Valleyfield

Review: Gibson's Sterling Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
40%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
N/A
Distiller Valleyfield (Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec)

Gibson’s Sterling was first crafted at a time when Gibson’s whiskies were in high demand – the 12 year old version had much more demand than supply, so Gibson’s wanted to produce something to provide customers with the product they desired without having to wait a full 12 years for new whisky to be produced. Gibson’s sterling was the result, blended from some younger whiskies than in the 12 year old versions (and some considerably older ones too) and its popularity resulted in the continuing production of this whisky.


Review (2013)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2013

  • Bottling Code: N/A

Nose: fruity rye! I always get a breeze of white/green gooseberries as I pour this one. The nose comes off a bit buttery and creamy with some dry rye bitterness as well which doesn’t do it any favours. There is some light vanilla in the background, along with some light oakiness, maple, and light brown sugar. There’s also a fair bit of graininess to it – there are smells reminiscent of some of the grainy vodkas. As I spend some more time with the nose the bitterness fades slightly and is replaced by a bit of sweetness and molasses. Not a great one, but ok – the bitterness is a bit too much and is out of place.

Taste: It’s light and reasonably sweet with some rye, maple, and clove amid a lemon-like citrusy backdrop along with some very gentle oak. The mouthfeel is quite nice on this one and it feels juicy with the citrus and berry notes. There is a touch of bitterness in line with the nose but it isn’t as bad on the palate as the nose. Some spices come out on the end – clove and cinnamon – but the cinnamon doesn’t quite carry the spiciness of fresh cinnamon but has more the influence of cinnamon in pumpkin bread or the like. I get a lot of rum notes and am reminded a lot of Bacardi 8 year old as I sip this one. However, it is fairly easy-going and lacks complexity. It’s also reasonably dry, which doesn’t surprise me after the nose.

Finish: The spices start off the finish before some molasses and woodiness, which is slightly sweet and is pleasant. There’s some fruity rye which carries on for a decent bit afterward. It has medium length, but I was pleasantly surprised by it.

Conclusion: Reasonably pleasant, although the bitterness and nose could be improved and the taste is a little too laid-back. A decent value whisky, and, apart from a few off-key bits, it is quite pleasant.

Value: Average for $28.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

Coconut, maple, baking spices, black tea, jasmine, juniper, green wood and light vanilla sweetness come through on a light, easy, whisky with a thread of spice. Quite tropical. An easy sipper - it’s light, easy and structured, with enough mouthfeel, spice, and tannins to make you continue to want more.

Value: Average for $29.


Review: Schenley OFC Canadian Whisky (1980) by Jason Hambrey

Schenley OFC 1980 2.jpg
ABV
40%
Aging
6 Years
Recipe
N/A
Distiller Valleyfield (Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec)

This whisky was distilled in 1980, back then there was an „Aged 6 Years” right on the label, „Imported” was still a big sales word, and excise Canada was putting strips on the bottles. It was distilled in Valleyfield...slightly darker than the OFC of today, though that doesn’t mean much given caramel additions.

 


Review (2017)

  • Batch: A26454744 (1980)

  • Bottling Code:

  • Bottling Date: 1986 (approx)

The nose is dry, smelling of rich corn whisky, with some nice dusty rye spices, prune, oak, orange peel, custard...much richer and more vibrant than the modern OFC.  Earthy notes grow with time. The palate has terrific feel, with light caramel, molasses, vanilla, brown sugar – with great mouthfeel – framed by tingly oak and spices. Terrific! Notes of bitter orange and bitter almond on the finish, still with some custard and white pepper...slightly drying. The white pepper continues on the finish with a touch of caramel and custard still. Quite a few light molasses and rummy notes throughout.  By comparison, the new OFC tastes younger (oilier, slightly more raw), a touch sweeter, and with less complexity, flavor, and integration.

A great example of the older style of blended Canadian whisky.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: N/A

 


Review: Gibson's Olympic 16 Year Old Canadian Whisky (1960) by Jason Hambrey

ABV
40%
Aging
16 years
Recipe
N/A
Distiller Valleyfield (Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec)

This whisky was distilled in 1960, an Olympic year, and bottled 4 olympics later as a special edition to commemorate the 1976 olympics which were held in Montreal. It was a one time release, aged in charred white oak.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: Bottle no. 3467

  • Bottling Date: 1976

The nose is full of sweet maple, oak, molasses, clean corn whisky, vanilla, and peppery spices and light earth. Creamy and buttery, smelling of sweet pastries and walnut. The taste very much follows from the nose – creamy, vanilla, corn, prune, and raisin with some nice spice and light smoke. It reminds me of the Gibson’s New Oak – only fuller and more complex. The finish is full of vanilla, oak, dried fruit, and mixed spices. It’s easy to drink, light to medium bodied, and quite elegant. The finish is quite dry with time.

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

Value: N/A


Review: Gibson's Finest New Oak Reserve Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
40%
Aging
Charred Virgin Oak
Recipe
N/A
Distiller Valleyfield (Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec)

This was released alongside Gibson's Bourbon Cask Reserve to help meet demand for Gibsons whiskies, but is no longer in production.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2006

A bit of a different nose for a Gibson’s! There is some underlying dried fruit like dried apricot with fresh, smoky oak sitting on top. And some candlewax, smoke, rye, and confectioners sugar. A creamy palate full of fresh, charred oak and vanilla! It’s a bit sweet, and the oak is quite nice, but it seems to have covered over some of the underlying complexity. Fairly sweet. Butterscotch on the finish, with some wax and oaky spices too.

This goes down really easy and has good flavor, though a bit simple. I could see lots of people liking this as an everyday whisky. Also, this is one that I imagine would be terrific on ice if that is your sort of thing.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: N/A


Review: Gibson's Finest Bourbon Cask Reserve Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
40%
Aging
Ex-Scotch Casks
Recipe
N/A
Distiller Valleyfield (Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec)

Gibson's popularity among whisky drinkers has a number of times caused supply issues becasue of high demand (which is how we ended up with Gibson's Sterling). This bottling, alongside Gibson's New Oak, was put in place to fill the gap, and is no longer in production.

And yes, it isn't actually matured in bourbon casks due to fear of the very protective Scotch Whisky Association who might have taken issue to a name Scotch Cask (see more here).


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2006

Well, this smells like a bourbon cask…lots of spice – stale clove, cinnamon, and white pepper – alongside green bean sprouts, vanilla, maple, buttercream icing, and prune. Fairly viscous on the palate – sweet and dry, in the great Canadian style - with lots of spice, pine, and some oaky vanilla leading into a bitter, spicy, and dry finish. Something spicy and bready, like pumperknickel, on the finish too alongside a bit of smoky charred wood.

Pleasant, mostly. The nose showed some good promise but the bitterness on the palate doesn’t do any favors – this would be doing better without that…

Value: N/A


Review: Schenley Golden Wedding Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

This whisky is a marriage of three whiskies, of different ages, to create a whisky which has both the body and complexity of an older whisky and the bite of a younger one. It’s been around for a long time – since 1856. For some time, this was produced at the Valleyfield distillery in Quebec, but now it is produced partially in Lethbridge at the Black Velvet distillery (for the flavoring/strongly flavoured components of the blend) and partially at Valleyfield for the base/body components.

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Review: Schenley OFC Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

This whisky has also been around forever. According to the bottle, OFC stands for “Original Fine Canadian”. The back of the bottle references 25 gold medals in 27 competitions of Monde Selection, dating back all the way to Paris in 1973. Impressive. However, I did wonder what monde selection was – it’s an international quality competition that evaluates everything from wine, spirits, and beer to soft drinks and other food products. Online, it was hard to find exactly how OFC did, and when they last won – and, frankly, how prestigious those awards are.

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