Review: Schenley Tradition Canadian Whisky (1972) / by Jason Hambrey

Distiller Valleyfield (Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec)

There isn’t much I can say about this one, and, indeed - hard to know much about it as little is known or written about these old Canadians. This, though, was from the Valleyfield distillery which was the HQ of Schenley at the time.

Review (2020)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A (distilled 1972)

  • Bottling Date: 1976 (approx)

I believe Tradition used to be about 4 years old, but I could be wrong (I heard that secondhand). This is very much in the wheelhouse of vintage Canadian whisky – clean, lightly sweet, with maple, clove, raw white rice, and some slightly musty old library notes (which I primarily find in old bottles), turnip greens, and a touch of wintergreen. The rye influence is very minimal, to my nose. Pencil shavings, too – but not the oaky kind – a bit more of an intense and astringent note which I also have only found in vintage whiskies.

The palate follows suit, with some leather, candied fruit, boiled tomato, and finishes with stale baking spices, vanilla, and pencil shavings. Quite corn forward. This is a rather classic Canadian profile – light, sweet, and spicy – a similar modern comparable might be Seagram’s VO. The style is going out of fashion.

Comparing it to the Schenley OFC from 1980 that I’ve reviewed, the OFC is much cleaner, buttery, and is lacking the off notes of pencil shavings and a sort of candied leather note (I know…but you can imagine it, can’t you?).

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher). Because I always think folks should try older whiskies if they can. From a taste perspective, sub-par would be accurate (or generous?).

Value: N/A