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Canadian Club Sherry Cask

Whisky Review: Canadian Club Sherry Cask   85.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted February 6, 2011

A whisky sample for this review was  provided to me from the personal collection of J. L. Wheelock, who is part of the Beam Global team here in Alberta. The sample was smaller than my normal 200 ml minimum sample size, and I augmented this sample by opening my own bottle of Canadian Club Sherry Cask Whisky such that I could complete my normal tasting regimen of five independent tasting sessions.

Introduction

The Canadian Club Sherry Cask Canadian Whisky is new twist on Canadian Club Whisky.  The base of this whisky is an eight year Old Canadian Club whisky made from the familiar “blended at birth”  recipe of corn, rye, rye malt and barley spirits. The spirits from these grains are blended before entering the white oak barrel, and then set down for six to eight years to age.  Then the resultant whisky is double matured in Sherry Casks from Jerez Spain.

The second maturation allows the whisky to acquire some of the characteristics of the sherry (similar to sherry cask matured scotches), but this second maturation is of a much shorter time period which ensures that the core spirit remains the centerpiece of the whisky. When the Canadian Club Sherry Cask is bottled, it is done so at 41.3% alcohol by volume, just a hair over the regular 40 % strength of the rest of their line-up.  That added little boost of alcohol is just one of the unique characteristics of this C.C. Whisky.

In The Bottle 4/5

The Canadian Club Sherry Cask is presented in a clear bottle pictured to the left. Although the flagon style of the bottle is typical for Canadian Club, the labeling is quite different. Based upon this new style of label, I’m guessing that the producers of Canadian Club want it clear right from the opening presentation that this whisky is going to be a little different. Another new touch is the inclusion of the batch number printed under the main label near the bottom of the bottle. The bottle I am reviewing is from Batch No. SC-018. As well, this bottle is the first of the C.C. range (assuming we start at the six-year-old Premium and move up from there) to be sealed with a cork, rather than with a plastic screw cap. I like the added touches, and I will admit I was persuaded to buy the bottle based upon its uniqueness as compared with other Canadian Club offerings.

In the Glass 9/10

In the glass, the Canadian Club Sherry Cask displays itself as a rich amber coloured whisky with bright copper tones flashing when it is held up to the light.  Initially, I receive wiffs of a nice sweet cherry aroma from the glass as I nose it. Hints of orange marmalade, and lemony zests fade in and out. I seem to receive additional (different) citrus notes each time I sample the whisky, and my feeling is that the temperature plays a key role in the actual scents of aroma I am receiving. The warmer the glass, the more delicate citrus notes I receive. A certain smokiness is evident as well which seems to carry aroma of drier fruits like raisins and dates into the breezes. When the glass is allowed to fully decant, rich baking spices appear as well.

In the Mouth 52/60

The whisky is soft in the mouth and somewhat sweet; but it carries sharper notes of grains and orange peel with the soft sweetness. Caramel, as well as impressions of cherries and ripe plums seem to lie just under this sharpness. Just as the nose was fickle, I seem to receive different taste impressions each time I sample the C.C. Sherry Cask. At times it is smoky with a bevy of dried fruits, and at other times the whisky is almost rye-like in its fruity spiciness. Lurking in the bottom of the whisky I taste damp tobacco and a smidgen of tar.

My sense is that this whisky is full of complexity, but I also feel that the balance is not quite on par with the complexity which is leading to the chameleon-like impressions I am receiving each tasting session. I enjoyed each sampling session immensely, but I was seeking a resolution to my taste impressions that was never realized.

In the Throat 12/15

The Canadian Club Sherry Cask proved just as difficult to quantify in the finish. Once again, my impressions on the finish changed with each tasting session. One day the whisky will settle into a delicious chocolate and tobacco fade, and the next day I experience a baking spice and caramel landing. The only consistent aspect of the finish was that each time I felt that the sharpness of the finish was a little more penetrating than I liked. A sharpness similar to citrus peel that burned just a little down the throat.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

I do not think I have experienced a whisky that had such a changeable character as this one. In some ways this was pleasant as the ritual of discovery stays fresh and exciting; but, this changeable character might cause me to choose another whisky from my cabinet to enjoy on certain days. I like to know what to expect, and to choose a spirit based upon my mood; but, this whisky is never what I expect.

In the end I have decided that I like this whisky a lot, but I must choose to enjoy it only when I can approach it with an open mind and an open heart.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.

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Suggested Recipe

Canadian Club Swizzle
a cocktail by Arctic Wolf

1  oz Canadian Club Sherry Cask
1/2 oz Canadian Club Premium
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz cranberry juice
1 teaspoon Agave Syrup
Chunks of Ice
Ginger Ale

Shake the first six ingredients over ice
Strain into a tumbler half full of ice chunks
Stir until the glass frosts
Finish with Ginger Ale

Garnish with a slice of Lime

Please enjoy the C.C. Whisky and the suggested cocktail responsibly!

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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)

6 Responses to “Canadian Club Sherry Cask”

  1. CC Sherry Cask is one of THE tastiest whiskies I’ve ever tasted. I only get it every so often, but it is definitely one of my FAVES from the CC line. Definitely give it a try. One of the less-expensive scotches, the “Macnish” brand has one as well, that I want to try……I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this whisky!!! It’s a good one for folks who normally don’t like whiskies…..

  2. Edmonton boy said

    im trying this whiskey for the first time tonight, and the major taste on my palette is fruity tea, but reading your review, im really excited for the next few tastings, i am a big fan of variety in my drinks, and also that little burn :)

  3. lukasz said

    I will third that observation. The CC sherry cask never quiet tastes the same twice, but it is a great whisky none the less.

  4. Mike said

    I was mightily impressed by this whisky. I really could not find any flaw, aside from a bit of a thin body. I would certainly buy it again.

  5. Z M said

    couldn’t agree here more.

    I bought a bottle of this, the first few drams I tried I was really impressed.. it tasted great.

    then the next few I was disappointed… felt too sweet or imbalanced.

    Finally I got to the last 3rd of the bottle and just decided to mix it with coke because i didn’t want to drink it straight or on the rock anymore.

    It mixed well with cola, but I’d rather use the less expensive CC premium to do that.

    I haven’t quite had a bottle treat me like that before. Strange experience.

    • Hi Z M

      I am finding that the exotic wood finished whiskies can be like this. As I indicated in the review, I think that temperature plays a large role in the flavour sensation, and probably palate condition does too. I am glad your shared your experience which makes me feel better about mine. (It is always nice to have a little validation.)

 
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