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Royal Canadian Small Batch

Average score from 4 reviews and 4 ratings 87

Royal Canadian Small Batch

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@JasonHambrey
Royal Canadian Small Batch

First of all, the colour of the bottling is really red - it's almost disturbing. It to me seems beyond caramel colouring and into wine or port cask finishes, which don't seem to underlie the flavour in this one.

This is quite a different bottling than many of the American-imported,bottled, and produced Canadian whiskies as it fits more in a Canadian style than an American style (which most fit, as does Mastersons and Whistlepig).

Nose: Light and pleasant, with vanilla, light oak influences, pleasant fruity notes of sweet plum, fresh and canned peaches, yellow apple, distinct notes of cherry juice, light bourbon aromas, red grape skins, and some very light ruby port notes as well...along with some grassiness akin to that found in irish pot still whiskey. It's light, but subtle, and well put together. 87%

Taste: It follows the nose, with light sweetness and fruitiness. There's light apple, prunes - but not as intense as prunes - more like boiled or stewed prunes, with vanilla, very light oaky bourbon notes, light cherry, raisins, and more hints of ruby port. It is nicely balanced, light, and subtle, much like the nose. 85%

Finish: It follows the nose, with light sweetness and fruitiness. There's light apple, prunes - but not as intense as prunes - more like boiled or stewed prunes, with vanilla, very light oaky bourbon notes, light cherry, raisins, and more hints of ruby port. It is nicely balanced, light, and subtle, much like the nose. 77%

Intrigue: This is well put together, and I do like the subtle nuances and nice subdued bourbon notes. I do quite enjoy it, though the finish could use some work. 85%

Weighting the nose 25%, taste 35%, Finish 15%, and Intrigue 25% the overall grade is 85.

*I have also posted a separate format (with similar content) of this review at whiskywon.wordpress.com/2014/08/…

@Victor

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

@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.

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!

@Megawatt

This is interesting: Canadian whisky imported from Kentucky. Deep colour; fancy bottle with cork stopper. Price-wise it is above Crown Royal but below most of the well-aged Canadians. Let's see how it is:

The aroma is expressive with lots of oak. Very spicy. Also citrus zest, burnt sugar, maybe dried leaves.

On the palate it is rich, with the weight of an old whisky. Tasted blind, I might guess this is 18-20 years old. Big-bodied and syrupy. Quite drying at the back of the tongue. Decent length to the finish. Leaves traces of sour fruit and bitter oak.

For a whisky without an age statement, this tastes like some well-aged stock. Has the character, smoothness, and full body to stand up to some of its pricier bretheren.

@talexander

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!

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!

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.

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