Gooderham

Review: Gooderham 1832 Decanter Canadian Whisky (1946) by Jason Hambrey

Gooderham 1832 2.jpg
ABV
40%
Aging
10-35 Years
Recipe
N/A
Distiller Gooderham & Worts (Toronto, ON)

This whisky was bottled to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the distillery, in 1957, composed of a mix of whisky 10-35 years old (i.e. this has whisky distilled as early as 1911!). The cork disintegrated when it was opened, but it did not suffer any corkage (thankfully). I don’t know much about this, except that there was also a version released with a tax stamp of 1948 and 1951. I’ve had the 1951 – it’s smooth, easy, and perhaps a bit simple. This vintage is better, if you like more than just smoothness...but they are all nice whiskies, if undamaged

As far as I know, or can guess, this whisky is the oldest gooderham 125th anniversary decanter release - either released in 1957 (the 125th anniversary) alongside the 1947 release or preceeding it. Then, evidently, the popularity drove this to be released again with a 1951 release in 1961 or later (since they all say the whiskies are at least 10 years old).

This could have had stocks from Hiram Walker, too, since both distilleries were owned by the Hatch family at the time - and my friends who used to work at the distillery don't know anything about this bottling. It was a remarkable distillery - huge, ambitious, and with many stories to tell. Much of it still remains, though with little history remaining as it's turned into more of a real estate/tourist attraction - but you can still go down to see some of the outsides of the old brick barrel warehouses, or the distillery, or the offices, or the stables, or sit in Blazac's coffee, which used to be the old boiler room (still having the original mahogany trim), and think about how times have changed...


Review (2017)

  • Batch: Tax Stamp 1946

  • Bottling Code: None

  • Bottling Date: 1956

The nose is rich, full of dried fruit and caramel – rich and buttery. Clove, apple juice, and light cork (not in a bad way – not corked, but does smell a bit like an old cork). Corn husks, prune, raisins, currants, dried apricot, lots of grape, dusty earth, oak, and a bag of mixed spices. The palate is big and full of fruit, spice, and toffee along with rich charred oak and herbal undertones. Loads of dried fruit, and loads of spice. Balanced, interesting, well blended, and delicious. The finish has spices, loads of dried fruit, and enough brown sugar that it might be confused for an aged rum that isn’t too sweet. The rich spices underpinning everything are remarkable – I rarely see that – in that way it reminds me of Hiram Walker special old but this is on another level with all the dried fruit and toffee in the mix. Remarkable.

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

Value: N/A


Review: Gooderham Centennial 15 Year Old Canadian Whisky (1952) by Jason Hambrey

Gooderham Centenniel 1.jpg
ABV
40%
Aging
15 Years
Recipe
N/A
Producer Hiram Walker & Sons (Windsor, ON)

I don't know where this was distilled - it could have been made at Hiram Walker in Windsor, or Gooderham & Worts in Toronto, at one time the largest distillery in the world but closed at the end of the 1980s with most of its brands shifting to Hiram Walker.

This whisky, though, is special - it was bottled to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Canada (and here we are, celebrating 150 years!). It is a rich, well-crafted whisky and, notably, a screw cap so it doesn't have cork damage if you can acquire one. It comes in a thick, hexagonal bottle showing the founders of Canada, and has a pamphlet inside showing which describes who everyone is!


Review (2017)

  • Batch: Distilled 1952

  • Bottling Code: None

  • Bottling Date: 1967

A rich nose full of prune, vanilla, old clove, corn husks, white pepper, caramel, leather, raisin, oak – very rich. Lots of old clove. Gorgeous. The palate is even better – sweet entry full of a big oaky backdrop complete with fresh oak notes and barrel char, loaded with light vanilla pudding, caramel, fruitcake, dried fruit notes, and prune in the backdrop. The finish is full of light grain and vanilla, and slowly fades to clove and white pepper as it dries, yet it retains sweetness so that you want another sip. Very well balanced, and not too sweet at all – the spice, fruit, grain, and body all work together very well. They knew how to make good Canadian whisky in the 50s!

This is extremely elegant whisky. It’s hard to quite find a modern comparison. It reminds me a bit of the rich corn character of highwood ninety 20, but it doesn’t carry the same age, complexity in the same way, or waxy notes. It reminds me a bit of Crown Royal Limited Edition in terms of style (light, complex, and clean), but this is much deeper. Some of the fresh oaky notes remind me of Wiser’s Union 52 or the 150th limited edition, too.

Classically Canadian, and one of the best I’ve had in the style.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: N/A