According to Davin De Kergommeaux’s book Canadian Whisky, in 1914 Thomas Seagram (the son of Joseph Seagram, one of the big pioneers of Canadian Whisky) asked the distiller in the now defunct Waterloo Distillery to provide him with a good barrel of whisky to celebrate his marriage, and it was liked so much that it was decided to be brought to market – and this became Seagram’s VO. The meaning of VO, apparently, is still unclear. It was a key illicit whisky for thirsty Americans during prohibition, and continues in production today, though a few flavour nuances have changed.
The crest of Seagram’s shows horses, which is fitting because Joseph Seagram loved horses and had award winning stables alongside his whisky interests.
Nose: Light, with some rye spice and light oak drifting in and out of the background. It’s a bit sour, with some light fruitiness. A bit bitter. I find as the nose opens it improves, with some custard, bourbon aromas, and vanilla. I find this one noses a bit better in a wide glass. 24/30 (80%)
Taste: Nice viscosity, with some light, rye-tinged vanilla, and some slight bitterness. There’s some light, sweet white grape-like fruitiness along with some bourbon notes fit in very nicely in the background. Quite easy to sip – it’s light and pleasant, though the bits here and there of bitterness detract from the experience. There’s even a light touch of acidity which is nicely balanced with the rest. 25.5/30 (85%)
Finish: Some pretty good weight and substance to the finish. At first, it feels quite “clean” as the whole taste brightens up and gets lighter and some more sweetness emerges, along with some white grape and light fresh banana flavours and generic fruitiness. Eventually, we are left with some dusty rye, light spices, and light fruitiness, and, from time to time, nutty and almond-like notes. 17.5/20 (88%)
Conclusion: The nose under-performs on this one, but I find it quite easy to sip on the palate. It’s a bit light – but is fairly well balanced, though too much bitterness emerges here and there. However, I have to say the light, yet spicy, character is quite enjoyable and on the palate and finish this one is quite enjoyable – and it would certainly mix quite well. 16/20 (80%)