Revew: Canadian Club Small Batch Sherry Cask Canadian Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Sherry Cask Finished
Distiller Hiram Walker (Windsor, Ontario)

This whisky, along with the Classic, have both been re-branded and are described as “small batch” whiskies – mine is from batch C12-047. Some batch variation can affect this bottling. The whisky is aged 6 years, I believe, and then finished for two years in spanish sherry casks. It comes in at 41.3%, a bit higher than the standard Canadian 40%.

Canadian Club is owned by Beam brands (now Suntory), so I notice the bottle resemblance of this to Knob Creek every time (as the cheaper CCs are very similar to Jim Beam White and Black Label) – it isn’t a bad bottle but I would prefer something a little more unique. I do like the label, however.

Review (2014)

  • Batch: C12-047

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2012

Nose: Distinctly Canadian Club, and yet distinctly different with the impact of the sherry casks. The green graininess of the rye, the cola notes, the earthiness, and the spice are all there in line with the Canadian Club line but with seemingly more grainy notes which are slightly similar to Irish pot still whiskey. However, it is a bit closed and flat, I find. There are some light raisin notes, heavy pine notes, cinnamon, oak, pencil shavings, ginger, rose water, and light vanilla – but it isn’t that well held together.

Taste: Lots of vanilla, cola notes, and some really nice spices on the finish with an underlying caramel throughout. The rye comes through slightly, but, once again, I find a green graininess which reminds me of Irish pot still, interestingly enough. A bit peppery, with even the pencil shavings making a bit of an appearance. However, I am not really sure what the blenders are trying to accomplish here – it’s a bit flat, at times bitter, and it appears that it has lost the best parts that the sherry cask, and the whisky, had to offer. Too bad.

Finish: Really doesn’t meet its potential here, with the tingling of the spices remaining without much definition or flavour. The body is decent, and it is lightly fruity – this eventually shifts from fresh to dried fruits with raisins and a bit of bitterness coming forth, and some of the almond, apple seed (as in fino sherry), and light oxidized fruitiness and caramel found in other sherries.

An interesting take on Canadian Club, but I find that it is a bit flat and seems that the sherry cask in this case has killed the whisky more than make it come alive. It is an interesting pairing, and may appeal to cognac and brandy admirers – but I’m not sure about whisky lovers. I have heard some good things about this bottling, so I hope this is just a bad batch. That being said, I have had another batch of this (which I reviewed, but lost the notes) which was also nothing to speak of.

Value: Low at $33. However, it’s not a lot to pay and some people like this one more than me.