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Howitzer Canadian Whisky

Ok, Boomer

5 976

@OdysseusUnboundReview by @OdysseusUnbound

29th Feb 2020

1

  • Nose
    18
  • Taste
    20
  • Finish
    19
  • Balance
    19
  • Overall
    76

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Distribution of ratings for this: user

  • 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.

Neat

  • 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)

With water

  • 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.

9 comments

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

Nice review. I scored it in between your 2 scores.

I'm glad I found a home for the rest of the bottle after I reviewed it. Somehow I think years of air time won't bring it over 80.

about one month ago 2Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

I rescued this bottom-shelfer from an overflowing cabinet of top-shelf malts. I’ve been sitting on it, waiting to see if it will evolve, it hasn’t yet. I thank @Nozinan for his generosity. My son will ultimately be the beneficiary of this bottle... perfect for poker night, when the young lads don’t care much about what’s in the glass.

about one month ago 2Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor commented

@OdysseusUnbound thank you for your very thorough and nuanced review. Where is Howitzer distilled? I would like to place it on the Canadian whisky geography.

Cardamom? Such a beautiful fragrant spice. I don't think I've ever used cardamom as a whisky descriptor.

about one month ago 2Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

@Victor I sometimes get cardamom in rye whiskies. At first, I thought this was a sub-par batch of standard Lot 40, but adding water dispelled those thoughts altogether. As to where Howitzer is made, the only information is the LCBO webpage that states “made in Ontario”.

about one month ago 1Who liked this?

Wierdo commented

I've liked the review just for the title joy

about one month ago 1Who liked this?

@casualtorture
casualtorture commented

I didn't think of hockey when I saw howitzer, I thought of artillery laughing

about one month ago 2Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@casualtorture

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Howitzer artillery piece was named after the New York Ranger's centre Frankie Howitzer whose slapshot once splintered the stick of Detroit Red Wing's Billy Shrapnel, who had to go to hospital to have splinters removed from his body.

about one month ago 2Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

@Nozinan You’re definitely wrong. stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye

@casualtorture The makers of Howitzer whisky play on the hockey theme as well as referring to their fathers and or grandfathers who served in the military. It’s likely a variation on the “craft” bourbon theme: My great-great-great grand pappy had a tenuous connection to the bourbon industry, so here’s a sourced bourbon. That will be $100 per bottle please. We’re ‘authentic’.

Or the Scotch Whisky tradition of making vague references to illicit distilling and using unpronounceable Scots Gaelic words.

about one month ago 2Who liked this?

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