Canadian Club continues to dip into its reserves for the annual release of its Chronicles aged whisky collection. Inspired by the success of a 40-year-old whisky released to honour the nation’s 150th birthday, Canadian Club just launched the third in this series, a 43-year-old whisky, and plans to follow suit with 44- and 45-year-old whiskies. The remaining stock will be left until it reaches 50 years of age.
Tish Harcus, Canadian Club’s brand ambassador, explains two lots were distilled and put into barrels in August and September, 1977. “We were taking care of it all of these years but had no idea what we should do with it,” she says.
Canada 150 festivities presented an opportunity to craft a surprisingly intense whisky to celebrate the legacy of Canadian Club’s operations in Windsor, Ont. Collectors were quick to snatch up the inventory, which inspired this ultra-aged series. Each Chronicles release carries an alternative name, such as The Water of Windsor or The Dock Man. The latest is dubbed The Speakeasy and harks back back to Al Capone’s visits to the distillery during prohibition days.
Each Chronicles release is based on the same batch, circa 1977, but presents different expressions thanks to careful blending. It’s not just a case of the whisky being one year older, Harcus says. It’s a chance to innovate. Canadian law allows distilleries to add up to 9 per cent of other spirits. In the case of Chronicles, older cognac, rye and sherry have contributed to the finished blend. The complexity of the current release makes it truly exceptional. It, like each of these recommended whiskies, is distinctive and enjoyable, making for a thoughtful gift or special bottle to enjoy over the holidays.
Bearface 7 Year Old Triple Oak Canadian Whisky, $39.95
Bearface gains intense sweet and spicy flavours and complexity from time spent in French oak barrels that had been used to age red wine and new Hungarian oak casks. Its bold character makes it suitable for cocktails. Available at the above price in Ontario, $39.99 in British Columba and Manitoba, various prices in Alberta, $40.49 in Saskatchewan, $40.25 in Quebec, $39.99 in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, $39.23 in Newfoundland.
Canadian Club 43 Year Old Chronicles Series “The Speakeasy”, $319.95
Seriously complex aromas and a rich character make this aged Canadian whisky something to savour. I actually used the word dusty to describe its dry, spicy nuances. It’s worth the splurge for collectors and connoisseurs looking to taste history. Available in Ontario at the above price, $289.99 in British Columbia various prices in Alberta, $294.99 in Saskatchewan, $284.99 in Manitoba, $319.98 in Newfoundland.
Eau Claire Distillery Rupert’s Exceptional Canadian Whisky, $35.99
Rupert’s is the first year-round whisky offering from Alberta’s Eau Claire, which attracts a lot of attention from with its single-malt whisky release each November. The fresh and smooth style, with appealing fruit, toffee and nutty notes, makes this really enjoyable. Available direct through eauclairedistillery.com.
Jim Beam Old Tub Straight Bourbon, $41.99
Old Tub is inspired by the original unfiltered whiskey made by the Beam family more than 100 years ago. Full bodied and aromatic, this is shaped by cereal, caramel and vanilla notes. It’s enjoyable served neat or as the base of a classic cocktail. Available in British Columbia at the above price, various prices in Alberta, $44.99 in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Miyagikyo Single Malt Whisky, $92.15
This easy-to-appreciate single malt comes from Nikka’s distillery in Sendai. It’s a nice introduction to the lighter style of Japanese whisky. A pleasant mix of sweet and savoury notes gains interest from subtle peat smoke, pepper and seaweed notes. Available in Ontario at the above price, $94.99 in British Columbia, various prices in Alberta, $92.50 in Quebec.
The Dalmore 12 Year Old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky, $99.95
Crowd-pleasing Dalmore makes the most of its smooth and honeyed character. The aromas and flavours suggest coffee, citrus and fruitcake, with a long, lingering finish. Available in Ontario at the above price ($89.95 until Jan. 3), $99.99 in British Columbia ($85.99 until Jan. 2), various prices in Alberta $104.99 in Manitoba, $89.75 in Quebec, $99.99 in New Brunswick.
The Macallan Sherry Oak 12 Year Old, $149.95
Matured in sherry-seasoned oak casks, this sweetly fragrant and complex single malt offers attractive marmalade and sultana fruit notes as part of its smooth nature. It’s a serious showcase of Macallan’s house style. Available in Ontario at the above price, $134.99 in British Columbia, various prices in Alberta, $150 in Quebec, $149.99 in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland.
The Sexton Single Malt Irish Whiskey, $49.95
Made from malted barley, triple distilled in copper pot stills and aged in sherry casks, this mellow and smooth Irish whisky comes in an eye-catching black hexagonal bottle. Offering toffee, dried fruit and spicy oak notes, The Sexton is part of the Proximo Spirits family, which includes Bushmills and tequila brands Jose Cuervo and 1800 Tequila. Available in Ontario at the above price, $51.99 in British Columbia, various prices in Alberta, $52.49 in Saskatchewan, $49.99 in Manitoba, $49.75 in Quebec.
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