It is an odd experience for a Canadian to travel to the United States and find Canadian Whisky in liquor stores which cannot be purchased in Canada. It’s not solely a Canadian experience, as there are some export and duty free bottlings not available elsewhere (like Four Roses, which produces 2 offerings only available in Japan). However, there are quite a few labels I could not find in Canada. I picked up a bottle of Rich & Rare Reserve to taste (at a cheap clip! I don’t think you’d find this in Ontario for 13$…), thinking it was Royal Reserve Gold, which, I’ve been told, is a fabulous whisky. Sadly, not the first time I have done that – sometimes my memory serves me wrong and I pick up the wrong bottle! Last year I also picked up Wiser’s Special Blend to find that it was most certainly not Wiser’s Small Batch! However, it does allow me to review a bottle which I otherwise would not.
Rich & Rare Reserve is distilled and aged in Canada, and then shipped to the States for bottling. It’s another Canadian whisky owned by Sazerac.
Nose: The rye off the nose in this whisky certainly takes the fruity road, particularly with berry notes – raspberries in particular. There is also maple, a bit of sappy oak, and butterscotch. It lacks a bit of depth which I was looking and hoping for. There’s also a sour rye-corn aroma which I don’t love, but I didn’t notice it the first time I nosed the glass. It seemed quite a different nosing experience the second time – this time the spice of the rye dominated over the fruit, which I found interesting. 23.5/30 (78%)
Taste: soft, mellow, and watery corn to start before the rye kicks in and takes command. There are stronger notes of caramel at the end of the taste, and more sweetness alongside the ginger and white pepper which gradually dries out over the palate. A clean, unobtrusive, and mellow whisky which would likely be a good rye for beginners, or those not used to whisky. There is not much I can find in the palate which I don’t particularly like, but it does lack depth and intrigue 22.5/30 (77%)
Conclusion: A pleasant whisky which doesn’t ascend to greatness but is certainly enjoyable to sip. Will work excellently as a mixer, for sure. 15/20 (75%)