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Gillman
10-25-2003, 15:08
This is rather new in Ontario; it has been in some export markets for somewhat longer.

It goes for about $24.00 (CAN) and certainly it is worth that money. But beyond that..

It has a deep gold hue, to be sure, but the taste, while marginally "bigger" than the regular VO, is rather jejune. There is a harsh edgy aftertaste too. No doubt the high proof whiskies in the blend are showing their stuff, that or maybe the tannins from the older, oakier whiskies in there are obtruding. The label promises amongst the constituents, "rare and valuable whiskies". It also claims the flavour discloses "notes of autumn fruit and wine", and mellowness; I find these in evidence but in light measure indeed.

The nose is mild and fairly spirity (the label describes it as "rich and full-bodied" - I can't see this). There are rye whiskey nuances (presumably from the straight flavouring whiskies used). This adds a crispness and is a welcome, but again restrained, top-note.

What is missing is a malty-like middle, to give it more heft and a "mash" quality. And it could use more rye flavour..

VO Gold is not a patch on Seagram's Crown Royal line-up so I am not sure what profile they are going after.

I tasted VO Gold against one of my home-confected Canadian-style blends. To make my blend I added about 30-40% straight ryes (a combo of WT, Pikesville, Overholt and Lot 40 ryes) to a base of different, and differently aged, Canadian whiskies. The result is a rich and well-flavoured blended rye whisky. I believe this is how Canadin rye blends tasted 50-60 years ago. It is a true Canadian taste (I believe) in that it has good cereal and toasted oak flavour with a smooth palate in the mouth.

I think VO Gold is actually aiming for the kind of palate I am looking for, it just needs more medium-age straight rye in there. Adding about 20% Pikesville or WT-type rye would help a lot, I think.

I intend these comments as constructive and welcome the (relatively rare) line extensions of our Canadian whisky brands..

Gary