note on the finish. Of course, I could be assigning blame for those notes to the wrong component. I'm no expert, just an enthusiast. Those off notes are the very same ones I detect in sub-par batches of Forty Creek (becoming more common these days).
- Would I accept a glass of this if offered? Sure, it's not unpleasant as long as it's sipped neat.
- Would I order this in a bar or pub? Unlikely, unless there was nothing else available.
- Would I purchase a bottle? Not really.
Thanks as always to @Nozinan for his generosity.