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Schenley OFC Whisky

Review: Schenley OFC Canadian Whisky   (91/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Posted on December 3, 2009

Schenley OFC is currently produced at the Lethbridge, Alberta Distillery by Schenley Distilleries (and possibly some is produced at the Valleyfield, Quebec Distillery as well). The Lethbridge Distillery is also referred to as the Black Velvet Distillery, as this is where Black Velvet Canadian Whisky is produced, and, as well, it is referred to as the Palliser Distillery, as it is also where brands such as Danfield’s Canadian Whisky (a Palliser Brand) is produced. To add to this confusing mix of brand owners which produce their spirits at this facility, the back of my last Smirnoff Vodka bottle (owned by Diageo) also indicated that this vodka was distilled at the Lethbridge Distillery. The distillery itself, seems to be owned by Buffalo Trace, who in turn are owned by Sazerac(or perhaps it is the other way around).

My research and digging around with respect to the Schenley OFC seems to indicate that Barton Brands currently own the Brand, although in this confusing maze of product brands and brand owners I certainly would not stake my life on it.

Alas, the Schenley OFC brand seems to have disappeared from the shelves of many liquor stores stateside, and I suspect that this related to industry consolidation where for reasons beyond my understanding, solid money earning brands are dumped in favour of the economy of scales in marketing which are achieved by promoting fewer brands names across a portfolio. What I do know, is that thankfully, the Schenley OFC is still found on the shelves of many liquor stores here in Alberta. It is a whisky which I hold in high esteem, and one which I felt I ought to visit here on my website.

In the Bottle  4/5

Schenley OFC arrives in the typical flagon style Canadian Whisky bottle. The labeling is very professional on beige paper with black gold and red lettering. But I will confess my disappointment with the pressed metal cap. These flimsy caps always cause problems with evaporation of spirit, and the cardboard liner under the cap seems to break down over time and impart a bit of cardboard and glue flavour to the spirit.

In the Glass   9/10

The OFC is a rich amber/brown whisky with nice orange and red highlights in the glass. The aroma is typically Canadian with a rye like nose coupled with a touch of bourbon. The bourbon note is very soft and gives way to caramel and vanilla. The initial alcohol rising into the air with these notes smells aggressive and demanding, but given a minute or two these demanding note settle down and the whisky reveals itself as a more accommodating spirit.

In my Mouth  55/60

I would call this zesty as the OFC has a real bite in the mouth. A light butter coats the tongue with hot rye spice and light corn syrup. I should note that this is not a true rye whisky, but rather a corn whisky, and although I can taste the rye spices, the taste of sweet corn and vanilla is predominant. I must also remark on the versatility of the whisky. While it is fine as a sipper, the zesty rye notes make this a stellar mixer which always satisfies my guests.

In my Throat  14/15

The buttery texture of the whiskey gives a longer finish than one might expect. The entry in the mouth is of a dry rye; but the exit is of a honeyed bourbon with trails of buttery caramel.

The Afterburn  9/10

This is a very satisfying Canadian whisky. We have that light bourbon influence which has become all the rage in whisky today, but the makers did not forget that this is a Canadian whisky first. That nice rye flavour works well in combination with the vanilla and honey bourbon aftertaste.

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

_________________________________________________________________________________________

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)

27 Responses to “Schenley OFC Whisky”

  1. Jean Claude de Montfort said

    I agree with the rating scale. Very curious about a bottle of Order of Merit, unopened and sealed, dated 1980. Nobody seems to know anything about it. My Brother just passed away, this bottle in a red pouch and blue box, l gave to him in 1982.

  2. AlbertE said

    Hi Chip,
    I have been following your reviews for a couple of years and, thanks to you, I started to appreciate the rums and the Canadian whiskeys. I have been living in Canada(Toronto) for many years, but neglected Canadian whiskey. Only after I have started to read your reviews I decided to make special attention to the Canadian whiskey and found a real treasure. You have been doing a great job! You also caused a revolution in my mind, turned my attention to rums and gins, and became one of my main sources of the opinions on various rums and gins. Before then I did not have any reliable source of ratings on rums and gins, while when it comes to the Canadian whiskey, I always compare your ratings with the Whiskey Bible and make my decisions based the notes that you and Jim Murray provide. It does not mean that my opinion is always the same as yours, but now I learnt how to translate your notes into the terms that work for me and I can tell, more or less, will I like the rum, gin or whiskey based on your notes or not. So your reviews are of a tremendous help for me to decide what to try next.
    Most of your preferences apply for me too, but a few do not, as for example MGXO, Barcelo Imperial and CR Special Reserve I appreciate very much.
    Based on your and Jim Murray’s reviews I tried the Schenley O.F.C. and found it pretty palatable and nice experience, so I decided to try the Schenley Golden Wedding, that gets even better scores for Jim Murray and I found it better, more flavorful and more complex, for the same price. My question is, why do not you review the Golden Wedding, or have you tried it but did not like?
    Thank you!
    Albert

    • Thank you for the wonderful comments. They really are appreciated.

      To answer your question to me about Schenley Golden Wedding, the simple truth is that I have never tried this whisky. (I know that sounds odd, but it is the truth.) When I began to review rum and whisky, I was not prepared for how well I would be received, not just by people who read my writings, but also by industry. Samples began to arrive almost as soon as I began to publish, (and they have never stopped arriving). I decided early on, that companies which went through the hoops to get me product to review (trust me that in Canada this is not easy) should have their spirits reviewed as expediently as possible. This decision causes me to have a few gaps in my review blog, and Schenley Golden Wedding is one of those gaps.

  3. Jason Carke said

    Love the “Original Fine Canadian” whisky! Nice to read that so many original fine Americans love it too. The review is spot on but I would like to add that The OFC is not as smooth as some, such as Gibson’s Finest Whisky but this is a good thing. It reminds one that they are drinking a classic Canadian whisky. Cheers to all.

  4. gerald r. rogers said

    i have a bottle also from 1985, and i also would
    like to know its worth

    • Hi Gerald

      I have no idea of the values of older Spirits. I do not research this topic or really have any interests in that direction. I suggest you go to Whisky.com and pose your question there as they seem to have many of these kinds of inquiries.

  5. Robert said

    Our OFC Club here in the South is finally out of our beloved spirits. When we heard of the impending doom of the decision not to import our beloved amber nectar, we were On the Floor Crying. We put our heads together and decided that if OFC was Only For Christians that maybe we would have a chance of importing some. We refuse to believe that it is Only for Canadians.

    Please help us fgure out how to get a quantity sufficient Only For Club members shipped to our local distributor here in South Carolina.

    You are our Only Freakin Chance.

    OFC of SC members.

    Robert Gallant
    Oscar Mitchel
    Frank Gilreath
    Charlie Boulware

    • The Bad news is that I have absolutely no pull with Schenley and therefore cannot be of any assistance. The Good news is that the Whisky seems to be back in production, at the Palliser Distillery in Lethbridge Alberta. I suspect that the movement of the brand from Valleyview Quebec, to Lethbridge is the cause of the recent short supply. Keep bugging all of the liquor stores in your area and hopefully it will re-appear.

  6. JOHN said

    i have a poster which is called “a stag party” and it has to men sitting on a log toasting one another each with a rifle in their lap…they are dringking o.f.c. rye…in the background is a big stag standing…the poster is framed and it measures 28″ by 12″…i think is is very old…any one know anything about it…thanks

  7. jonathan said

    wondering if cyndie found any worth to her bottle from 1959. I have a bottle from 1985 and I’m curious of it’s worth

  8. jonathan said

    I just got a bottle of ofc never heard of it before or anything. Fiance’s grandfather had an un opened bottle in his house when he passed. now the bottle is in my hands. found this site while I was trying to find out more of it. the bottle says 1985 on it. not super old or anything. was wondering if cyndie found any value in her bottle. not saying I want to get rid of it. just curious better to know it’s worth I think then to drink it without knowing. I’m a whiskey drinker and can’t wait to try it. it is the 8 year aged bottle.

  9. Joe Spin said

    Have been an OFC imbiber since 1969 when my uncle brought a bottle to me as a house-warming gift. He said that it was :OFC,,,”Only for Catholics”. I have not found a suiltable replacement for it (not “CC”; nor “VO”). Any one out there help me find an OFC-type alternative?

    • My understanding is that OFC is back in production at the Black Velvet Distillery in Lethbridge Alberta. Perhaps we will see full distribution in North America Again.

  10. Becky Graham said

    Hi I would just like to let you know how much I’ve enjoyed O F C. I’M sadden that you do not make it anymore. I was introduce to O F C by my uncle his has past on. We really had so good time together and with the O F C. I was just wondering if there is anyway possible get to anymore. I’ve tried other canadian whiskeys but there just not the same.

    • Jim said

      I to enjoyed OFC for a good many years. I understand that it is no longer sold in the U.S. But it is available in Canada.
      I friend of mine last week bought a bottle of OFC in N.Carolina. I believe it is from remaining stock. If you were to visit some of the older stores maybe they still have a bottle or two. Good Luck in your search.

  11. Lon L. Rabjohns said

    I have bought OFC for so long that I remember the labels had a serial number them. But for some time I have not found any in the USA. I hope OFC returns!

  12. Linda said

    I just opened a bottle of OFC 1963 Do you think it is still good?

  13. Cyndie said

    I have an unopened bottle of Imported OFC by Schenley Canadian Whiskey. It has a 1959 red seal over the top and a certificate on back with #D 42669. Does this bottle have any worth. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks

    • Hi Cyndie

      I have no information to share on the value of any bottle of whisky. But at Whisky.com they answer these kinds of questions all the time. Take some pictures of your bottle and try that website as i am sure they can help.

  14. Jim said

    Is there anywhere in the United States that OFC is available? People are saying that OFC is not being sold anymore in the United States. Is there another whiskey that is being substituted in the Schenely brand for the OFC?

    • I have heard rumors that Diageo which owns Seagrams has no plans to continue the brand in the US market. Whether this is temporary or not is unknown to me. Maybe check with Whisky.com for further enlightenment.

  15. Kim said

    I live in Georgia and have been told that this whiskey is no longer being made – however this appears to be a new review. Maybe it is just not being shipped into the US. Do you have any information in regard to it’s availability?
    Thanks!

    • The whisky is widely available in Canada, but as stated in the preamble, it is no longer is sold as an eight year old. I have no information on its availability south of the border.

  16. lukasz said

    I have to agree 100% with the review.OFC is one of the finer canadian whiskeys and is an absolute joy to drink mixed.

 
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