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)