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Black Velvet Reserve Canadian Whisky

Review: Black Velvet Reserve Canadian Whisky  81.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
February 23, 2020

The Black Velvet brand has a long history in North America, originally produced at the Schenley Distillery in Valleyfield, Quebec in the late 1940s. The whisky was initially called Black Label; but because of its perceived smoothness, the producers soon changed the name to Black Velvet. It has been a staple of the Canadian whisky scene ever since and is now produced at the Black Velvet Distillery (also called the Palliser Distillery) in Lethbridge, Alberta.

According to the Black Velvet Website:

Using crystal clear Canadian water, plus the finest rye, grains, and corn, the whisky is painstakingly distilled, blended at birth, and put up in premium oak barrels to gently mature. Black Velvet Reserve was started in 1991 and has steadily grown in popularity due to its smooth taste from longer aging.

Black Velvet Reserve is an age stated 8 Year Old Canadian Whisky.

In the Bottle 4/5

Black Velvet appears to be giving the line-up a long overdue revamping. In the case of the Black Velvet Reserve, the bottle is now octagonal shaped and a crest has been added above the label.  The whisky is sealed with a plastic cap closure covered in black foil. All of this looks much better than the older presentation of the flagship whisky (which has been updated as well).

The new look is ergonomic and attractive.

In the Glass  8.5/10

When poured into the glass the whisky shows us a somewhat pale amber colour. The colour indicates that very little if any caramel has been added. When I tilt the glass and give it a slow twirl, I see small droplets form at the crest which fall moderately quickly as slender legs.

A nice combination of butterscotch, vanilla and almond combined with sweet corn drifts into the breezes above the glass with baking spice and wood spice climbing up as the glass breathes.

Some sweet and sour fruit appears to round out the moderately complex nose.

In The Mouth 48.5/60

The whisky has a smooth entry with a building grain-like spiciness. The flavour matches up well with the nose with perhaps the addition of muted rye flavours playing with the more obvious corn.  Although this is an 8 Year Old spirit, I do not find the whisky engaging as a sipper. There is not really enough complexity to interest me at a high level and the sweet and sour fruit within the flavour stream seems to cloy at me.

When I add ice the spirit is much better, although as I indicated, the spirit is only moderately complex and the addition of ice does not bring new flavours forward. When I add a dollop of Ginger-ale, I find much more enjoyment.

In The Throat 12.5/15

Black Velvet Reserve is light to medium bodied with shorten crisp finish. I can taste bits of rye and butterscotch as well as some dank corn as I swallow the whisky with flavours of vanilla, almond and a light build of spice lingering afterwards.

The Afterburn 8/10

Black Velvet Reserve is not really a huge step up in quality from the flagship brand Black Velvet (formerly Black Velvet Deluxe). Although it can be sipped over ice, I would suggest that a better way to enjoy the spirit is with a splash of ginger-ale or cola.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.

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Suggested Cocktail

Canadian Caribou
a cocktail by Arctic Wolf

1 1/2 oz Black Velvet Canadian Whisky
1/2  oz Yukon Jack
Ice
Ginger Ale
Slice of Lime

Fill an Old-fashioned glass with Ice
Add the whisky and Yukon Jack
Complete with Ginger Ale
Garnish with a Lime Slice

Enjoy Responsibly!

Note: If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

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As always you may interpret the scores I provide 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 rum or whisky.  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.

 
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