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- Brand: Signal Hill
- ABV: 40%
I was happy to receive this as a free (full sized!) bottle from the company. Maybe I’ve “made it” as a blogger. Of course, once I publish my review, I may never get free whisky again. Oh well, I have to be honest. This is a whisky sourced from Ontario, and if I had to guess, I’d say it’s from the Hiram Walker distillery, using the Canadian Club “stocks”. So here’s what I know about this whisky (from their marketing people, er, their communications team)
- Crafted in St. John’s, Newfoundland – within sight of the historic Signal Hill.
- Blended (ed: diluted?) with the pristine waters of Newfoundland, Canada.
- 3-cask aging process for a deep amber colour and complex flavour: White Oak Casks, Bourbon Casks and Canadian Whisky Casks
- Aged in a variable climate to deliver richness
- Non-chill filtered for a fuller mouthfeel and smoother finish
- The contemporary bottle compliments the non-traditional whisky
- 95% corn, 5% barley
- Blended in small batches
- Nose (undiluted): strong solvent aroma at first, after a few minutes there’s rich caramel and cream aromas, reminiscent of Werther's Original hard candies, toasted oak, cola, and a bit of rye spice in the background. (19/25)
- Palate (undiluted): rich arrival, surprisingly mouth-coating for something bottled at 40% abv, floral honey, figs, orange zest, a touch of cinnamon (21/25)
- Finish: medium length, more honey, rye spice, flat cola, ending on a slightly bitter (but still pleasing) orange zest note (20/25)
- Balance: it’s not super-complex, but it’s fairly well-integrated. (20/25)
Adding water emphasizes the slight bitter note on the finish. But this is not an "off" vodka-esque note nor is it an acetone or spirity bitterness. It's akin to adding a dash of orange bitters to your whisky. I think this would make Signal Hill good in a Manhattan or even a whisky sour. I haven’t tried it with diet Ginger ale....yet. The whisky is fairly well-balanced and is good on its own as a digestif. Its biggest asset is the texture and flavour on the palate. I don’t know if the rich texture comes from the lack of chill-filtration or because it’s almost exclusively corn whisky. Maybe it’s both. I doubt this will change the way people perceive Canadian whisky. It’s well made, easy to drink, but I wouldn’t classify it as bold, spicy, or call it a radical departure from the familiar.