Canadian Club Reserve (9 Year Old)
Review: Canadian Club Reserve (9 Year Old) 85.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted January 22, 2014
Canadian Club Whisky is the oldest (and arguably also the most influential) Canadian Whisky brand in the world. It is sold in over 150 countries world-wide, and sales in Canada are unmatched by any other whisky brand. The company has been granted numerous Royal Warrants from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II, and it has been reported that Canadian Club was the whisky of choice when Al Capone smuggled thousands of cases of Canadian Whisky into the USA during prohibition.
Recently there have been some changes in the Canadian Club family. One of the brands which has undergone a revamping is the Canadian Club Reserve which used to be a 10-year-old blend, but which was recently revamped and now carries a 9 year age statement. The newer version of the whisky has a new square bottle (shown below) and the two words, “Triple Aged” have been added to the label. My understanding is the whisky has been constructed to match as closely as possible the original flavour profile of the 10-year-old whisky. Although whisky as young as 9-years-old are now being used in the blend, there is also much older whisky in the blend as well.
The Alberta Beam Global team recently gave me a sample bottle to examine recently, and I have decided to share the resulting review.
In the Bottle 4/5
The Canadian Club Reserve is perhaps the most rye-forward whisky of the Canadian Club line-up (the original Canadian Club Premium is very rye forward as well). Perhaps this is why Beam Global decided to place the newer version of the Canadian Club Reserve Whisky in a square bottle which matches the look and shape of one of their Western Canadian Rye whiskies, Alberta Springs.
I like the new label on the Canadian Club Reserve (9 Year Old) bottle. The older version of the whisky (the 10 Year Old Reserve) had a blue coloured label which was not reflected elsewhere in the Canadian Club line-up. The new label is part of an overall brand redesign which is bringing about a more consistent look to the overall look of the Canadian Club Whisky family. The words “triple aged” found at the bottom of the label (just above the age statement) refers to the fact that this whisky has been aged for a minimum time period which is exactly three times the minimum aging requirement for Canadian Whisky (9 Years = 3x 3 Years).
My only disappointment with the new look is with the pressed on metallic screw-cap. Personally I despise these metallic caps. They are prone to warping and stripping and never seem to seal the bottle as well as a plastic cap or cork stopper.
In the Glass 9/10
The whisky displays itself in the glass as a rich mahogany coloured spirit with both orange and gold hues obvious to the eye when it is held up to the light. The initial nose is rich with butterscotch, oak, cedar, and a growing impression of maple. As the glass breathes some dank corn notes rise into the breezes along with some spicy tobacco, oak vanillans, sticky orange marmalade, and a dusting of rye spice. If you wait long enough, some nice chocolate notes and dabs of bourbon-like honeycomb begin to reveal themselves as well.
The overpowering mustiness which held sway over this whisky when I reviewed it previously (see review here) is completely absent. I have always wondered about that overt mustiness which I found in the older bottling, and I am happy that it is gone!
In the Mouth 51/60
The whisky brings along a bit of a bite as it crosses the palate with hard rye spices chasing flavours of butterscotch and maple. There is an obvious corn flavour underpinning the whisky, and if I allow myself to close my eyes, I can imagine I see waving cornfields with tall oak and cedar trees standing further away in the background. Vanillans, baking spices, and hints of milk chocolate round out the flavour profile of a whisky which appeals to me. Perhaps there is a touch too much overt spiciness heating the palate, but a well placed ice-cube makes sipping this whisky a treat.
In the Throat 13/15
The chocolate really finds its way in the exit as milk chocolate covered wood spices are the main feature of the finish. Creamy butterscotch and maple continue to be chased by hard rye spices down the throat, and again I sense perhaps a touch too much spicy astringency; then again, I think I could easily get used to this.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
I am very enthusiastic about the new 9-year-old Canadian Club Reserve Whisky. The whisky appears to be as good as, if not better than, the older 10-year-old version. I found the flavours, especially the chocolate covered finish was very much to my liking, and even that harder rye presence I tasted seemed to fit in rather nicely with the evolving maple and butterscotch sweetness.
You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
Canadian Club Reserve Whisky will make nice long rye cocktails to drink on the deck on warm evenings after all the work is done. Here is a nice tall recipe:
1 1/2 oz Canadian Club Reserve Whisky
3/4 oz Triple Sec
3/4 oz Lime Juice
4 large ice cubes
dry apple cider
Mix the first three ingredients in a tall Collins glass with ice
Lengthen the drink with dry apple cider
Note: If you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!
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)