Review: Gooderham Centennial 15 Year Old Canadian Whisky (1952) / by Jason Hambrey

Gooderham Centenniel 1.jpg
15 Years
Producer Hiram Walker & Sons (Windsor, ON)

I don't know where this was distilled - it could have been made at Hiram Walker in Windsor, or Gooderham & Worts in Toronto, at one time the largest distillery in the world but closed at the end of the 1980s with most of its brands shifting to Hiram Walker.

This whisky, though, is special - it was bottled to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Canada (and here we are, celebrating 150 years!). It is a rich, well-crafted whisky and, notably, a screw cap so it doesn't have cork damage if you can acquire one. It comes in a thick, hexagonal bottle showing the founders of Canada, and has a pamphlet inside showing which describes who everyone is!

Review (2017)

  • Batch: Distilled 1952

  • Bottling Code: None

  • Bottling Date: 1967

A rich nose full of prune, vanilla, old clove, corn husks, white pepper, caramel, leather, raisin, oak – very rich. Lots of old clove. Gorgeous. The palate is even better – sweet entry full of a big oaky backdrop complete with fresh oak notes and barrel char, loaded with light vanilla pudding, caramel, fruitcake, dried fruit notes, and prune in the backdrop. The finish is full of light grain and vanilla, and slowly fades to clove and white pepper as it dries, yet it retains sweetness so that you want another sip. Very well balanced, and not too sweet at all – the spice, fruit, grain, and body all work together very well. They knew how to make good Canadian whisky in the 50s!

This is extremely elegant whisky. It’s hard to quite find a modern comparison. It reminds me a bit of the rich corn character of highwood ninety 20, but it doesn’t carry the same age, complexity in the same way, or waxy notes. It reminds me a bit of Crown Royal Limited Edition in terms of style (light, complex, and clean), but this is much deeper. Some of the fresh oaky notes remind me of Wiser’s Union 52 or the 150th limited edition, too.

Classically Canadian, and one of the best I’ve had in the style.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: N/A