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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

September 21, 2016


Four Canadians

Canada. No one really knows Canadian whisky in Europe (exaggerating a bit, probably). There are some on the lower shelves of our supermarkets, of course, but they need to put maple leaves and elks onto the labels to get noticed as ‘Canadians’. Or names in big block letters such as Canadian Club, Canadian Tipper, Canadian Mist… or else. Some work to be done, I guess, let’s hope the fabulous Davin a.k.a. Mr Canadian Whisky will get appointed and come tour old Europe, he sure is the best possible ambassador. In the mean time, let’s see what we have… We’ll keep this short anyway.

Lord Calvert (40%, OB, Canada, blend, +/-2015)

Lord Calvert (40%, OB, Canada, blend, +/-2015) Never tried Lord Calvert before. It’s now a brand by Beam. Hope it’s not too futzed and that additives have been kept at bay. Colour: pale gold. Not too caramelised. Nose: okayish, at least not any worse than some young hyper-marketed Scottish grain whisky. Pretty similar, in fact, you could call it Beckhamy. Vanillin, industrial cake, corn syrup, and Weetabix. Mouth: for cocktails. Too much vanilla, too much sugar, too little depth. It’s even oddly syrupy, which cannot be totally natural. Are they allowed to use glycerine? Finish: short, too thick and sweet, with a spirity aftertaste, plus some sawdust. Comments: I think this is pretty poor, more or less of Black Velvet quality. Too liqueury and boneless for me. SGP:720 - 55 points.

So that’s done.

8 Seconds (40%, OB, Canada, blend, +/-2015)

8 Seconds (40%, OB, Canada, blend, +/-2015) This one comes complete with wild west lettering, bison skulls and promises of smooooothness. Are we cowboys or not? Colour: gold. Nose: hold on, put your gun away, this is ten times nicer than the Lord Calvert. Nicely cereally, with pastries and maple syrup (no wonder), as well as whiffs of warm praline from the oven. That is certainly quite nice. Mouth: indeed, much nicer. Sure it’s not Springbank, but there is some kind of balance and rather pleasant notes of cornflakes and caramel cake. Sadly, it tends to become too grainy, flattish, and slightly cardboardy. Drink it quick. Finish: short and evanescent. Less than 8 seconds. Some alcohol and liqueurs in the aftertaste. Comments: not totally dishonest, I’d say. SGP:630 - 68 points.

We need to change gear, don’t we…

Alberta Premium 30 yo (40%, OB, Canada, +/-2011)

Alberta Premium 30 yo (40%, OB, Canada, +/-2011) Four stars A weird looking bottle but a high reputation. This Albertan baby’s said to be made out of 100% un-malted rye, which gives us much hope, despite the disappointing strength. Colour: gold. Nose: it’s very delicate and elegant, not on full-rye-mode, with touches of cranberry juice, and perhaps mandarins, and probably old perfumes. Potpourri, I’d say. It’s a little fragile, perhaps, but at least it’s intriguing. Mouth: ah good! It’s got more oomph than expected, and despite a marginally excessive oakiness (custard and cinnamon cake), it does deliver. Tea for sure, chamomile, lavender-flavoured crème brulée (that’s the rye), and a large assortment of pastries from all over the world. Baklavas, Danishes, croissants… Now it does lose steam, and that’s the strength. I’d have made fewer bottles at a higher ABV, it would have been quite a winner. Finish: short, and that’s the low strength. The distillate wasn’t quite textured enough to stand such dilution, but first, who am I, and second, it’s still very excellent. More pastries, and cranberry sweets in the aftertaste. Comments: I hope they have kept some at cask strength stashed somewhere, for the future generations. It’s a little too light for me, but it’s certainly one of the best Canadian whiskies I’ve ever tried. SGP:441 - 87 points.

And now an odd one by some Scots, for good measure…

Potter 26 yo 1989/2016 (58.3%, Cadenhead, Indian corn whisky, Canada, bourbon barrel, 204 bottles)

Potter 26 yo 1989/2016 (58.3%, Cadenhead, Indian corn whisky, Canada, bourbon barrel, 204 bottles) It’s really mysterious why Cadenhead have these casks, someone must have mistakenly pushed a button or something. I find them funny for sure, but I believe our friends should only sell miniatures of this and not full bottles. Now, maybe is this 26 much more to my liking than the 24? (WF 65). Colour: pale gold. Nose: hello? Sweet alcohol covered with vanilla sauce, grated coconut, and perhaps drizzlings of pastis. We’ll see what happens once water’s been added… With water: a little nicer. Very soft. Milk, sawdust and custard? Mouth (neat): I do not know what to say. Vanilla sugar, perhaps? With water: reminds me of a North British I tried a few years back. No, I’m making this up, just because I know North British used to distil maize as well ;-). Finish: okayish. Comments: I would have done some kind of world blend for the Olympics in Rio, rather than bottle this as a ‘single’. But it does go down, as they say in high plain diving. SGP:820 - 66 points (one more point for the extra-two years).

(Thanks C.J.!)

Please remember that my assessment of any spirits is only a personal opinion and is done from the point of view of a malt whisky enthusiast that usually prefers distillate-driven spirits, and dislikes anything doctored, aromatised, hybridised, or tampered with, thank you – and peace!







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