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Sazerac Introduces “Mister Sam” a Tribute to Canadian Spirits Legend Sam Bronfman

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 9, 2019

Today the Sazerac Company is unveiling its new Super Premium Whiskey “Mister Sam” which pays tribute to late Seagram’s Leader Sam Bronfman.

According to the presser forwarded to me, Sam Bronfman, or “Mister Sam,” as he was affectionately known, was the founder of the modern-day distilled spirits industry. Despite his humble origins as an immigrant to Canada from Imperial Russia in the late 1800s, Bronfman would go on to propel Seagram’s into becoming the largest and most successful distilled spirits company in the world at that time. Relentlessly focused on making and blending the finest whiskies possible, maintaining the highest quality standards in the industry, creating cutting edge packaging to appeal to consumers and driving incessant product innovation, “Mister Sam” created some of the world’s most iconic spirit brands while at the helm of the Seagram’s empire until his death in 1971.

Montreal, Canada served as the headquarters of the legendary Seagram Company and its patriarch Sam Bronfman.  The tie between the Seagram and Sazerac Companies was formed in the 1940s, when Sazerac’s owners became one of the first distributors of Seagram brands in the United States, forging a long-lasting relationship between the two companies.  Today, Sazerac owns 15 former Seagram’s brands including the iconic Seagram’s V.O., Seagram’s Five Star, and Seagram’s ’83, along with its own Distillery in Montreal.

As a tribute to “Mister Sam” and the vast contribution he made to the industry, the Sazerac Company has developed a highly limited blended whiskey expression made with some of Sazerac’s finest American and Canadian Whiskeys.  The “Mister Sam” blend was created by Sazerac’s Master Blender Drew Mayville whose career included a 22 year stint at Seagram’s where he was the fourth and last Master Blender under the Seagram dynasty. Mayville had the vast array of Sazerac’s American and Canadian Whiskey stocks at his disposal while developing the final blend.

This project holds a special place in Mayville’s heart, a native Canadian now living in Kentucky.

According to Drew Mayville:

“I was thrilled to be able to work on the blend for this exciting tribute whiskey.  Mister Sam was known to say ‘Distilling is a science; Blending is an art,’ and he’s right.  Creating the elusive perfect blend is every bit about experimentation and precision.  We’re very proud of the whiskey we’ve created.”

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The Press Release I was sent included tasting notes from none other than the esteemed F. Paul Pacult, publisher/editor of F. Paul Pacult’s Spirits Journal, who has reviewed the “Mister Sam” blend (and given it Five Stars).

Pacult’s complete “Mister Sam” tasting notes are as follows:

Nose:

Cigar box, pipe tobacco, Madeira cake, toffee in that order of ascent, but then there’s a rush of oaky vanilla, limestone, flint and sweetened breakfast cereal.  Hearty but elegant, woody but grainy, and floral yet spicy, quite an achievement.

Mouth:

Entry:  Wow, this whiskey is high octane and scintillating, meaning there’s a lot happening here between the spirit fire and the oaky flavor and the lush texture, all pulling the taste profile forward.

Midpalate:  the majestic flavors blanket the palate with lush tastes of raisins, prunes, mince pie, candied walnut, chocolate covered cherry, heather honey, toasted marshmallow, praline, nougat, pecan pie.

Texture: Full bodied; oily; viscous

Finish:

The aftertaste merely underscores all the attributes and virtues identified in the aroma, entry, and midpalate, bringing them into a grand finale that’s hugely satisfying.

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Mister Sam was bottled at Sazerac’s Old Montreal Distillery in Montreal, Quebec, “at a full 133.8 Proof. The 2019 release (the whiskey is slated to be released once per year) features 1,200 bottles (750 ml), and will be sold (only) in the United States and Canada at a suggested Retail Price of $249.99. As seen in my photo, “Mister Sam” is housed in an elegant wooden box which includes a copy of the legendary “From Little Acorns” book, which Sam Bronfman penned in 1970, and which details the history of the Seagram’s company.

Of course it was not just F. Paul Pacult who was sent a preview sample for review, The Rum Howler was also sent a fully displayed sample bottle for review. I was asked to provide my review following the press release introducing the Mister Sam Whiskey. That means my full review will publish tomorrow; but just to whet your petite, here’s a spoiler from that review:

“Mister Sam arrives with the brute force of a sledge-hammer threatening to knock your tonsils down your throat with unabashed whiskey fury. The resulting belt to the mouth leaves you wondering what just happened, but at the same time hoping it will happen again.”

Chimo Everyone!

Note: The Old Montreal Distillery, located adjacent to the Port and Old Montreal, dates back to 1929. Sazerac purchased the Distillery in 2011 and brought distilling back to Old Montreal for the first time in decades when it installed a still and began producing whisky in early 2018. The Distillery employs more than 100 persons and is undergoing renovations to add a visitor center and gift shop. It plans to start offering tours by the end of 2019. Sazerac is one of America’s oldest family owned, privately held distillers with operations in the United States in Louisiana, Kentucky, Indiana, Virginia, Tennessee, Maine, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Maryland, California, and global operations in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, India, Australia and Canada. 

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