Review: Canadian Club Reserve 9 Years Old Canadian Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

9 Years
Distiller Hiram Walker (Windsor, Ontario)

Canadian Club Reserve, which comes pretty well in a Jim Beam Black Whisky bottle (Canadian Club is owned by Beam, which is now owned by Suntory), used to be a 10 year old offering, but is now a year younger, following the trend of many distillers nowadays – offering up younger stock to keep up with demand, or else utilizing barrels which are younger but still fit the flavour profile. Many times, it may not matter at all – age is not as good an indicator of taste and quality as many believe - however, it certainly is something. With increasing demand, the quality of many whiskies is trending downwards - though Canada has not been hit that hard, yet.

This whisky has a higher rye content than the other whiskies in Canadian Club’s portfolio, and offers up a bold profile. It is described as “triple aged”, as it is aged three times longer than the legal requirement in Canada of three years.

Review (2014)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2013

Nose: The sharpness of the rye does come through! Quite dark, with some notes of cinnamon and a slightly musty earthiness, orange peel, and some toffee and brown sugar. There’s a slight bitterness which manifests itself beside some chalkiness – it’s not as bad as it sounds, but not great. And there is a bit of licorice root, on different levels –  in the licorice flavour, sweetness of the root, and earthiness of the bark. And, after time, I find I distinctly smell those maple cookies you can get here in Ontario. And, there’s a slight bit of that meaty aroma also seen in Canadian Club Premium.

Taste: Rye, toffee, and vanilla…with a close of some more rye. It’s quite juicy and showcases some plum, dates, thompson raisins, a slight nuttiness, and a touch of lemon. The dates are quite prominent and unique – I quite like it. There are also some prominent diluted molasses notes too – much like that of many aged rums. The dates are so prominent and fabulous.

Finish: A bit of sweetness and vanilla, dates, rye , maple and some light berry notes as well. There’s just a touch of bitterness in the finish, but it’s quite slight. I find some cornmeal emerges over time as well.

I like the rye-forward nature of this whisky, and the accompanying fruit. A pretty good winter whisky, I would think.

Value: Average, at $27.