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Canadian Club Chronicles 41 Year Old

Review: Canadian Club Chronicles 41 Year Old   (89.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Posted on January 12  2020

A couple of years ago Canadian Club released what was possibly possibly the oldest bottling of Canadian whisky to date. After 40 years of resting in American oak barrels in Windsor, Ontario, Canadian Club released Canadian Club 40 Year Old

According to Rob Tucker, Senior Brand Manager, Canadian & American Whiskies at Beam Suntory:

With 160 years of great whisky making, Canadian Club’s numerous gold medal awards won in recent spirit competitions, and with our storied past as the preeminent club whisky in speakeasies which were known for stylish, stirring times, and a little mischief in mixed company, it only makes sense that a historic brand like Canadian Club gets to treat Canadians with such a delicious one-of-a-kind whisky like Canadian Club 40 Year Old

According to my sources, the whisky was produced from a selection of American Oak barrels which contained 100% corn whisky. These barrels had been consolidated many times over the course of 40 years to minimize the oxidation of the spirit during its lengthy maturation period. The whisky has been released in part to commemorate Canada’s 150 Anniversary, and was available with full distribution across Canada as of Mid November in limited quantities.

Fortunately for all of us not all of that wonderful whisky was bottled in 2017. Some of the whisky was allowed to continue to rest. In the fall of 2018, Canadian Club released more of this spirit as Canadian Club Chronicles 41 Year Old and this time it was blended with a small amount of cognac, rye and sherry.

This is the review for the 41 year old whisky which was bottled at 45 % alcohol by volume.

In The Bottle 4/5

Pictured to the left is the bottle which the Canadian Club 41 Year Old Whisky arrives in. It looks rather snazzy doesn’t it. The heavy glass rectangular decanter looks masculine and helps to elevate the presentation giving the whisky an impression of substance on my whisky shelf.

I was disappointed with the cardboard display box however. At the time the whisky was released, it was the oldest whisky produced by one of Canada’s most famous distilleries (Hiram Walker Distillery) and it represents Canada’s most iconic brand world wide whisky brand. The understated display box suggests to me that the brand owners lack the confidence to place their spirit on par with the world’s other great whiskies. I cannot help but feel the brand image of Canadian Club could have been elevated to a much greater degree world-wide with a better looking display box.

In the Glass  9/10

When poured into my glencairn, the Canadian Club Chronicles 41 Year Old displays itself as a light goldenspirit. The aroma in the breezes above the glass offers seem to entice me. The whisky brings a waft oak sappy oak into the air followed by a combination of butterscotch toffee, almond syrup, oak and vanilla which were all melded wonderfully together. There are hints of mustiness and scents of fresh corn, light baking spices, and orange peel moving towards marmalade.

In the Mouth  54/60

One point to make is that the oak is omnipresent as you sip. It is as if the sap within the oak fibres is straining to overwhelm the whisky. The whisky seems to have about reached its breaking point. The flavours within are all melded together into a somewhat sappy, butterscotch/vanilla/almond and oak toffee. Roasted and buttered corn on the cob is hinted at. Sticky marmalade and canned apricots swim beside ripe yellow golden delicious apples. There is a hint of lovely Jamaican rum, and a welling up of baking spices (cinnamon, more vanilla, hints of clove and nutmeg) and dry fruit all jumping into my consciousness as I sip.

My inclination is to add no ice, my fear is that the sherry and cognac will be allowed more expression, and I would rather taste the 41 year old corn.

In the Throat  13.5/15

The Chronicles 41 Year Old Whisky is bottled at 45% alcohol by volume, and we do notice a little bit of that added heat. There is a light menthol glow on the palate after the swallow, and a flavour I will refer to as a oak/almond/butterscotch/vanilla elixir syrup lingering afterwards.

The Afterburn  9/10

Just as it was last year with the 40 year old, I appreciate how well the flavours within this 41 year old dram act to compliment each other. I do wish though that the blenders had resisted the urge to blend in some cognac, rye and sherry. (Perhaps these strong flavours were needed to quell the oak.) But something was lost here, not the least of which is that although the bottle states the whisky is 41 years old. I am going to suggest that the added rye, sherry and cognac were not.

As with the predecessor spirit Canadian Club Chronicles 41 Year Old is being sold across Canada for a suggested retail price of $249.95. If owning a bottle of one of the oldest whiskies ever produced in Canada appeals to you, I would suggest that you find a bottle before they are all gone. (I saw a very limited supply in Edmonton just prior to Christmas)

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

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Each of my review contains a rating or score out of 100 and these scores can be interpreted using the following scale:

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.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more 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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