Review: Royal Reserve Canadian Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Distiller Hiram Walker (Windsor, Ontario)

Here’s another whisky from Hiram Walker distillery, and one of the budget brands of Corby (also producers of Pike Creek, Lot no. 40, Gooderham & Worts, among others). According to the label, it’s been around since 1881 – which would have been a time when Henry Corby would have been around (though at 75 years of age) and his son, Harry,  was about to take the reigns at the Corby distillery in Corbyville, near Belleville. Henry Corby is one of the founding figures of Canadian whisky, and, among other things, was a member of parliament and, obviously, now has a town named after him. And, of course, he made a lot of whisky.

Review (2014)

  • Batch: N/A
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2014

Nose: Pine is the first thing I get off the nose. There’s some rye, brown sugar, and light corn oil. There is a bit of a light molasses note I often find with Hiram Walker distillery whiskies. There’s also a bit of a slight bitter aroma, and an aroma which just reminds me of stale grain – which are not that pleasant – but they are slight. There is a bit of spicy pepper on the nose as well, and a light, almost vegetal, fruitiness – like starfruit.

Taste: It takes a while to get going – at first it’s just lightly sweet, with a slight fruity rye and light molasses note. It’s peppery, and nutty (hazlenuts and almonds with the skins on) with some brown sugar and sweetness coming in after some time – but the experience doesn’t last that long. There’s a very interesting sour and spicy note just at the back of the tongue I find – interesting not because of its flavour but it’s effect. After all that was in the nose I’m surprised to find so little of it on the palate.

Finish: Surprisingly tannic (though not overly so), with light, fruity rye and some vanilla, fresh coconut, and almond. Some sweetness, without a lot of accompanying flavour is present – like white sugar.

Score: 73/100

Value: 68/100 (based on $26)

Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2017

Sharp, spicy, with classic notes of pine, orange peel, and baking bread. The palate is classically Canadian – sweet with a slightly dry and spicy characteristic. Light bready and cedar notes throughout, with a finish with light citrus and drying spice. Slight saccharin finish.

Score: 76/100

Value: 71/100 (based on $28)