In early October, Whisky Advocate ran a story by Canadian Whisky expert Davin De Kergommeaux about a new 100% Rye being released by Canadian Club. In the story, Davin mentioned that like many of the 100% Rye Canadian whiskies this was a product of Alberta Distillers. Well, that perked my curiosity. I’ve discovered that I like this particular style of whisky. But then I noticed that it wasn’t being released in the US.
So I did what any self respecting man would do. I went online and whined about it. Of course, I expected that next summer when I travel to Canada I would try to bring some home. But still, you always want what you can’t have. And then I was reminded of something. My Canadian friends are amazing people.
See, some time passed. I went to work and back. I bought some Christmas gifts and had them delivered. But one day when I got home from work, I noticed a box on my front step when I didn’t remember ordering anything. Upon opening it, I saw it was an amazing Christmas gift from my friend Rick. Inside were two bottles of Canadian whisky only available in Canada and the little mini I reviewed last week.
One of those whiskies was Canadian Club 100% Rye. Though there isn’t an age statement on the bottle, Davin says it is aged for 7 years. That got me to thinking, this comes from Alberta Distillers. I still have a little of that 1910 rumored to come from there at 12 years old. And after doing a little digging in my samples I found a sample of the Alberta Premium 30 year old. I had to test these next to one another.
This was not a fair test.
In my opinion, it just got better as it got older. The 1910 12 year was better than the Canadian Club, the 30 year was better than the 12. Ok so intuition was correct, but how does it do when it isn’t being unfairly tested. I mean, this is a $25 whisky. It would be extremely unusual if it could hang with $40 and $50 versions.
Canadian Club Chairman’s Select 100% Rye
Purchase Info: A very generous Christmas gift from my friend Rick. Available at LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) for ~$25 Canadian
Details: 40% ABV. Distilled and aged at Alberta Distillers.
Nose: Initial caramel that fades to reveal pine, brown sugar, ethanol, and green cardamom pods
Mouth: Thin. White sugar, spearmint, oak, cinnamon, clove and then caramel as it moves to the back of the mouth.
Finish: Medium length. Warm with lingering spearmint, cinnamon and clove.
Thoughts: This is your classic good, but not great situation. It’s delicate, I get a bit more minty ethanol than I’d like. But the sweetness and spice are decent enough. I feel like there are better options both in the Canadian Whisky and in the Rye realms.
That said, it was fun to taste something that I can’t buy in the US and to share that with friends. Sadly if it was available, I probably wouldn’t find myself buying it very often. There is nothing wrong with this whisky. I mean, I wouldn’t turn down a pour. There just isn’t much that’s drawing me in. It’s good. Not great.
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