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Tap 357 Canadian Maple Rye Whisky

Review: Tap 357 Canadian Maple Rye Whisky   79.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on August 11, 2013

TAP 357 is a relatively new flavoured Canadian Whisky, produced in Montreal for Van Gogh Imports.

According to the TAP 357 website, the whisky used in for this spirit is produced at the oldest distillery in Western Canada. It is four times distilled and then matured in a combination of new, second, and third-use bourbon barrels. The flavoured whisky is a blend of  3, 5,  and 7-year old blended rye whiskies that have been mixed with pure Canadian maple syrup produced from maple trees tapped at the first hint of spring in the province of Quebec. The product is bottled at 40.5 % alcohol by volume and is currently available in select markets in the USA and Canada.

Tap 357In the Bottle 4.5/5

TAP 357 arrives in ts own custom Italian bottle which was apparently produced by the Bruni Glass Company. The masculine looking bottle has a slight taper from the shoulders to the glass bottom which is extra thick to give the tapered design more stability upon the liquor shelf. The label shows an illustration of sap being tapped from a stand of maple trees in an obvious nod to the natural maple flavour used in its production.

I like the bottle and the label which both give ambiance to my flavoured whisky shelf.

In the Glass 8/10

The flavoured whisky brings a very nice initial aroma into the breezes above the glass. I notice a nice combination of honey and maple scents rising into the air followed by more than a hint of rye spice. There is also a vague sort of damp woodiness which accompanies these initial scents. Impressions of spruce boughs and wet autumn leaves seem to lurk in the breezes giving the TAP 357 a hint of ‘earthiness’ which I have not noticed in other Maple Whiskies. If one allows the glass to sit, the maple scent deepens and hints of tobacco, ginger and nutmeg become apparent. Although all of these scents and smells are lovely, there is also a touch of harsh astringency in the air which prevent me from scoring this section any higher.

In the Mouth  48/60

The flavour is much spicier than I would have guessed from the nose. Rye spices masquerading as ginger and cloves heat up the mouth and the sticky thick consistency of the flavoured whisky ensures that my tongue is coated causing the spice to build just a little more with each sip. The two facets of the flavour, the honey maple sweetness, and the spicy rye whisky seem to be doing an odd dance across my palate. My feeling is that these two aspects of flavours are not necessarily happy together. It is as if the rye whisky is trying vainly to assert its dominance, only to be upstaged up by the maple. A vague sort of mustiness earthiness lies underneath which tries to bridge the gap between the sweet and the spice, but it does not really succeed.

I decided to mix a cocktail (or two) and I found the spirit was much more at home in a long tall drink mixed with ginger ale, than it was served neat in a whisky glass.

In the Throat 11/15

The exit is sweet and spicy with the rye and the maple still doing battle as they linger upon my palate. I would enjoy this much more but for a touch of unwanted harshness in the finish.

The Afterburn 8/10

It turns out that a touch of maple is a nice addition to a Horses Neck, and this means that TAP 357 Maple Rye Whisky serves as a nice mixing spirit for tall refreshing highballs on my back deck. Those highballs are perhaps a touch more sweet than what I am accustomed to; but once in a while my sweet tooth likes a nice maple fix.

You may read some of my other reviews of  Liqueurs and Flavoured Spirits (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


My Scores are out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret them as follows:

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing spirit.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails.)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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