Review: Canadian Club Premium Canadian Whisky (Vintage) / by Jason Hambrey

Canadian Club Vintage 1.jpg
ABV
40%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
N/A
Distiller Hiram Walker (Windsor, Ontario)

This is our Canadian Club premium, but the bottles are old - these are from tax stamped versions produced up until the 1990s. It’s pretty neat - theoretically it’s the same product, but the taste of course has changed.

The marketing at the time was that of “lightness” which was revered in whisky in the 70s and 80s - and not just whisky, it was also a key theme of marketing at the time. On the 1983 bottling, it says on the back: “The lightest of all Canadian whiskies. It is blended before barrelling to give Canadian Club a unique lightness and smooth flavour that’s known the world over. In 87 lands, Canadian Club has been the whisky of choice wherever people gather. However you enjoy Canadian Club, its light taste, international legacy of premium quality and distinguished tradition is very much a part of today.”


Review (2019)

  • Batch: Tax Stamp 1983, Stamp number A8894386

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: N/A

A really buttery nose, with a really nice, slightly dank earthiness (similar to what is found today) but this is much more rounded, fruity, and leathery than the modern stuff. More: Vanilla extract, beeswax, leather, peach jam, mixed nuts, apricot jam, and fresh beets with some dirt still on them. The vanilla almost smells artificial – it is quite poignant. The spiciness is more reminiscent to me of older Armagnacs than whiskies. The modern bottlings are altogether different – rougher, lighter, and not as broad or vibrant. The palate comes through quite buttery, but with a nice touch of earthy rye, leather, and more earthiness. The end is quite vegetal (it’s nice!). There is a nice grain character that comes through on the palate which isn’t present on the nose. The finish has vanilla and a very nice mix of stone fruit jams. There is a nice touch of earthiness and hot spice (chilli) on the finish, but there are still notes I associate with older whiskies – leather and some old wet wood chips.

Very nice! Substantially better than the modern stuff.

Highly Recommended (49% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: N/A


Review (2019)

  • Batch: Tax Stamp 1981, Stamp number A68198124

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: N/A

The nose is dry, oaky, and herbaceous with a decent dose of stone fruit – peach, prune, plum - and a bit of vanilla and rich earth. That earthiness seems present in CC, even to this day. There are brief touches of tropical fruit, too, but the nose is a bit shy. The palate is spicy, with nice orange undertones, oaky vanilla, raisins, white pepper, and baking spice too.  It finishes with prunes, spice, and some more rich earth.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: N/A


Review (2019)

  • Batch: Tax Stamp 1974, Stamp number A4943398

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: N/A

Now we are into 710 ml bottles.

This is very herbal, and quite a departure from the 1980s bottles. Dried and ground thyme, white pepper, toasting bread crumbs, dried lavender, light must, vanilla – and there’s something a bit soapy about it too. We have more – orange peel, dried savoury, and pencil lead.

The palate is quite light, with vanilla and more dried herbs. A very soft finish which is slightly woody, clean, and sweet. There is quite a nice mouthfeel, and it has a bit more of a porridge-like graininess than other CCs I’ve tried. It has a bit of the characteristic earthiness and spiciness of CC Premiums, but it isn’t as prominent. I found in earlier and later Canadian Clubs. The finish has a bit of a nice fresh grain character to it as well – barley, but also apple, thyme, and stale white pepper.

Not as broad as the CCs from the 80s. But, this one is integrated a bit better – I think, and it’s easier to drink. However, some of the notes are a bit odd - I wonder if it has spoiled in the course of its many years of storage.

It’s not good enough to fall in my “recommended” category, but I’d still give all the old whisky that you can find a go, if you find it.

Value: N/A


Review (2019)

  • Batch: Tax Stamp 1973, Stamp number D7324051

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: N/A

A 1.14 L bottle. Screw cap – I wonder if the larger bottles preserve the whisky better.

A very nice nose. Rich dark fruits, candied citrus peel, vanilla, prunes, white pepper, dry American white oak, orange peel, clove, and coco-cola. It almost has a bit of rum on the nose. The fresh orange zest is quite a nice touch. The palate has a nice core of vanilla and baking spice, but it’s surrounded with a nice grain character and more citrus. There is a light flash of rye at the end which is brilliant. The finish is oaky, grainy, and slightly sweet with a light molasses character and some vanilla. Very easy to drink, easy, and very nicely balanced.

Very nice stuff. I could have multiple drams of this in a row, if I lived solely by the desires of my tongue and nose.

Highly Recommended (49% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: N/A


Review (2019)

  • Batch: Tax Stamp 1971, Stamp number A9710103

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: N/A

This nose is again very herbal, full of thyme, oak, vanilla, light clean oak, pencil lead, and old white pepper. Orange, dried apricot, and dust – too. The palate is lightly sweet, with cola, licorice, pencil shavings, and some dark dried fruits. It still has a lot of dusty character, but also some unique notes – stale white flour and chocolate chip cookie dough (without the chocolate). The finish is sweet, with more dried fruit and a touch of clove, cinnamon, and dried apple!

It’s much more similar to the 1974 than anything else, but it isn’t quite as bitter or aggressive, and has a bit more elegance to it. But, then again, nothing like the 1973. As with the 1974, I wonder if it is spoiled - especially when the 1973 tastes so much better and doesn’t have the strong herbal notes. However, still drinkable.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: N/A