Review: Canadian Club 40 Year Old Canadian Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Canadian Club 40.jpg
40 Years; Refill American Oak
100% Corn
Distiller Hiram Walker (Windsor, Ontario)

This whisky is remarkable - it showcases all the glory of old Canadian corn whisky. It beats out a pre-prohibition 37 year old Seagram's bottle as the oldest Canadian whisky ever bottled (as of October 2017), even overshadowing the terrific Wiser's 35 year old. This whisky demonstrates what age does to whisky - a relatively light corn spirit, filled into used casks - and after 40 years containing significant complexity and weight.

Notably, I was suspicious if this whisky would sell - would people spend $250 on a Canadian whisky. Yes! The Canadian Whisky bubble is beginning to burst - people lining up outside liqour stores before they open to snatch up a bottle of this. I had the chance to try a cask sample at cask strength, too (~60%), but the blended version at a notable 45% is better. I highly recommend trying to get a taste.

Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

The nose is absolutely full of aged whisky notes – blueberry is how I describe them but others describe them as green apple. Apple seeds, hardwood forest (I was just camping this weekend and it is bringing me back!), blueberry, plum, oaky spice notes, caramel, beeswax, clove, nectarine, white goosberry, and terrific earthy notes round out a nose as rich as you can imagine. The palate follows suit – creamy oak notes, dried corn, corn oil, beeswax, prune, almond, and loads of spices and a slight acidity. There is an ever-so-light spicy bitterness which gives great structure and play to the palate. What a gorgeous whisky. The finish is full of classic Canadian Club dark spices – like an old mix of whole baking spices. But still creamy, with oak, almond, butterscotch, white pepper, citrus pith, and more rich wood. The finnish is tannic and drying, too – but I quite like this. The proof is just about right, too – I had a cask sample at 60% and you don’t get much more out of it (less, in fact – it’s not one of those sort of whiskies –less complexity is revealed – it is just peppery hot). One of the best whiskies i have tasted - what a delight!

Exceptional (less than 5% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date receive this, my highest recommendation). One of the best whiskies I’ve ever tasted.

Value: Average. I can’t give a $250 whisky a score better than decent, but I also don’t think you’ll find a 40 year old whisky anywhere for this price, let alone one that tastes this good.