Canadian Club Reserve, which comes pretty well in a Jim Beam Black Whisky bottle (Canadian Club is owned by Beam, which is now owned by Suntory), used to be a 10 year old offering, but is now a year younger, following the trend of many distillers nowadays – offering up younger stock to keep up with demand, or else utilizing barrels which are younger but still fit the flavour profile. Many times, it may not matter at all – age is not as good an indicator of taste and quality as many believe.
This whisky has a higher rye content than the other whiskies in Canadian Club’s portfolio, and certainly offers up a big and bold profile. It is described as “triple aged”, as it is aged three times longer than the legal requirement in Canada of three years.
Nose: The sharpness of the rye does come through! Quite dark, with some notes of cinnamon and a slightly musty earthiness, orange peel, and some toffee and brown sugar. There’s a slight bitterness which manifests itself beside some chalkiness – it’s not as bad as it sounds, but not great. And there is a bit of licorice root, on different levels – in the licorice flavour, sweetness of the root, and earthiness of the bark. And, after time, I find I distinctly smell those maple cookies you can get here in Ontario. And, there’s a slight bit of that meaty aroma also seen in Canadian Club Premium. 23.5/30 (78%)
Taste: Rye, toffee, and vanilla…with a close of some more rye. It’s quite juicy and showcases some plum, dates, thompson raisins, a slight nuttiness, and a touch of lemon. The dates are quite prominent and unique – I quite like it. There are also some prominent diluted molasses notes too – much like that of many aged rums. Quite good! I keep liking it more and more as I sip it! The dates are so prominent and fabulous. 26/30 (87%)
Finish: A bit of sweetness and vanilla, dates, rye , maple and some light berry notes as well. There’s just a touch of bitterness in the finish, but it’s quite slight. I find some cornmeal emerges over time as well. 16.5/15 (83%)
Conclusion: I like the rye-forward nature of this whisky, and the accompanying fruit. A pretty good winter whisky, I would think. Also, the taste profile begs to be a mixer, and I think it would perform quite well in that category. For sipping…if only the nose were a bit better! It has been a pleasant surprise for me to discover this one. 16.5/20 (83%)