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Canadian Club Chronicles 44 Year Old – The Whisky Sixes

Review: Canadian Club Chronicles Issue 4 – 44 Year Old (The Whisky Sixes)   87/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Posted on May 13,  2022

For each of the past four years Canadian Club has been releasing Canada’s oldest age stated Whisky. And each year, that release has been getting one year older. It started in 2017 with the Canadian Club 40 Year Old. According to my sources, that 40 year old 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. Part of that whisky was released to commemorate Canada’s 150 Anniversary, and was available with full distribution across Canada in the fall of 2017.

Each year since then that original whisky cache has been getting older. The folks at Canadian Club didn’t release all of that spirit, they held back much more than they bottled. And so the following year, and each following year, they release another portion of that original corn spirit aged one additional year. But they don’t release exactly the same whisky. They tinker just a little with that original liquid to make each year’s release is unique from the others by more than just one year of aging.

This year, the tinkering which was done was the addition of a small amount of aged Canadian Rye Whisky and a touch of Sherry. Not enough to alter the 44 Year Old Age Statement, but enough to give this version slightly different character than the versions previous. This year’s release also pays tribute to the notorious bootleggers and the roadsters they used to whisk across the Detroit River bringing whisky to other side during the winter freeze. It also celebrates Canadian Club, the unofficial whisky of the prohibition era. This homage is in the form of the tagline given to the spirit, The Whiskey Sixes.

In the Bottle  4/5

Pictured to the left is the bottle which the Canadian Club 44 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.

However, I have the same complaint with the presentation as I have had with the entire Canadian Club Chronicles line-up. I am disappointed with the uninspired cardboard display box. The Chronicles whiskies represent the oldest Canadian whiskies released in Canada, produced by perhaps Canada’s most prestigious distillery (Hiram Walker Distillery).  They also represent Canada’s most iconic world wide spirits brand. The understated display box suggests to me that the brand owner lacks the confidence to place this 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 with something more inspiring than a cardboard box.

In The Glass  9/10

Colour: Deeper Than Amber

Legs: Fat and Slow

Nose: Dusty grain and fine oak spices lift from the glass followed by impressions of butterscotch, vanilla and almond.  There is a serious corn influence in the breezes as well as some orange peel beginning to move to sticky sweet marmalade. The nose builds with the fine wood and rye spices just pouring out, and I notice baking spices in the form of cinnamon and ginger rising up with them. There are additional fruity notes of crisp apples and canned apricots, and some lovely milk chocolate drifting in the background.

The build-up continues, and now I notice marzipan forming from the vanilla, butterscotch and almond. Rich toffee has been created fine oak and rye spices. The only note of discordance is a light hint of must in air.

In The Mouth  52.5/60

I had waited a full 20 minutes before I took my first sip and I am glad I waited. The flavours have had time to gel and now the rich oak spice and lightly bitter tannin have combined with butterscotch, almond and vanilla giving me a menagerie of flavour nuances. Hints of ginger and cinnamon tickle the flavour, and there is a soft of soft sticky fruitiness underneath. The whisky is spicy with a light sweetness that carries the spice rather than covers it. Fruit flavours meld  into the profile. There are also hints of chocolate, light grassy flavours and hints of menthol. These elements add to the the whisky profile without diminishing the impact of the oak spice and tannin, butterscotch, almond and vanilla.

However, I notice a disturbance in the whisky. That light note of must has bobbed up as a tiny taint of mildew knocking putting a lid score.

In The Throat  13/15

The finish is long and spicy and completed with the ebbing sweetness of butterscotch and vanilla. There is however, that same flaw which has caused disruption since the onset. This is that taint of must which causes a bump in the finish.

The Afterburn  8.5/10

Canadian Club Chronicles 44 Year Old Whisky almost had me over the moon. Initially, I thought that I might have found a whisky that pieced the stratosphere and was reaching for outer space. Then I noticed the must. It tastes like a teensy bit of mildew or maybe that musty flavour of baby corns. This causes an imbalance in the whisky limiting its trajectory.  The score I arrived at, 87/100 recognized the wonderful complexity and promise of the spirit, but also recognizes that this whisky could have been so much more.

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

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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.

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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