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Royal Canadian Small Batch

Export / Import - But Why?

0 1891

@talexanderReview by @talexander

14th Apr 2012

0

  • Nose
    22
  • Taste
    23
  • Finish
    23
  • Balance
    23
  • Overall
    91

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

As a patriotic Canadian, it often irks me when I think about how some of our industries operate. For example, we will cut down our trees and sell our lumber outside our borders, where it is made into furniture. That furniture then gets exported back here and sold to Canadians. Factored into that purchase price, of course, are costs not borne in this country - labour, transport, manufacturing, etc etc etc. Why don't we just make our own? Well, probably because it would be too expensive that way.

Which brings us to Royal Canadian Small Batch. We sell our barrels to Sazerac in the US, where they blend, bottle and market it back to us. In this case, I don't think they did it cheaper than we could've. But they did it better than most, and if you know Sazerac Rye, Thomas H. Handy Rye, Eagle Rare bourbon or George T. Stagg bourbon - you shouldn't be surprised. This is a fantastic Canadian whisky (and I don't care if it's blended and bottled in the US - it's 100% Canadian!)

The colour is golden with reddish/orange highlights. The nose is heavy burnt sugar and caramel, peppered with cinnamon and cloves, like a thicker Crown Royal. Water improves the nose by pushing the rye grain forward.

Based on the nose, I would have expected something akin to CR Special Reserve - but it is thinner in the mouth than on the nose, with rye leading the way. Delicious! Some toffee and honey but not as much as you would expect from the nose; the spices are tamer as well.

Finish: medium length, pleasant, satisfying. One of the best Canadian whiskies I've had - it takes all of our whisky's defining characteristics (rye, caramel, smoothness, spice) and perfects them. Too bad it had to be blended and bottled outside our borders!

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18 comments

@Victor
Victor commented

Were you able to find any information from which Canadian distillery or distilleries this whisky is produced?

This is the one with the bottle straight from the Sazerac Antique Collection school of bottle design, right?

7 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

Yes, correct, that is the bottle - identical shape and size to the Stagg, Eagle Rare, Thomas H. Handy, etc.

I looked on the Sazerac website for more info on that, but there wasn't any information on that, but wasn't surprised. As the vast majority of Canadian whiskies are blends anyway, that information might not be that helpful anyway...

7 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

Very nice at 40% abv. I would like to taste it. Bet it would be dynamite at 60% abv., but that would almost be un-Canadian. I see in the Murray 2012 Bible precisely two Canadian whiskies at 50% abv and above: Glen Breton Ice at 57.2% abv and Canadian Club 100 proof at 50% abv. Who knows? Since Sazerac Company is putting this whisky together maybe they can dare to stretch the Canadian whisky culture envelope by putting out a strength that the Canadian distillers have been unwilling to put out. But probably Sazerac Company will not do that. The LCBO might be reluctant to buy a whisky named Royal Canadian if it were bottled at the shocking strength of 60% abv. It would be downright un-Canadian.

7 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

I'm not sure the LCBO is that attached to the idea that Canadian whiskies have to be 40%ers! But you never know. I haven't tried Glen Breton Ice but I've heard it's terrible...and haven't tried CC 100 proof either (I don't think I've seen it here).

One of the characteristics of Canadian whisky is smoothness, which is more difficult with a higher alcohol level. Obviously, there isn't a direct correlation - maturation, frequency of distillation, etc etc has an effect on smoothness as well. But the tradition has always been an easy-drinking 40% and that's what consumers of Canadian whisky tend to expect. Our whiskies don't tend to push the envelope (unfortunately) and don't tend to challenge our palate, which I believe is one of the reasons Canadian whisky has fallen behind in global profile. But I bet if you tried this Royal Canadian blind you would think it was at a higher proof, it has a good kick to it - thanks to its non-Canadian blenders!

7 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

Yes, I am eager to try it!

7 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

This one reminds me of Seagram's Crown Royal Limited Edition from the Waterloo plant (pre-1992), I'm not saying this whisky is from Waterloo, just that the blending lends itself to this particular profile. Perhaps we could compare with a CR Ltd Ed and a regular CR, dusty bottles from my modest inventory. In the event that I'm not correct, it could still be a lot of fun.

6 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

Interesting - I don't know the CR LE pre-1992, only the current LE, which I do quite like. That would be an interesting comparison...

Speaking of Import/Export issues - Masterson's 10 year old straight rye is another Canadian whisky (from Alberta Distillers) that is sold to a US company in bulk where is is bottled, marketed and sold back to us. Sigh.

On another note, why is there now a picture of Sazerac 18 attached to this review?

6 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

I think Victor switched bottles lol - a new twist on juxtaposition. I'd gladly trade a bottle of Sazerac Royal Canadian for a bottle of Sazerac 18.

6 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

Ohhhhh so would I.....so would I...

6 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

I'd like to try the Masterson's against Alberta Springs

6 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

I haven't had the Alberta Springs 10 Year Old, though I mean to try it...but I can tell you it is very different from Alberta Premium (both the standard, and the 30 Year Old). The Masterson's has much stronger flavours of dill pickle, grapefruit pith, and that very steely rock-hard rye that you can find in great Canadian whiskies.

6 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

Is the masterson's at all comparable to Lot 40, which I find to be a "steely" rye, but unfortunately over-hyped. (I'm sipping on a Basil Hayden right now and it is a little heavy on the rye for a bourbon, but much to my liking).

6 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

Ah - yes, somewhat comparable. I do like the Lot 40 - I sampled it at the last WhiskyLive show in Toronto, and have been meaning to buy a bottle. Not sure I would agree that it is over-hyped - I think it is a very good whisky. But I think the Masterson's is in a whole other category of great rye. I first sampled the Masterson's at Spirit of Toronto in May, and just recently bought a bottle as well.

Yeah, I'm not much on the Basil Hayden, to be honest. If I had my choice of the Jim Beam specialty bourbons, it would be the Baker's 7 Year Old - love that one (as @Victor knows!)

6 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@Victor does know, and loves the Baker's too! @Paddockjudge, if you like that Basil Hayden's mashbill, try some Old Grand-Dad 114...supposed to be the same mashbill, but at 57% instead of the Basil Hayden's 40%, or 43% like standard OGD, or 50% like OGD BIB. Can't be certain that the yeast is the same from OGD to Basil Hayden's, but it probably is. @dbk says that they derived Basil Hayden's from pre-existing stocks of OGD. Old Grand-Dad was bourbon produced by Basil Hayden's grandson.

Old Grand-Dad 114 is hilarious kick-ass bourbon! A sentimental favourite of mine, my wife's, and both of my bourbon-loving sisters.

6 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

I have an unopened Baker's and now a reason to try it, not that I actually required one. Back to the "steely" rye - would you consider either of Wiser's Legacy or 18 yr old as steely - in my opinion the Legacy is steely (and one of my staples); I'm not certain how to tag the 18 y o - and from that, does the Masterson's at all resemble the Legacy?

6 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

The Legacy is certainly has more rye notes than the 18, without question. The 18 is a classic aged Canadian whisky - it's fantastic. But I LOVE the Legacy - much more complexity due to what has to be more rye in the mashbill. Does it compare to the Masterson's? Hard to say - they are both excellent. I'm now inspired to buy a Legacy tomorrow and do a side-by-side comparison. However, if memory serves - while the Masterson's has much more of that awesome rye bite - the Legacy has more complexity - not just big rye notes (which it has) but also lots of what makes great blended Canadian whiskies so great. But I'd really have to taste them together fresh to comment accurately on it.

6 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@ talexander - interesting conundrum - Lot 40 and Legacy are from the same still. Masterson's and Alberta Springs are from the same distillery and possibly the same still. I did three tastings of Legacy vs Lot No. 40 and I definitely prefer the Legacy - the baking spices win me over every time.

@Victor - There's not too many that I don't like, unfortunately I'm at the mercy of the world's largest spirits purchaser and must wait to cross the border to enjoy Old Grand-Dad 114; until then, I'll pour a smash of Booker's Small Batch 127 with a splash of water or two. Cheers!

6 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@paddockjudge, I am sure that Booker's will keep you amused. Cheers!

6 years ago 0

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