View Full Version : Canadian Club 30 years old
I tasted this at Whisky Live in Toronto recently. It was my first sample, so my palate was good. It has a nice chestnut color, not as dark as I thought it might be. The nose seemed fairly mild. The taste was round with good wood notes and residual sweetness. Nothing really jumped at me though, it seemed of a piece with younger CCs I've had including the 20 and 15 year old versions. It seemed older than those to be sure, but not significantly. I did not get any "big" flavors such as I notice in Wiser Small Batch or Forty Creek Double Barrel Reserve, for example. I asked the reps about the background to the age expression. They said some years ago it was decided to age CC longer than normal (20 was the previous maximum age I believe) to honor an anniversary of Hiram Walker, now 150 years old.
Pernod Ricard owns the historic Walkerville, Ontario distillery that Hiram Walker founded in the 1800's. Beam Global Brands owns the CC brand. More than that I do not know and I've assumed the former makes the whisky for the latter under contract (but am interested in more information if available).
CC is good whisky, always has been. The 30 years version won't displease anyone who likes CC - au contraire - but I think it is fair to say it does not break any molds, either. In style it reminds me a fair bit of Crown Royal Special Reserve. Its price tag is high for Canadian whisky but the run was small I was told and the package is very nicely done.
Why do you believe Pernod owns the distillery? I believe Beam owns the whole thing, brand and plant. Pernod and Beam were partners in the acquisition and dismantling of Allied-Domeq, and Pernod was the lead partner so ownership probably did pass through Pernod's hands, but I'm unaware of any ongoing joint ventures between the two companies.
The CC30 was bottled in Clermont, Kentucky. I know, because I was there when it was being done.
I thought I read somewhere that Pernod-Ricard owns the plant, Chuck. I will try to find the reference. The label does indeed refer to U.S. bottling. Someone could own the plant and make the whisky for the person who owns the label. But maybe I am wrong. I will try to find this reference.
The possibly incorrect Wikipedia entry on Hiram Walker (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiram_Walker) says:
The Hiram Walker & Sons Distillery remained in the Walker Family until 1926 when it was sold to Harry C. Hatch. Canadian Club Whisky is produced to this day at the distillery site Mr. Walker founded. The company has gone through several versions of ownership and is now owned by French firm Pernod Ricard as a result of that company's acquisition of Allied Domecq. The direct descendents are of the Franklin MacFie Walker and Elizabeth Talman (Walker) Paterson families. as a result of that company's acquisition of
It was the story which follows, combined with references I've seen to Beam Global Brands owning the Canadian Club brand or label. Just an inference, if I am wrong, happy to be corrected.
Since Pernod doesn't own any Canadian whisky brands I can't imagine why they would own a Canadian distillery, but I'll find out.
I do know that Pernod kept the Hiram Walker liqueurs line, which is made in Fort Smith, Arkansas. That's also where they now bottle Wild Turkey.
I did some more web searching, and this story states baldly that Pernod Ricard owns the Walkerville distillery.
Perhaps, on a long-term basis, Pernod Ricard wants to get into the Canadian whisky market 100% on its own and not be restricted to Corby (see below re Corby). Maybe it envisions buying back the CC brand at some point, maybe it would want to start up production of its own Canadian whisky brand. Also, just from a business standpoint, I would think by producing the whisky for Beam under contract, Pernod Ricard benefits of course now to a degree, it gets a payment for making the whisky for a third party and the latter correlatively gets less out of the final sale than it otherwise might. It might have been set up this way to allow Pernod Ricard to buy "as much" of Allied Domecq in Canada as possible while not retaining the CC brand to help finance the transaction.
Corby by the way from what I know is 46% owned by Pernod Ricard, I think the rest is publicly held. Corby markets a number of Canadian whisky brands, e.g., Royal Reserve, Wiser.
Incidentally too, CC 20 and CC 30 do have labelling that suggests they are bottled in the U.S.. I think this is because mostly they are sold outside Canada (a lot in duty free I think) but a little has come in to Ontario to be sold here nonetheless. Canadian law as I read it doesn't preclude bottling of the whisky elsewhere to be called Canadian whisky, it states that the product must be mashed distilled and aged here. A deal seemingly was made nonetheless for the regular CC brands also to be bottled here.
The official answer:
"Following the acquisition of Allied Domecq, Pernod Ricard assumed ownership of the Walkerville, Ontario facilities, housing production of Canadian Club. Beam Global works closely with Pernod Ricard to ensure that the same high quality standards are maintained and the integrity of Canadian Club is not compromised. Beam Global does have a long-term contract for the use and management of the Canadian Club Brand Heritage Centre located in Windsor."
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