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Canadian Club Chronicles Issue 2 (42 Years Old)

Review: Canadian Club Chronicles Issue 2 (42 Year Old)      94/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Posted on Feb 22,  2020

According to the original press releases, Canadian Club Chronicles Issue 2 is a 42-year-old whisky called The Dock Man. which celebrates dock workers who loaded sea freighters with crates of Canadian Club Whisk to be delivered whisky to bar owners and consumers during the American Prohibition. This ‘Dock Man’ bottling follows the launch of the original Canadian Club Chronicles: Issue 1 (Aged 41 Years) which I reviewed (here) earlier this year.

At it’s heart the 42 Year Old whisky is an ultra aged Corn Whisky which was barreled in 1977. This corn whisky was first revealed to Collectors and whisky enthusiasts in 2017 when Canadian Club released the 100 % Corn distillate as Canadian Club 40 Year Old Whisky (reviewed here).

However, the Canadian Club blenders couldn’t resist tinkering with this sublime whisky. In 2018 they blended some of this whisky (now a year older) with small amount of cognac, rye and sherry (This was issued as the aforementioned Canadian Club Chronicles Issue 1). And last year (2019), with the whisky one year older again, the spirit was blended with a 16 Year Old Rye Whisky, a 12 Year Old Pot Distilled Rye and a small amount of Brandy as Canadian Club Chronicles Issue 2 (42 Years Old).

As a Canadian Whisky, the spirit is allowed to be sold as a 42 Year Old Spirit as long as what is termed traditional flavouring spirit (typically flavourful whiskies or wines) represent less than 1/11 of the total volume of whisky. I think it is safe to assume that most of that 1/11 permitted volume to be filled with younger whisky was used up in this blending process. It will be interesting to find out whether this ‘stretching’ of the ultra aged 42 Year Old corn spirit was a good thing in terms of flavour. (It has the potential to go either way.)

Issue 2 of the Chronicles was bottled at 45 % alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle 4/5

Pictured to the left is the bottle which the Canadian Club 42 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 am 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.

I also found it curious that a whisky which honours the Dock Man, has no reference to the dock workers on the front label or on the front of the display box.

In The Glass  9.5/10

The whisky shows us only a light golden colour which perhaps we should take note of. Other whiskies barreled in a similar manner but which are much younger show us much more colour in the glass. I suspect we are seeing the true colour of a 42 year old spirit without the aid of caramel colour.

Once poured, the breezes bring me dusty grain and wood spice mingling with ginger, almond vanilla and light butterscotch. Both the rye and the corn are speaking to me, and the effect is quite enchanting. As the glass breathes orange marmalade begins to appear followed by rich toffee, maple and baking spices. I love the way the whisky grows in the glass. The longer I wait the richer the toffee and marmalade smells become, and even marzipan as well.

In the Mouth  57.5/60

The whisky is elegant and smooth. In fact in my initial tasting notes I wrote smooth twice just to emphasize the point. I taste a nice melding of butterscotch, vanilla and almond with baking spice and wood spice (ginger, cinnamon, hint of clove and nutmeg). As the whisky breathes canned peaches and apricots are implied and then the rye in the blend finds its legs and begins fill my mouth with luscious rye spice and rye grain flavour.

Just as it was on the nose, the flavours grow in the glass, yet everything remains elegant and smooth. Maple, marmalade, nougat, and rye grain seem to join together as one wonderful elixir.

In The Throat:   13.5 /15

The whisky is medium bodied with rich melding of butterscotch, vanilla and almond sliding down the throat chased by rye and wood spices. Wood spice and cinnamon linger complemented by fading flavours of butterscotch and corn.

The Afterburn   9.5/10

When I first tasted this whisky, it was in a blind competition (The 2020 Canadian Whisky Awards) and I didn’t know that the sample I was judging was the 42 Year Old  Canadian Club Chronicles Issue 2. And I didn’t know at that time that the venerable 42 Year Old Corn had been blended with younger rye and Brandy. However, upon re-reading my blind tasting notes I see that I wrote, “So smooth its almost decadent, and I love the refined traditional Canadian Whisky profile.” So it is evident that even before I knew what I was tasting, I new that it was special.

And this whisky is special. The addition of the Rye and brandy hasn’t compromised the spirit (as I felt the additions to the 41 year old spirit had), rather these additions have given us a rich new taste profile which I like as much as I did the original 40 year old 100 % corn spirit.

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

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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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