Canadian Club 20 Year Old

Spirit Name:
Spirit Type:
Canadian Club 20 Year Old
Blended whisky
Score:
92/100
3, medal, silver icon

ABV:
40%
Region:
Canada 
Body:
Medium-full 
Intensity:
Medium 
Texture:
Velvety  
Balance:
Near perfection 
Best served:
Cask:

Neat, with ice, water
American white oak
Theme(s):
Vibrant, fresh, dense, complex, sweet (raspberry cotton candy, licorice), fruity (raisins, dates, glazed oranges, orange poppy seed cake), herbaceous (mint confectionery  mint, crushed basil), creamy (vanilla, custard), spicy, woody (white oak), medicinal (menthol and mild eucalyptus), rye, spiced dark chocolate 

Summary:
Canadian Club whisky is often portrayed as boring and to be mixed… I’m not sure where that perception comes from but whatever whisky formed that image of Canadian Club, if it ever existed, has been given a “Moe Green special” and sent to the bottom of the lake with cement shoes! All the Canadian Club I have tasted has been great, but the 20 year old… amazing! 

This whisky offers wave after wave of vibrant and energetic complexity, with a sweet North American style and spiciness that is smoothed by luscious layers of vanilla through which the warm Canadian kiss of rye emerges over the bright corn… one of my favourite whiskies of all time. Canadian Club has retained the best aspects of the distillate and turbo charged it with a maturity and complexity only 20 years can produce!

Whisky is an experience. Smelling it, tasting it and savouring it is only part of that experience. The other part of the whisky experience is appreciating a whisky’s story and history. Canadian Club 20 Year Old offers one of the most enjoyable whisky experiences around – the whisky itself graces the palate with a silky smooth and gradually intensifying complexity while the Canadian Club story entertains the mind with imagery of mafia linked Prohibition-era smuggling and bootlegging. To borrow from Canadian Club, “every bottle of Canadian Club is filled with history”… and the 20 Year old offers that history in a complex and thoroughly enjoyable package. 

Tasting notes:
The Canadian Club 20 Year Old offers a level of sophistication and complexity that can only develop from 20 cold years in Canada – the result is a silky smooth, supple and soft whiskey with complexity, elegance and finesse. This is what happens when Canadian Club decides to let its six year old Classic whiskey mature for a further 14 years in frosty Canada. Forget maple syrup, Canada’s second best cheer producing product is whiskey – 20 year old whiskey to be exact and second only to the late John Candy. For a bit of extra happiness, try sipping this whiskey to the sound of (ironic I know) the Blues, John Lee Hooker’s “Whiskey & Women“. You’ll be melting in your chair in no time. 

While you lie melting in your chair, ponder for a moment Canadian Club’s role in quenching the American thirst for whiskey during prohibition and consider watching “Boardwalk Empire”, a film set in Prohibition-era United States. The opening credits, as the below video shows, includes Canadian Club (then known as “Club Whisky”) washing up on the American shore – fitting, because whiskey production remained legal in Canada during Prohibition and whiskey would be smuggled into the United States sometimes over water. 


Canadian Club 20 Year Old is distilled twice with the purpose of removing fusel oils for a light tasting whisky. It is then barrel blended and matured in white oak barrels for two decades. It is comprised of a ratio of different distilled grains, including corn, rye, rye malt and barley malt. Canadian Club whisky is often portrayed as boring and to be mixed… I’m not sure where that perception comes from but whatever whisky formed that image of Canadian Club, if it ever existed, has been given a Moe Green special and sent to the bottom of the lake with cement shoes! All the Canadian Club I have tasted has been great, but the 20 year old… amazing!

The below video captures the point of this post – “every bottle of Canadian Club is filled with history”… and the 20 Year old offers that history in a complex and thoroughly enjoyable package.  


Having entertained the mind, now let’s turn to the magic on the palate. The Canadian Club 20 Year Old has been one of the most pleasant whisky surprises of 2013, and CC has certainly started a bright new chapter in its story. 

Nose: The nose on this whisky is vibrant, fresh, dense, complex, sweet, fruity, herbaceous, creamy, spicy, woody, medicinal and rich in corn and rye. The whisky is immediately vibrant and energetic with a fresh gust of dense character. It is ridiculously complex, with sweet bourbon-like notes of raspberry cotton candy over licorice and fruity raisin, dates and glazed oranges – in fact, syrup and jelly (jello) layered orange poppy seed cake develops. The herbaceous twist of fresh mint and and crushed basil flickers weakly within the bright sweet North American style – a style that offers sharp flints of varied spices smoothed by creamy vanilla and custard as the warm kiss of rye remains a constant embracing feature – almost makes you want to slap on a pair of slippery brogues are dance yourself silly at the Copacabana. The woody notes are beautiful, resonating the American white oak – very North American with a Canadian rye twist. A medicinal character also develops, almost like a think haze lifting over the whisky, most in the form of menthol and mild eucalyptus. The grains shine through from the distillate, despite 20 long years of maturation, this whisky is energetic, rich and vibrant.  

Taste: The taste of this whisky is sweet, spicy, woody, complex and energetic. The character on the nose move seamlessly to the palate, but first comes the rye as it gently caresses the palate with shimmers of menthol and mint as the corn glows brightly. The white oak shines with sharp whips of spicy bourbon and grain rich distillate – this is sensationally made! The sweet fruit (brandy soaked raisins) merges with anise seed as the licorice on the nose softens and becomes more elegant and earthy while licorice and dark chocolate raspberry bullets develop. 

Finish: The rye lingers with the sweet warmth of the American white oak influence, that electrifies the taste buds as they buzz with the flavours that make this Canadian whisky truly sensational – sweetness, smoothness and a touch of rye alongside spiced dark chocolate. 

Likes:
This is seriously complex whisky – rich, fresh, vibrant, energetic and complex. Canadian Club has appeared to re-invent itself! This whisky is also an absolute bargain! 
Price:
$70 (Aus)
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