In my ongoing series on new or interesting Canadian whiskies, here is a note on this well-aged example of the latter I picked up in Toronto recently. Actually, I can't improve on a description by a wine taster reproduced on the brand site, www.centuryreserve.ca. In my words briefly I'd say this is toffee-like, sweetish and with a good malty-like body. It may start off (I assume) as a mostly high proof light-bodied cereal spirit but 21 years in cask gives it excellent flavour and body. As I mentioned in my earlier posts, I believe it is mostly the barrels doing the work. This is Canadian whisky at its best. On the site I mentioned, the others of the Century Reserve line-up (at least as domestically available) are mentioned including the 13 year old single cask I hadn't liked nearly as much as the 21 year old. I can see that additional aging would bring the 13 year old closer to the palate of the 21 year old. The younger of the two is a bit "spiky" in taste (possibly from rye in the low-proof component of the spirit, if there is one) and not nearly as well-knitted as its older brother. No doubt some people like the younger flavour (there is even an 8 year old) so there is something for everyone. These are excellent values since the younger ones (including the 13 year old) don't sell for more than 20-some dollars Canadian. The 21 year old is about 35 dollars Canadian, certainly a bargain.
On the website, it is stated that the new spirit is brought down to only 40% ABV for barreling. This sounds quite low to me and suggests that they do this to increase extract from the barrel. True, they are using more barrels (than if they entered at higher proofs) but they are using mainly (I would think) reused barrels which are much cheaper than new ones. I speculate that this low entry proof gives the extract type and degree they want from the barrel, and since the barrel is a large part of the character of Canadian whisky, they will want to be particularly careful with this stage of the process.