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Schenley Golden Wedding Canadian Whisky

Review: Schenley Golden Wedding Canadian Whisky  76.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra(AKA Arctic Wolf)
Published October, 2014

Schenley Golden Wedding is a Canadian Whisky produced at the Black Velvet Distillery in Lethbridge, Alberta for Constellation Brands. Constellation Brands is a wine, beer, and spirits company with a strong portfolio of premium brands, and in fact (according to their website) the company is not only a world leader in premium wine, they are also the number three beer company in the U.S.A., as well as the leading multi-category beverage alcohol company in the U.S.

Schenley Golden Wedding is one of Constellation’s economy Canadian Whisky brands, and when I encounter the spirit in the local liquor stores it usually occupies the bottom shelf of the Canadian Whisky section of the store. Not only is it bottom shelf, the brand has such a low profile, that I can not even find it represented as a whisky brand on Constellation’s website. It is almost as if the company has forgotten it.

golden-wedding-sam_2693In the Bottle 4/5

The whisky has a bit of a retro 70s  look in the tall barroom style bottle in which it is housed. The label has a small picture of a bride and groom at the bottom implying I am sure that this is a suitable whisky to serve at large gatherings of friends and family where one is seeking both economy and quality with their spirits selections. (Having just helped pay for my daughter’s wedding last spring, this sentiment certainly rings true to me at this time.)

I do think, however that perhaps the brand could use a bit of a facelift. When I see a bottle presentation which looks as far out of time as this one does, it makes me wonder if the brand owner is really trying anymore. (Perhaps they really have forgotten that they still own it.)

In the Glass 7.5/10

When I pour the Canadian whisky into my glencairn glass, I notice the Golden Wedding has a light amber colour, and that the breezes above the glass contain a mixture of peppery rye spice, toffee, caramel and light wisps of corn syrup. There are also indications of fresh grain, sandalwood, chaff, vanilla, some intense honey and butterscotch. If you take some time with the glass, there is a building up of sour corn mash and tart apples and if we take even more time a light hit of maple can be found as well.

I find the breezes above the glass pleasant, although there appears to be a bit of a clash between the corn mash and the rye accents as if the whisky was perhaps bottled without enough resting time allowed for the competing flavours to meld. There is also a light astringency in the breezes giving me the impression that this is a very young whisky.

(Note: By Canadian law a spirit labeled ‘Canadian Whisky’ must be aged a full 3 years.)

In the Mouth  46.5/60

The Golden Wedding (like the bottle it arrives in) seems to be a bit of a throwback rye whisky. It has a sharp peppery bite as it crosses the palate, and it features flavours of rye spice, ginger and white pepper which are offset by butterscotch, vanilla and maple. There is also quite a bit of what I will term ‘Jack Daniels’ style punky corn mash riding alongside which unfortunately competes with, rather than coexists with, the more dominant rye spice flavour. This gives the spirit a bit of a cloying flavour profile which makes it uncomfortable to sip even with the small sample I have poured.

Although the opposing flavours of corn mash and rye spice seem at odds when sipping the whisky straight, once I mix the Golden Wedding with ginger-ale, it becomes a very pleasant mixer. The spirit seems to soak up the soda rather easily pushing a nice Canadian Whisky flavour profile through the bar drink even when mixing at a ratio of 80% soda to 20 % whisky (with of course lots of ice).

In the Throat 11/15

The exit is sharp and peppery with flavours of rye spice and corn washing down the throat and leaving a lingering echo of cinnamon and white pepper left over on the palate. There is some uncomfortable burn, which of course disappears with the addition of ice and soda.

The Afterburn 7.5/10

The Golden Wedding whisky has a few highlights (mainly the robust rye flavour), as well as a few deficiencies (mainly the competing punky corn mash which never quite melds into that robust rye). However, the Canadian whisky is what it purports to be, an inexpensive and pleasant mixer suitable for large gatherings on an economy budget.

My final score of 75.5 reflects the strength of the Canadian Whisky as a mixer, but also recognizes that this whisky is unsuitable for sipping.

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


Suggested Recipe

Rye-based Canadian Whiskies work very well with ginger-ale and a bit of ice. Adding a bit of lime, bitters and simple syrup adds a bit of a twist, and the Canadian Cooler is the result.

Canadian Cooler

2 oz Shenley Golden Wedding Canadian Whisky
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Lemon Juice
dash of bitters
1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Ginger Ale

Pour the whisky, the lemon juice, and the simple syrup into a metal shaker
Add a dash of bitters
Shake until the outside of the shaker frosts.
Strain into an ice-filled glass.
Top with Ginger-ale
If desired garnish with a slice of lemon or lime

Please drink 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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