View Full Version : New CC's

10-10-2004, 12:49
Two new Canadian Clubs are available: one is Canadian Club 20 years old, the other is Founders Whisky. The former is the CC norm of 40% abv but Founder's is 43.4%. Founders on the paper strip over the stopper cork is stated as, "Imported", so clearly it is mainly available in duty free and other export markets. Both are about $50 (CAN) each.

I found them good of their kind but withal, disappointing. They are resolutely in the Canadian Club mold, just more so: more cedar chest/cigar box in nose and taste, more oak, more tannin.

There is, I think, some real rye whisky in the newbies, especially in the 20 year old, but the effect is hardly noticeable, there is a light steely taste at the end which seems to denote the flavouring whisky element. The Founders Whisky states no age by the way but I suspect it may contain whisky of 25 years of age or older.

The approach here is to give us what is already in the market, just more of it as stated above. Arguably however Canadian whisky, comprised mostly of a high proof spirit base, does not benefit from more than 10-15 years of oak barrel aging. Founders Whisky in particular has a tannic edge I find somewhat unpleasant. The 20 year old is better, disclosing good sweetness and an oaky complexity, but again, for a company which releases new whisky only rarely, it isn't that much of a change from the CC status quo ante.

The way to go, in my view, is to release whisky with a greater proportion of straight (flavoring) whisky, especially rye whisky. The withdrawal of Lot 40 from the market, and the release of these new CC's, suggests this is not how Hiram Walker wants to do it. Fair enough, but I don't believe these new products offer much that is really new and arguably they are not as good as the existing CC's in the 10-15 year old range.


10-10-2004, 18:52
I was looking again at the CC website (www.canadianclubwhisky.com). Here is a statement:

"The two flavouring whiskies made from rye grain [earlier it is explained rye and rye malt are used, i.e., raw rye and malted rye] are also distilled initially through the column still, but at a lower alcoholic strength in order to produce a higher grain character in the flavour. They are then further refined in a copper pot still, enhancing the flavour components".

So, an American-style rye distillate is produced which is added to the high proof base. The proportions are not given but surely it would be less than 10% of the whole (judging by the taste).

I have advised to add some true (low proof) rye whiskey to a finished Canadian whisky to make it more interesting. I still feel this is valid, and some Canadian distilleries do just that (also adding or blending other low proof grain distillates such as a corn (bourbon-type) or barley (Irish/Scottish type) whisky). However I now realise Hiram Walker does not do this. Seagram does (I believe) but not Hiram Walker. Why? Because the website mentioned lays great stress on "barrel blending" in the CC process. Hiram Walker blend at the white dog stage and then lay away the barrels for 6-20 years. They say in the website that they are the only whisky distillery that does this. Therefore, they will not have in inventory aged whiskies comprised solely of the rye and rye malt straights - they don't have those straights and they aren't straights, in other words. The rye whisky white dog goes in with the high proof whisky from day one, to make something that in a sense is like a combination of aged high and low proof whiskies but also is something different. The distillates are joined at the hip from the beginning, this is the key..

Lot 40 must have been an exception, either that or it was a usual CC blend but containing a much higher amount of rye or rye malt white dog than is usual for any CC whisky.

However Seagram does, I believe, make purely "straight" rye whiskies to be added to their aged high proof whisky. So, I still feel it is legitimate to add Lot 40 or a straight U.S. rye to a finished whisky such as any CC or other Canadian whisky, to make it more tasty that is, but I see now that CC really has forsaken the straight rye whisky tradition even in vestigal form: their whole approach and history is to make whisky in a different way, it is not a question that is of the relative proportions in the bottle of finished true rye and high proof whiskies, changing over the years in favour of the latter.

The story is rather different than that.

Does this make sense? I think so. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif