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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!