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Black Velvet Toasted Caramel

Review: Black Velvet Toasted Caramel  75.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published March 28, 2013

The Black Velvet brand has a long history in North America, originally produced at the Schenley Distillery in Valleyfield, Quebec in the late 1940s. The whisky was originally called Black Label; but because of the perceived smoothness of the whisky, the producers soon changed the name to Black Velvet. It has been a staple of the Canadian whisky scene ever since. It is now produced at the Black Velvet Distillery (also called the Palliser Distillery) in Lethbridge, Alberta.

Black Velvet Toasted Caramel is a new flavoured whisky produced introduced last year by the company. It is apparently constructed from natural toasted caramel flavour and Black Velvet Whisky.  The product is bottled at 35 % alcohol by volume.

BVToastedCaramelIn the Bottle 4/5

To the left is the bottle presentation for Black Velvet Toasted Caramel. The tall bar room style bottle is appealing, and the bottom of the label has a statement which says:

Whisky infused with natural toasted caramel flavour and blended with Black Velvet Whisky

The statement makes me wonder about the reference to the word ‘whisky’ twice. A literal reading implies that they have first infused an unnamed base whisky (probably a young whisky) with natural toasted caramel flavour (whatever exactly that is), and then blended the result with Black Velvet Whisky.

As far as it goes, I like the bottle and the label. Things are a little fancy, but not over the top. My friend Lucas, was inspired to buy a bottle when he saw it on the shelf his local liquor store, so the presentation obviously works.

In the Glass 8/10

The flavoured whisky has a bit of a syrupy consistency and displays a light coppery amber colour in the glass. The nose oozes caramel and maple toffee with a light spiciness apparent in the aroma. I wait for a while to see if I catch any glimpses of oak or hints of an aged whisky underlying the caramel, but I am disappointed. The caramel may be too sweet to allow the whisky underneath to assert itself. A light spiciness is all that is apparent.

In the Mouth 45/60

Black Velvet Toasted Caramel runs towards the sweet side of the palate with caramel and maple flavour leading the way. The strong undercurrent of maple confuses me at first; but upon reflection I suspect this must be the wood and whisky spices showing through and moving some of that caramel flavour to maple. However, there is a bit of bite or sharpness that dwells within the spiciness. I want to give credit for more complexity than I was expecting; but tempering my enthusiasm is the realization there is also more sweetness which gives the spirit a cloying character which makes it hard to pour a second glass.

In the Throat 11/15

Maple toffee and sweet caramel smother a spicy rye-like heat in a finish where I almost taste the rye grain underneath. Unfortunately, when sipped neat the whisky is a little too sweet and cloying; however, with ice and soda the sweetness is held in check and I am able to enjoy myself.

The Afterburn 7.5/10

The Black Velvet Toasted Caramel almost works for me. It is just a touch too sweet, and the underlying whisky is just not quite assertive enough. I want to enjoy it on its own; but I end up adding some ice to quell the cloying sweetness and then some ginger-ale to liven up the flavour.

My score of 75.5/100 indicates a spirit which has troubles as a sipper, but one which is enjoyable as mixing spirit.

You may read some of my other reviews of  Liqueurs and Flavoured Spirits (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.

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Suggested Recipe

This recipe is a little on the sweet side, but when I use lots of ice and  healthy splash of ginger ale and it becomes very refreshing!

SAM_0662 Caribuo HighballThe Canadian Caribou High Ball
(an Arctic Wolf cocktail)

1  Black Velvet Toasted Caramel
1/3    oz Yukon Jack
Healthy Splash of Ginger Ale
ice
slice of lemon

Fill a long tall glass with ice
Add the Black Velvet Toasted caramel and the Yukon Jack
Complete with Ginger Ale
Garnish with a lemon Slice.

Enjoy!

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As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

 
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