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Canadian Club Dock No. 57 (Spiced Whisky)

Review: Canadian Club Dock No. 57 (Spiced Whisky)  83/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published July 06, 2013

Canadian Club has recently expanded their whisky line-up to include a flavoured whisky (Canadian Club Dock No. 57 Blackberry), and a new spiced whisky, (Canadian Club Dock No. 57 Spiced). According Tish Harcus, Canadian Club Brand Ambassador and Curator of the Historical Archives at the Canadian Club Heritage Centre in Walkerville, Ontario,

“C.C.’s new innovations will take the brand to the next level both for consumers new to whisky and more seasoned whisky drinkers who are seeking bolder flavour profiles and some spice. “

The Dock No. 57 branded whiskies are bottled at full strength (40 % alcohol by volume) ensuring that the full flavour of the Canadian Club whisky remains a strong component of the flavour profile. Last Spring, at a tasting event of mine, my friend Dennis brought over a bottle. I decided that this was a good opportunity to receive some feedback from my friends and a few months later, I did some more tasting and sampling and cobbled together this review.

SAM_0642 Dock 57

In the Bottle 4/5

You wouldn’t know that it was Springtime when I snapped a picture of Dennis’s bottle of the Dock No. 57 Spiced on my back deck. However, this is a Canadian Whisky (albeit a spiced one), and it almost looks at home on my ice-covered picnic table. As far as things go, I like what I see. I think the labeling for the Dock No. 57 brand is strong, and I like the departure from the traditional round Canadian Club bottle to this new tall rectangular bottle. It is a pity the bottle is topped with a metallic topper, a nice cork might have garnered a perfect score.

In the Glass 8.5/10

When I poured a little of the spiced whisky into my glass it displayed as a light amber coloured spirit which gave up long skinny legs when I tilted and twirled my glass. The initial nose was intense, full of whisky and rye spice. I am rather impressed by this. Up until now, the Centennial Spiced from Highwood has been the only spiced whisky which I had encountered which obviously used a quality whisky as the base for the spirit. It seems that the folks at Canadian Club did not skimp out in this regard either.

As the glass sits, I notice some nice honey and vanilla accents as well as some a pungent spiciness reminiscent of ginger and nutmeg. Some dry fruit is hinted at (dark cherries mainly) as is some dark pipe tobacco. I like the overall mixture, and I like that it is the whisky aroma which leads the parade of scents into the air.

In the Glass 50/60

The nose hinted at what the palate reveals. The Dock No. 57  takes a slightly more pungent route along the sweet path of spiced whisky. I taste honey and vanilla which are complimented by cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg, with a few hints of black cherry thrown in for good measure. The result is a somewhat sweet, somewhat spicy, flavoured whisky which despite the obvious spices and flavours, (to my palate anyway) still retains its character as a whisky. I am pleasantly pleased by the overall flavour when I sip the Dock No. 57 Spiced neat and with ice.

I am even more encouraged when I add a little ginger ale into the equation. The pungent spiciness seems to take its lead from the ginger ale, and I have a tall bar drink that I can return to with enthusiasm.

In the Throat 12/15

The finish is full of butterscotch, spice and pepper. Cinnamon continues to be hinted at strongly, but ginger more particularly leaves a spicy imprint upon the back of the throat. The palate is left heated, although a welcome butterscotch sweetness tempers what would otherwise be a spicy assault.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

We need more spiced and flavoured whiskies like the Dock No. 57 Spiced. Canadian Club has put the whisky first, and let the spices and the flavouring be the under-card rather than the main-event. This offering is good enough to sip, and it is delicious when mixed.

I say, well done, and my friends who tasted it with me, without exception, agreed!

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

SAM_0664 Spiced Northern JulepSpiced Northern Julep

5 sprigs of Mint
2 oz Canadian Club Dock No. 57 Spiced
1/4 oz Sugar syrup
ice

ginger-ale to fill

Muddle 4 Sprigs of Mint and the Sugar syrup in the bottom of a mixing glass
Add the Spiced Whisky
Stir and fine strain into an Old-Fashioned glass filled with ice
Complete with ginger-ale
Garnish with another Sprig of mint
Enjoy!

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I am sometimes asked what my numbers actually mean. In order to provide clarification, you may (loosely) interpret the scores 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 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)

3 Responses to “Canadian Club Dock No. 57 (Spiced Whisky)”

  1. jfpilon said

    thanx for the update!

  2. jfpilon said

    That is another whisky Tish Harcus and I discussed last fall.

    Unfortunately, it is not yet in Qc. But with both of you agreeing that the spices are not there to hide blemishes but to carry the flavour profile further, i cannot wait to put my paws on a glass. if not a bottle.

    thanx!

    • This one along with the new Spiced Whisky from Highwood (the Centennial) are ahead of the pack by quite bit. This is an evolving category and hopefully as things evolve, this is the style of spiced whisky that survives. Unlike rum, which does not need to be aged, in Canada our whisky is already 3 years old so the blenders already have a spirit with character to begin with. I think adding to that character without drowning it is critical to producing a good spiced or flavoured whisky. Unfortunately the Dock 57 Blackberry follows a different path entirely with flavour rather than the underlying whisky being the focal point.

 
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