Corby Royal Reserve Canadian Rye Whisky
Review: Corby Royal Reserve Canadian Rye Whisky 84/100
a review By Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on June 17, 2010
I was presented with a bottle of Corby Royal Reserve Canadian Rye Whisky about eight weeks ago from the National Brand Ambassador for Corby and Wiser’s. This was part of a larger allotment of samples which was provided when they learned I planned to do a series of reviews of their whiskies on my blog. The bottle is labeled as a Canadian rye spirit and is bottle at 40 % alcohol by volume. Since I knew very little about Corby Distilleries Ltd., I thought I would start with a little history.
Henry Corby began his involvement in the distilling industry in approximately 1841, buying and selling grain at a grist-mill on the banks of the Moira River. By 1859, his distillery operation had become as important as his milling operation and so the distillery was incorporated as a separate company.
In 1881, Henry’s son, Henry (Harry), took over, and through the next ten years the Company began to bottle their own brand of whisky and sold it under the name of Corby. From 1905 to 1935 the company experienced a series of mergers and acquisitions which first resulted in the assets of Corby, and Wiser’s being consolidated and then in 1935, Hiram Walker - Gooderham & Worts Ltd. became the majority shareholder in the H. Corby Distillery Limited, acquiring 51% of the company’s equity.
Throughout the period of the 1960′s to the present, Corby established itself as a leading spirits company, expanding the distribution of its domestic portfolio and increasing its representation of internationally renowned spirits. Acquisitions of leading worldwide brands and trademarks, and an expansion of the portfolio to include rum, gin, Vodka, as well as other spirits has allowed the company to enter the global stage with its portfolio of products. Currently Corby Royal Reserve, Hiram Walker Special Old Rye Whisky, and the Wiser’s family of whiskies are all produced by Corby Distilleries Limited.
Corby Royal Reserve Canadian Rye Whisky presents itself in a the rectangular whisky bottle pictured to the right. The presentation is minimalistic. Based upon the price point for this whisky the presentation is adequate but not inspiring in any way. With such a rich history and tradition to draw from, it is a pity that more was not done to highlight the heritage of the company.
In the Glass 8.5/10
The whisky presents as a pale copper coloured liquid in the glass. A light swirl showed very skinny fast traveling legs on the side of my glencairn. The aroma is one of oak spices mingled with rye, and an underlying butterscotch and vanilla. There is a touch of roughness in the air which some will find offsetting. I actually like a rye whisky to have some kick so I am not put off rather I feel anticipation as I lift the glass.
In the Mouth 50.5/60
I taste a nice old-fashioned rye profile with a light dryness that goes for the tonsils. The rye is crisp on the tongue with the dryness has the ability to slightly pucker the palate. A good dose of caramel arrives with the rye, and the oak spices carry flavours of fresh fruit and citrus peel. Underneath I taste a thin layer of honey and a subtle swath of corn. They appear to provide a little softness which serves to helps to smooth out and bridge the differences between the sweet caramel and the dry rye.
There is a bit of a balance issue as the caramel seems to come on just a little strong. I would prefer the rye to take center stage with the caramel adding support to the rye flavour, rather than appearing on relatively equal terms.
In the Throat 12.5/15
What a nice kick in the throat,. I experience a mild dry burn which stays just long enough to make me remember the sensation for next time. The finale was a burst of rye and fruit at the back of the palate. The only fault was a cloying sweetness which seems to be caramel driven.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
This is a nice sold Canadian Rye Whisky which has a delightful old-fashioned rye flavour. I will admit I have passed over this whisky many times in the past due to preconceptions formed based upon the uninspiring bottle and label. But, I now have a new rye whisky to add to my bar.
You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
Corby Royal Reserve Canadian Rye Whisky is a solid product. It is not one which I would normally consider a ‘sipper’. Rather this is a whisky which will make nice long rye cocktails to drink on my deck on a warm evening after all the work is done. In fact I mixed a few of these rye cocktails recently and thought I would share a couple of my ideas with you.
2 oz Corby Royal Reserve
1 oz Grand Curacao
1 Oz Lime Juice
4 large ice cubes
dry apple cider
Mix the first four ingredients in a blender
Pour into a tall glass
Lengthen the drink with dry apple cider
Garnish with three frozen blackberries
Allow the blackberries to thaw slightly before serving
(This will allow some blackberry juice to seep into the drink)
Another tall drink which I like to make with rye is what I call “The Rye Fizz“. It is a variation of the “Gin Fizz”, with a simple replacement of the gin in the recipe with a nice dry rye. When I did a quick check on the internet cocktail database, I discovered the drink more commonly is called the “Hari Kari“.
The Rye Fizz
1 1/2 oz Corby Royal Reserve
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1 tsp sugar syrup
soda or sparkling water
Shake the first three ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker
Stain into a long glass
Top with soda
Garnish with threads of lemon peel
Please Remember, the aim of my blog is not to encourage you to drink more, it is to encourage you to drink better!!
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)