Canadian Club 100 proof 6 years old

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Canadian Club 100 proof 6 years old

Unread postby PaulO » Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:22 pm

The other day I went to a little out of the way liquor store that sometimes has some whiskies no one else has. I saw they had Canadian Club 100 proof 6 year old blended whisky for $13 a fifth. Has anyone tried it? Is six year old blended whisky a blend of six year old whiskys? I haven't had any CC for years. I promise to report back unless you guys talk me out of it. I have been liking some of the straight ryes lately, so I wonder how similar this is.
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Re: Canadian Club 100 proof 6 years old

Unread postby gillmang » Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:15 pm

Well, this would be regular Canadian Club but at an impressive 100 proof (50% alcohol instead of the usual 40%). The fact of the higher alcohol level should ensure a tastier and more "natural" product (i.e., at that proof it is closer to the proof of the barrels it is blended from than 40% ABV is).

This is available only in export - non-Canadian - markets (that I have seen).

Canadian whisky is milder than U.S. rye in that it is a blend of some "true" rye and a much larger amount of fairly neutral-tasting albeit aged whiskies. 6 years is the minimum so CC (any proof) probably has some older whisky in it to balance it and get to the desired "profile".

I'd say go for it.

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Re: Canadian Club 100 proof 6 years old

Unread postby gillmang » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:16 pm

That is a good question, Jeff. In Canada, I am not aware of any maximum entering proof. So, let's say the straight whiskey element is distilled out at 140 (this is the neighborhood as I understand it). It can be entered at that proof should the distiller choose. The near-GNS element comes off at over 190 proof, so it will probably be entered at ... I don't know, really. Maybe the two are entered at the same proof, maybe not. But here is the thing: I've always assumed that when the whiskies are mingled for a bottling they are (in this case) let down both to 100 proof. But maybe they are mingled at different proofs, in which case only the final mixture need be brought down to 100 proof. I just don't know the answer, but I have to assume a higher proof CC has more character than a 80 proofer.

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Re: Canadian Club 100 proof 6 years old

Unread postby gillmang » Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:55 pm

Wiser's Small Batch is a new product that must use a high proportion of flavouring (straight-type) distillate. It has a full, piney/caramel flavour. I also like Barrel Select from Forty Creek, a small distiller in Ontario. I am not sure exactly how its whisky is distilled but a full, rich flavour results.

Wiser`s Very Old (18 years old), a more traditional product - the others mentioned are newer, relatively - is excellent too.

Also, Crown Royal Special Reserve is very good with a bourbon-like edge, soft and complex.

Nothing in Canada tastes like WT rye, since we don`t seek a charred barrel character (overall) in our whiskies. GNS is not really the right word because all Canadian whisky must be aged at least 3 years and often that is just a starting point. CC 20 is very good by the way, too.

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Re: Canadian Club 100 proof 6 years old

Unread postby gillmang » Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:38 am

Well, at one time, this was the case, and it seems an all-straight product was sold into the 1950's by some companies (Seagram had a line called Pedigree which seems to have been essentially bourbon and straight rye here). But for a long time the Canadian style has been defined by blending. You can experiment by adding bourbon or rye to a Canadian whisky to adjust the balance better.

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Re: Canadian Club 100 proof 6 years old

Unread postby PaulO » Fri Jan 30, 2009 4:45 pm

Thanks for all the information guys. I will probably pick it up this week-end. One thing I have wondered about: no one nowadays sells anything but blended Canadian whisky? That is, all I have ever seen in stores has been blends.
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Re: Canadian Club 100 proof 6 years old

Unread postby gillmang » Fri Jan 30, 2009 5:06 pm

There isn't any Canadian whisky made today, except for a Scots-style malt whisky in Nova Scotia and perhaps any products starting to come from very small artisan makers, that are straight whiskies in the sense (some) American whiskey is straight, i.e., aged a minimum of 2 years in new charred containers and distilled at under 160 proof. Canadian whisky has a different tradition to American whisky. For over 100 years, Canadian whisky is - not by law but by practice - blended which means combining whisky distilled at low proof with a high-proof-distilled neutral-type (albeit aged) base. For a time there was Seagram Pedigree bourbon and rye sold in Canada, in the 40's and early 50's, but that is long gone (and may have been aimed at a bourbon and straight rye market, I am not sure). There were possibly other products, some maybe sold under the name old rye, which were akin to some U.S. straight whiskeys, but these too are long gone.

Lot 40 from Corby was, however, apparently an all-pot still product released some 10-12 years ago and it can still be found here and there in the U.S. It had a strong piny taste and was apparently a flavouring whisky (and still may be) for the Corby Whisky line in Canada. It tasted somewhat like some of the Old Potrero rye whiskies in my opinion. This is not currently available in Canada but it has reappeared here every so often over the last 12 years. I think it would be better with a few years more aging on it and I am not sure if it was aged in new charred wood.

Forty Creek, made in Grimsby, Ontario, off-shoot of a relatively small winery, has a range of whisky products. They are the result of blending whiskies made from rye, corn and barley malt. Some of the components appear to be flavouring whiskies or that type and possibly even are straight whiskeys as the term is understood in the U.S. Certainly the result is flavorful, much more so I find than the Canadian whisky made by the large companies. I advise to try their Barrel Select: fairly widely available in the U.S., not expensive, and good. The new Wiser`s Small Batch is from a large company but has a lot of taste and good texture. It too is somewhat similar to a U.S. straight. And I like Wiser`s Very Old (18 years old) and CR Special Reserve as mentioned earlier too.

So this is the background and I`d suggest looking for the excellent Canadian whiskies I have mentioned because they define the best of it. The straights are a U.S. specialty.

That said, once experience is gained with the Canadian palate, consider adding rye or bourbon to any bottle of Canadian whisky you get to seek a richer palate than any of the producers currently offer. Since 10%-20% or so (more in some cases) of Canadian whisky is composed of a straight-type whisky (sometimes the producers use bourbon or rye made in the U.S. for this purpose), adding more makes complete sense, you are simply improving the quality (if the blending works well of course). A luxury Canadian whisky in the 1950`s-60`s, whose name escapes me, was advertised on the back label as being a combination of bourbon and Canadian whisky. Makes perfect sense, and still does. It`s a continuum you see, you would not be doing anything weird or novel. But like anything else it would have to be approached right. E.g., to add a young bourbon to, say, Wiser`s Very Old wouldn`t make any sense (but it might if you add it to Canadian Mist which is fairly young and uncomplicated). But if you add, say, Pappy 15 or 20, well that`s more what would make it better. You might even go to, say, EC 12, or really any well-flavoured straight whiskey whose maturity would mesh with what you are blending it with. I don`t want to keep harping on do-it-yourself blending. Really. I mention it continually to try to explain better what Canadian whisky is, its virtues and `limits`. It`s all good in other words and more a question of what a specific drinker likes. If he likes and wishes to sample only all-straight whiskey, well, the U.S. has a lot of those and it`s just not something made in Canada. But straight whiskey is still very relevant to Canadian whisky - is part and parcel of its heritage and background. Experimenting with blending can make the relationship clearer IMO.

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Re: Canadian Club 100 proof 6 years old

Unread postby gillmang » Fri Jan 30, 2009 5:42 pm

And so e.g., if I had some 100 proof CC, I`d try it and if I like it a lot I`d leave it alone. If I think it could be improved, I`d try (in a glass) combining, say, Thomas Handy rye and the CC, perhaps in a proportion of 3:1 CC to the Handy (or I`d start with that). Or you could do ditto with Saz Junior (the regular, 6 year old Sazerac rye). CC is kind of rye-oriented more than bourbon-oriented, unlike, say, CR Special Reserve. So I`d use straight rye for this unless you have some rye-oriented bourbon. Say, Jim Beam Black Label. That should do very well in such a combo. (Or one of the Heaven Hill bourbons perhaps). I`d choose a rye that isn`t too heavy on the barrel, too. Maybe that new Beam rye would be ideal, if you have it. But maybe you will like the CC as it is. It is a pretty good product, even the 40% regular CC is a nice drink of whisky. I`d be interested in your comments once you try it.

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Re: Canadian Club 100 proof 6 years old

Unread postby PaulO » Mon Feb 02, 2009 6:00 pm

It does have the words "export strength" on the label. My first impression on tasting it was that it made me think of how decent blended Scotch would taste without any peat. It is pale straw colored. It has less of an aroma than most bourbons. You would hardly guess that this is 100 proof without reading the label. It is kind of hard for me to describe other than to say it tastes like good Canadian whisky, or some Irish whiskies. It is pretty mild stuff as far as no flavors really jump out at you (like good straight whiskies). I don't mean that in a deragatory way. If you are wanting to do vattings, or make some cocktails like Manhattans or old fasioneds, then this stuff would do nicely. This is the first blended whisky I have had in a long time.
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Re: Canadian Club 100 proof 6 years old

Unread postby gillmang » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:38 am

Good review and notes, thanks. The analogy to blended Scotch is very valid.

Canadian whisky is good on its own terms too, i.e., apart from use in cocktails and for "vatting". IT takes an "adjustment" perhaps to scale down to it (i.e., maybe not drinking bourbon or rye for a while), but it has a place. Once in a while I like it, just as once in a while I'll take a drink of vodka or blended Scotch. There is an art to the blending idea, one I like to toy with through the vatting experiments. Still, straight whiskey is the acme of the whiskey-making art and I would never deny that.

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Re: Canadian Club 100 proof 6 years old

Unread postby gillmang » Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:37 pm

To give some additional context, here are some notes on Wiser's Very Old, which is 18 years old.

Color is pale to medium-gold. Some nice rosewater on the nose, scents I've detected in aged bourbons, ryes and malts.

The taste is fairly full, both sweet and dry with wood well-integrated in the alcohol and rosewater. A nice dram of whisky but squarely in a lighter style. Nice tangy edges to it. A very palatable, flavorful beverage.

Now I'm adding a bit of 18 year old straight rye to it. Maybe 3:1 Wiser's to the rye. The colour changes only a little (deeper gold). The nose is heavier, with smoked wood scents. The taste is sweeter and the old wood gums from the Stateside rye lengthen the taste and finish. It's very good like this. It reminds me somewhat of CR Special Reserve, which also has some well-aged straight whiskey added to it, I understand.

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