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Legacy Small Batch Canadian Whisky

Review: Legacy Small Batch Canadian Whisky (Sazerac)  85/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published on July 22, 2015

The resurgence of interest in Canadian Whisky continues unabated as it seems that every time I venture into a local liquor store I see new brands that I have never tried before. One of these new brands, Legacy Small Batch caught my eye and I decided to request a bottle for review. The new brand is owned by Sazerac, and to produce this new Canadian spirit they import mature whisky from Canada and bottle it at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky.

There is not much information about this particular whisky on the Sazerac website except for a statement that, Master Blender Drew Mayville (Buffalo Trace), oversees the distillation of this particular whisky. Unfortunately I find this claim hard to reconcile based upon his own statements in a 2013 interview in The Spirits Business (see interview here) regarding the anonymity of Canadian Whisky distillers and his happiness at being a blender and not a distiller. (Note that Canadian Whisky by law must be at least 3 years old and therefore would have been distilled prior to those statements.) Perhaps the marketing people at Sazerac meant that Drew Mayville oversees the blending of the Legacy Small Batch, which of course would be right up his alley.

The Legacy Small Batch carries no age statement, and it is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Legacy Small Batch SAM_1656In the Bottle 4.5/5

The Small Batch Whisky arrives in the stubby bottle shown to the left. The short squat bottle has a look which implies ‘substance’. I also like the graphics and the label both of which are neither to simple nor too ostentatious. The bottle is cork sealed and I am pleased with what I see. In fact, as related earlier, I was intrigued  by the presentation when I saw a bottle in a retail setting which led me to pursue a sample for review.

In the Glass 8.5/10

When I poured a small sample into my glencairn, I saw the whisky has a nice amber colour, and when I tilted my glass and gave it a light twirl I saw that the crest which formed inside the glass gave up small droopy legs which held on to that crest for just a few moments before ambling back down to the whisky.

The breezes above the glass were scented with aromas of peppery rye spice and butterscotch. As the glass was allowed to breathe, I noticed some corn-like accents, and some developing baking spices and which turned the butterscotch to toffee. Impressions are fleeting, but perhaps a little milk chocolate has made its way into my consciousness along with a stronger impression of wood spices.

The whisky does not seem overly complex or heavily aged, but it does appear to be well-balanced and inviting.

In the Mouth 51/60

The Legacy Small Batch is pleasant to sip. I taste a very nice melding of rye-like spices with butterscotch toffee. There is a corn-like smoothness which permeates the whisky along with just enough peppery heat to pucker and dry the palate making it receptive to the next sip. There are also light bits of cinnamon, some gentle vanillans, and a touch of milk chocolate in the flavour profile and all of these flavours seem to be pulling in the same pleasant direction. The whisky is not a marvel of complexity, but it is smooth and balanced, which for my palates counts for quite a lot.

In the Throat 12.5/15

The whisky finishes with a touch of heat provided by flavours of cinnamon and pepper which remain melded nicely into the butterscotch. I would not call this long and lingering; however I would call it smooth and satisfying.

The Afterburn  8.5/10

The Legacy Small Batch Canadian Whisky from Sazerac should be a real crowd-pleaser. I taste a little more rye in the whisky than I have in some of their other offerings, like Caribou Crossing and Royal Canadian Small Batch, although the three whiskies do seem to share a similar corn-based heritage. The Legacy is probably the least complex of the three offerings (not by a wide margin mind you); however it is perhaps the smoothest of the three. I usually prefer smoothness over complexity when I want to relax, and so for myself, this whisky really fits the bill.

If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Whisky Reviews


Suggested Cocktail

The Canadian Caribou
an original cocktail By Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)

For this cocktail we need a Canadian whisky with a nice hit of rye in the flavour profile. Although the this whisky is almost certainly corn-based, their is a firm rye presence as well.

Canadian Caribou SAM_1665Canadian Caribou
a cocktail by Arctic Wolf

1 1/2 oz Legacy Small Batch Canadian Whisky
1/2  oz Yukon Jack
Splash of Ginger Ale

Fill an old-fashioned glass with ice
Add the Legacy Whisky and the Yukon Jack
Complete with a splash of Ginger Ale
Garnish with a lemon 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!

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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