Review: Canadian Club 20 Year Old Canadian Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

20 Years
Distiller Hiram Walker (Windsor, Ontario)

This whisky, like all Canadian Club products, is “barrel blended” which means that batches of unaged spirit are blended together before being put into white oak barrels. The grain recipe is the same as the standard Canadian Club, only it is aged 20 rather than 6 years. Though it is described as a “limited edition”, it is a regular product of Canadian Club. Each bottle is individually numbered, but it is too bad that it doesn’t say how many bottles there are, or from what batch. This reviewed bottle was number 294870. Like all Canadian Club whiskies, it is distilled at the Hiram Walker Distillery in Windsor, Ontario. Though I haven't reviewed many batches, batch variation can be significant from what others tell me. This is a good one.

Review (2014)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A (Bottle 294870)

  • Bottling Date: 2014

Nose: Some nice, sharp rye and dry corn (like fresh cornmeal) comes up with classic rye fruitiness. Oak comes up, along with some pencil shavings, with earthiness much like you might expect a slightly damp, mossy oak stave to smell – though not perhaps the most appealing description it is a great smell. Light fruit – white grape and green plum as well as notes of strawberries. It does smell quite dry overall, and underneath the larger aromas there is a rich toffee backdrop, alongside a caramel pudding creaminess. The whisky reminds me very much of a well-aged dark rum, interestingly enough.

Taste: Rich maple and woody flavours start the palate, with some molasses notes leading into a sweeter brown sugar note along with some toasted oak. It is interestingly nutty, and has an almost nutty cookie-dough like feel to it along with a strong orange note like orange liquer. The rye comes through almost right at the end of the palate – overall it’s quite rich and dense. The molasses notes are interestingly strong enough that I wonder if I could be sipping a rum.

Finish: Quite dense, and slowly unfolding, with some interesting flavours that remind me of what cookie dough made with whole wheat flour might taste like. It is still fruity, and consequently feels quite lively. There are still molasses notes, reminiscent of a good dark rum. There is also oak, light orange peel, and a very light touch of vanilla. It is a bit too dry, for the profile, though, and this detracts from the experience.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High, for $60.