Review: Schenley OFC Canadian Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Distiller Valleyfield & Black Velvet

This whisky has also been around forever. According to the bottle, OFC stands for “Original Fine Canadian”. The back of the bottle references 25 gold medals in 27 competitions of Monde Selection, dating back all the way to Paris in 1973. Impressive. However, I did wonder what monde selection was – it’s an international quality competition that evaluates everything from wine, spirits, and beer to soft drinks and other food products. Online, it was hard to find exactly how OFC did, and when they last won – and, frankly, how prestigious those awards are.

Regardless, Schenley has been making a product that many people have enjoyed over the years, and still today – though, at least in Ontario, it seems to be getting harder to find – no longer, at present, available in regular 750 ml bottles. Originally this was produced at the Valleyfield distillery in Quebec, but now it is produced partially in Lethbridge at the Black Velvet distillery (for the flavoring/strongly flavoured components of the blend) and at Valleyfield for the base/body components.

Review (2014)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2013

Nose: Wonderfully bright and fruity, yet still carrying the spiciness of the rye well. There’s a nice bit of cinnamon on the nose, with an underlying light citrus note and some cola aromas. Overall, the nose is a bit light which is interesting because it carries the touch of spice. And, it is a bit shallow. Some vanilla eventually emerges.

Taste: Slightly syrupy with some fruity rye, some light corn, and sharp grassiness, finishing with a little bit of puckering and warm spice. The sweetness seems a touch too much, but it’s quite sippable, and there aren’t major flaws in what is presented, except perhaps their lightness. I think beyond my preference for bolder whiskies, the subtleties in this one aren’t quite big enough.

Finish: The spice comes in, but eventually gives way to some light almond, vanilla, nutmeg, corn oil, a touch of pineapple, and caramel, after which point it drops off reasonably quickly.

This is very pleasant, and is nice and light while still showcasing the spice and bite of rye. Perhaps a quintessential Canadian, with the lightness, unaggressiveness, and touch of rye. I think I am often tempted to look at a rating as “low” as this, and interpret it poorly– this is still an acceptable sipper in my opinion and would be a great mixer. It’s too bad OFC appears to be getting harder to find, although I heard they’re upping production again.

Value: Average. Pretty cheap, without major faults or gifts. I like Golden Wedding a bit more.