This luxurious whisky is blended from over 50 different whiskies, and is then finished in cognac casks from the limousin forest – which is french oak – a style which brings out more spiciness, dried fruit, and tannin than american oak. On top of this, you have the fruity-spicy character of the cognac which has flavoured the wood in which the whisky is placed before bottling, “finished”, enabling this flavour to seep into this whisky. At present, this is the 2nd most expensive Canadian whisky you can buy in Ontario ($100), and I’ve heard this is the last year they’ll be producing it.They have brought out another cognac finshed whisky, Crown Royal XO, and though it is similar in that it is blended from many whiskies and finished in cognac casks, the whisky has a different flavour profile.
The name “Cask no. 16” comes from the label stamped on the cognac barrels, indicating where the barrels came from. The whisky was discontinued in 2012, although Canada still got a good number for 2013 – there are still some on the shelves in Ontario but they will be gone before too long.
Nose: There’s some lovely deep vanilla, and strong cognac notes which become less prominent as it sits. It’s light, and rich with a subtle spiciness. There are lots of fruitcake aromas, with prominent currants and raisins. There’s a very slight meaty aroma on the nose with a touch of bitterness which detracts from the nose for me. There’s a touch of toasted oak in the background, black pepper, and the menthol-like note you get from crushing (fresh) green cardamom seeds. There’s also some interesting notes of thyme too. 25.5/30 (85%)
Taste: This has a beautiful rich and deep vanilla sweetness carrying the whisky through the palate, with a bit of a rum-like kick. It’s light, and subtly peppery and spicy. There’s some green grape and slight bit of caramel, a good kick of thompson raisins, star anise, brown sugar, and some cloves. There’s even a bit of light banana and smokiness. Those raisins do certainly come out, and come through in an older tawny-port style with some caramel and wood. Light, and yet rich, as Crown Royal does so well. 26.5/30 (88%)
Finish: Fruity, with some raisins, cinnamon, cardamom and clove. It’s not that big- but it’s very pleasant. The mouth dries out quite a bit afterward and some oak emerges – but it dries out too much for my liking. 17.5/20 (88%)
Conclusion: Elegant, and very enjoyable, with some complexity but it doesn’t speak as loudly the elements I want to see. I would be very interested to see what this whisky would taste like at 46% – it would change it quite a bit, but I think it would be more fascinating with just a bit more concentration of flavour. However, the flavours are enjoyable, rich, and wonderfully unique – overall it’s an excellent product. 18/20 (90%)
Overall Score: 87.5/100