In Florida recently on holidays, I visited family that have a bar with some 1980's-era items. One was a 1.75 litre of Seagram's 7 Crown with the red strip stamp of the time on it. The bottle had not been opened until I did so, and until now I hadn't ever tasted 7 Crown. I bought a mickey of the current 7 Crown to compare the older one to. The current one states on the label 66% grain neutral sprits so the remainder clearly is aged straight whiskey. The 1980's bottle does not state the amount of gns (if any) in it. The 1980's bottling has the same label information as the current one except (tellingly, I think) the 1980's label also states, "smooth, rich, full-flavored" on it.
In fact, the difference in taste was noticeable, to the favor of the 1980's version. That one was deep in flavour with evident sweetness and a caramel, almost brandy-like undertone with good length. I could detect no gns-like odor or taste in this whiskey. The current 7 Crown has a light odour of gns and was lighter and sharper in taste than the other 7 Crown - it is just not as good as the 1980's-era bottle, in my opinion. Also, the colour of the oldie was darker, not by a whole lot, but the difference was noticeable. In the 80's Seagram was still controlled by the Bronfman's, now it isn't. I don't know if that explains anything. The current one is good whiskey but the 1980's was superlative, as good I think as a blended whiskey can be and that is very good. Can it be the 1980's tasted originally like the current one but got better in the bottle over 20 years? I will never know the answer to that for sure, but suspect 7 Crown was just a better whiskey 20 years ago.