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Royal Canadian Small Batch

RCSB Review in Three Formats

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@VictorReview by @Victor

14th Jan 2013


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Royal Canadian Small Batch is Canadian-produced whisky blended, bottled, and marketed by Sazerac Company in the USA. I am aware of no information identifying the individual Canadian distillery or distilleries at which the component whiskies were produced.The reviewed bottle has been open for two months and is 80% full. The body of the whisky is of medium thickness

This review will be made using three separate review formats and also using separate ratings by whisky category and against all whiskies. In future reviews I may use any one of these formats or multiple formats in my reviews, according to my inclination at the time. These are just three separate equally valid lenses through which to observe and review the whisky

Format #1, NTFB, Nose-Taste-Finish-Balance, the familiar 25-point-each Time-Space-Sequential Evaluation

Format #2, SQVH, Strength-Quality-Variety-Harmony, also 25-points each, Non-Time-Space- Sequential

Format #3, WGYA, Wood-Grain-Yeast/Add-ons Component Element Evaluation. Add-on flavours include peat, smoke, brine, and any outright additives, such as wine, maple syrup, caramel, etc. I will weight all whiskies except US non-wine-finished whiskies on a 30pt-30pt-40pt scale. Standard, non-wine-finished US whiskeys will use a 40pt-30pt-30pt scale, to reflect the much heavier emphasis on wood flavours in these styles of whiskey

NB These three formats should give similar, but not necessarily identical grading scores. The posted review score is the NTFB-all score

Format #1 Nose-Taste-Finish-Balance; Sequential

Nose: strong intensity, sweet fragrant maple with wine accents. There is certainly some spicy rye grain prominent in this blend. Alchol is present but understated. Very pleasant and enjoyable. Score 23 all whiskies; 24 category of Canadian whisky

Taste: the nose flavours translate well to the palate. Clean Canadian-style re-used wood flavours with wine; spiciness is much stronger on the palate than in the nose. The alcohol is a little bit too strong, but it gives a pleasant bite, which contrasts nicely with the sweetness

Score 21 all; 23 Canadian category

Finish: medium to long; this finishes on mostly fruty wine flavours with some spice. The finish is not quite as coherent as is the palate. Score 21-all; 22 Canadian category

Balance: the flavours are attractive and robust, but not especially refined, on palate and finish. this is a nice specimen of whisky in the Canadian blended whisky style. Score 22 all; 23 Canadian style

Total NTFB scores: 87 all whiskies; 92 Canadian category

Format #2 Strength-Quality-Variety-Harmony; Non-Sequential

Strength: the strength of all of the important elements is quite good, except for the wood flavours fading out earlier than the other components during the finish. Alcohol greeting on the palate is perhaps a hint stronger than would be desired, but it does not detract much from the overall effect. Score 23 all; 24 Canadian

Quality: excellent grain and wine flavours are manifest in Royal Canadian Small Batch. The wood flavours lean very slightly toward the bitter and are of not quite as high a quality as are the other flavours. Score 22 all; 23 Canadian

Variety: There is very adequate variety among the three major sets of flavours, giving a very good contrast. Score 22 all; 23 Canadian

Harmony: these flavours work well together, except for a slight edge of bitter stridency in the wood, especially on the finish. The alcohol bite is also just a little bit stronger than ideal also. Overall the effect remains quite good. Score 20 all; 22 Canadian

Total SQVH scores: 87 all whiskies; 92 Canadian category

Format #3 Wood-Grain-Yeast/Add-on; Component Element Evaluation

Wood: the sweet maple flavour in the nose is pleasant, but the wood goes a little bitter on the palate and even more so on the finish. Also, the wood flavours hold up least well among the various major flavours into and through the finish. This is re-used-wood flavour, typical and good by Canadian whisky standards, but lacking depth and range by contrast to new oak. Score 23/30 all; 25/30 Canadian

Grain: the rye grain is very very nice here. Other grains are in the background, but pleasantly so and without negative interaction. Alcohol from the fermented grain is just a little stronger than optimal on the palate and on the finish. Score 28/30 all; 29/30 Canadian

Yeast/Add-ons: the wine flavours are superior here, just as are the grain flavours. This is one of the best wine influences I have seen in Canadian whisky. If caramel is used for sweetener in Royal Canadian Small Batch whisky, it is done so so discreetly as to blend in excellently. Score 36/40 all; 38/40 Canadian

Total WGYA scores: 87 all whiskies; 92 Canadian category

Related Royal Canadian reviews


BlueNote commented

Now that's what a review should look like: comprehensive, thoughtful, informative, credible and not based on a hasty first impression. Excellent as always @Victor. This is why I don't bother doing reviews, you've set the bar too high, I'm not worthy. Cheers.

7 years ago 0

Victor commented

@BlueNote, @michaelschout, thank you for appreciating this multiple format review. This review is meant to roll out for public display these alternative review formats, so that they will be introduced and explained for reference, when I or others use them, or some other similar formats, for future reviews. It would be nice to do this detailed and thorough a multiple format work-up for every review, but it would also be incredibly time-consuming. This review required the same effort that would typically be required for me to write three separate reviews. Despite great care and a great deal of time, I still also managed to have some typos and spacing irregularities by the time I did the final posting of the review. It is great fun, though, and I think quite informative, to look at these whiskies through these sorts of alternative lenses.

7 years ago 0

paddockjudge commented

Extremely enjoyable, the three formats. Your hard court talents are evident; trey and a bonus (successfully hitting the category after being fouled by a cold) for a rare four-point play! I happen to be quite fond of RCSB, it reminds me of older expressions of Crown Royal and V.O. Thanks for the treat.

7 years ago 0

WhiskyBee commented

What @BlueNote said. Your reviews, @Victor, are one of the main reasons I'm thankful to have joined Connosr.

7 years ago 0

NAV26 commented

Very interesting review @Victor. I am trying to wrap my mind aorund what you are doing here. Your new system seems to incorporate ideas associated with Quantum Mechanics, as you are observing the subject through several different lenses. The non-time-space-sequential rating system combined with the in-genre comparison system seems to offer better comparison of intrinsic quality across whisky and less of subjective tasting experience. With this system it almost seems you begin to look at "forms" of whisky as the criteria. I think it might be interesting to eleborate a bit more on the characterists of S-C-V-H within the non-time-space-sequential rating system.

7 years ago 0

Victor commented

@NAV26, to further describe the ideas behind the non-space-time-sequential review (S-C-V-H), I would start off by saying that this approach views the sensory experiences from a frame of reference which is both more abstract from the individual parts of the tasting experience, ie avoiding the 'play-by-play' description of "first we smell the whisky, then we put it into our mouths, next we notice what we experience 5, 10, 20, 30, 60 seconds later....", thus a-temporal, but which simultaneously integrates in its discussion all of these phases of tasting together.

After much thought on the subject, I decided that the four categories of Strength, Quality, Variety, and Harmony, summed up all of the important and necessry parameters by which to evaluate the characteristics of the individual flavours and of the whole of the flavours contained within whisky.

These three different formats, taken together, represent to me the three main parameters going into the evaluation process of the whisky review: 1) the compilation of all of the sensory and affective data during each and all of the temporal-sequential stages of the whisky tasting, 2) the classification of the primary parameters for the evaluation of characteristics of the flavours, both as individual flavours, and as flavours taken together forming a larger whole, and 3) appraisal of the relationship of the flavours encountered during the whisky tasting with the component elements within the whisky from which they derived.

Because whisky is by definition concentrated spirit made from grain and aged in wood, it seemed logical to structure the Component Element classification according to whisky's most basic elements: the flavours derived from grain, the flavours derived from the wood, and the flavours derived from all other sources, e.g. yeast, peat, smoke, brine, wine or other cask-finish, and any additives like caramel, maple syrup, wine, etc.

In overview, these three formats are complementary to one another, and each gives a differeent and useful perspective on the whisky being reviewed. The first format is a play-by-play time-sequenced review of the taste parameters and component elements within each sequential stage of the tasting. The second format summarises the categories of flavour elements across the stages of tasting, making appropriate references to the stages and component elements of the whisky within stages of tasting as appropriate for clarity. The third format presents the experience of tasting from the standpoint of the component parts of the whisky, while giving any necessary details on differences within stages of tasting, and making within it general observations on the characteristics of the flavours among the various components, as necessary.

7 years ago 0

Wills commented

Thank you Gene for this nice idea and for sharing it with us. Really a 3-point-game :D

But I think the main difference to the regular nose-palate-finish(-body) reviews is the fact that you aren't used to taste whisky like this. So you are breaking borders. You have to really think more about it. You miss the standardisation which may be good for some, but because of the increasing work it won't be good for others. For a broader look on whisky reviews I really support your idea. I guess the mix of different styles is a real good thing. I will try to make one too. I really like the Strength-Quality-Variety-Harmony idea.

On the other hand I don't like the idea of that wood-grain-yeast classification very much because it is too one-sided for me. I think it is indeed often useful and informative to say 'I can taste the vanilla of the ex-bourbon-casks' but as taste is very subjective you can't assign everything you find/notice in a whisky to the producing process. It is possible to get an aroma because you associate something with the whisky like your personal situation or your mood on that specific day or you remember something you had with the first dram of the bottle 10 years ago. As an additional information I like this producing-info like we already see in good reviews. I won't go with this new classification at the moment. But this is just my first impression.

Thx and have a nice weekend!

7 years ago 0

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