There are few whiskies out there with less respect than Canadian Club. It’s relegated to the lowest of bottom shelves, inconceivable to be drank in anything other than a cocktail and tends to linger on home whiskey shelves for decades.
My dad retired from the corporate world and now runs people’s estate sales for a second career. He loves it, doesn’t have any bosses to have to deal with, sets his own hours, and genuinely enjoys the work that he does. What am I mentioning this? Well, one of the things you can almost always count on in a house of a very old deceased person that needs a estate sale, is a three quarters full bottle of Canadian Club sitting on their bar or kitchen cupboard: it’s virtually a guarantee. It was most likely gifted to them in the 1960’s or 1970’s and suffered more from evaporation than consumption. The bottle being reviewed today comes from one of those sales, but it was one of the rare sealed ones, as opposed to the opened ones which inevitably gets poured down the drain at the end of the garage sale…
Like most 6yr whiskies not aged in new charred oak barrels, it is on the lighter side of amber. The 1L bottle looks pretty cool with the big Hiram Walker in script and the 1976 boldly written on the tax stamp.
Pure vanilla on the nose, so strong and powerful, almost like someone poured a touch of vanilla extract into the bottle before trying it (I didn’t). I’m also getting notes of apples, pears and crushed almonds.
The taste is remarkably enjoyable. It’s not overly complex and at 86.8 proof there is literally no heat on the mouth at all, but it’s playful and enjoyable. I guess with the 40yrs in the bottle, this has mellowed out so much and now only vanilla and fruit notes remain. Although the mouthfeel is not overly complex due to the chill filtering and low proof, the finish is surprisingly long, well over a minute while never losing any of the satisfaction. Vanilla and smiles all the way to the end.
This is what I would say… next time you are at grandma’s house and she offers you a drink, go check out the back of the bar. Dust off that 1970’s CC that someone, maybe at a key party, brought to her house 40+ years ago, and pour yourself a glass of it. You will probably be impressed. 94/100.