Canadian Club 100% Rye Canadian Whisky/
What the Distillery Says
This premium Canadian whisky is crafted 100% from single grain rye. Aged to perfection, it’s the purest expression of rye whisky, with more complexity, character and spiciness than other Canadian whiskies. It has the smooth taste you expect from Canadian Club® – making it the perfect choice for special occasions. Like Tuesdays.
Description: Complex, full and spicy
COLOR: Antique gold
AROMA: Balanced with toasted grains, gentle wood notes and a tantalizing hint of sweet vanilla
TASTE: Complex balance of rye spiciness, caramel and oak notes, warm and creamy
FINISH: Long clean finish with hints of clove, oak and vanilla
What Gary Says
Nose: Sweet & fruity, subtle pine note with a hint of nutmeg.
Palate: Thin mouthfeel, young, soft, subtle fruit salad.
Finish: Fairly short.
Comments: I picked this up for $18, as I recalled enjoying the Canadian Club Chairman’s Select 100% Rye (only offered in Canada) – and wanted to see if this version (offered in the US) was the same. Turns out it is (in fact, Canadian Club doesn’t even include both products on their web-site, but via Facebook they answered a consumer’s question that it is the same whisky). So you can read the review on that. I didn’t until I had written up my notes, and was only mildly surprised to see differences. I didn’t enjoy this as much as I did the original, which is more about my palate changing than the whisky (as I did a blind side-by-side, and couldn’t pick them apart – so I believe Canadian Club’s claim that they’re the same). I really would love to taste this whisky at 100 proof. Some drams hold up well at 80 proof, but this isn’t one of them. Compared to American rye whiskey, this is quite a bit softer. This might be a gateway rye for someone who likes Crown Royal, although I’d recommend they just go to Crown’s Northern Harvest Rye. It is certainly inexpensive enough to take a shot at if you are a rye fan.
What Richard Says
Nose: Rich stewed fruit sweetness like fortified wine mixed with a bit of american brandy.
Palate: A bit thin. There is vanilla, baking spices, and a candy sweetness there but teasing it out is tricky and water doesn’t help.
Finish: Quick and clean.
Comments: Nothing spectacular and nothing off putting. I find the flavors a bit muted compared to other whiskeys but it serves well as a mixer or sipper. If you like Canadian whisky in general or Canadian Club specifically then it is probably worth giving this a shot.
After Crown Royal, we decided that providing two negative reviews for the remaining Canadian whiskies was a bit overkill. So Richard took one for the team and reviewed two of the other three on our list. I think I got off pretty easy (the Canadian Mist was my contribution).
Canadian Club Blended Canadian Whisky
40% ABV/80 Proof
Nose: Citrus, vanilla, and burnt tire. This smells pretty awful.
Palate: I would say that the only good thing about the palate on this is that it got the taste of Seagram’s 7 and Black Velvet out of my mouth from the same tasting but that’s not an improvement. This is like industrial drain cleaner.
Finish: The finish is actually the best part. It is rather smooth but the after taste is too reminiscent of the palate.
Comments: Wow, this was not a pleasant experience at all. I know we pledged to review the often over looked entry level stuff as part of the Gateway Series but I can only hope that if you’re reading our site then you’re drinking better than Canadian Club. Please tell me you are.
Rating: Possibly the worst whisk(e)y I’ve ever drank.
Black Velvet Canadian Whisky
40% ABV/80 Proof
Nose: Juvenile oranges and rubbing alcohol with notes of sweet vanilla. Agitation make the nose almost industrial.
Palate: On the palate this tastes like unaged grain alcohol. Very little flavor and very rough.
Finish: It actually finishes rather smooth on the throat but it leaves a hornet’s nest in your mouth.
Comments: Every time I see this somewhere I think of that Alana Miles song about Elvis. Unfortunately this doesn’t resemble the King in any way, shape, or form. Don’t bother.
Rating: I’ll Pass (so bad that I’m adding another rating to our system)
Canadian Mist Blended Canadian Whisky
40% ABV/80 Proof
Nose: Really nice right after the pour, like high-rye bourbon. Sweet, toffee, and caramel. When agitated, the nose becomes antiseptic (rubbing alcohol).
Palate: Not much to it. It tastes more like a honeyed Lowland Scotch than anything from North America. The flavor is very delicate. What little flavor is present, is honeyed and cereal with an oily mouth feel.
Comments: This seems like it would be a good mixer. It stands out among the other gateway Canadians in that it is not retched. That being said, it is like whisky light. This could be a true gateway whisky for folks unaccustomed to drinking alcohol with flavor.
So, there you have it. The Canadian round-up. You may think that we are being unfair to our Northern cousins, but we cannot help our tastes.
We still have a few more gateway reviews on the way, so stay tuned.
Matt & Richard