About a month ago, I received email from fellow whisky nuts, Davin de Kergommeaux (canadianwhisky.org) and Chip Dykstra (The Rum Howler Blog). These Canadian guys operate their respective spirits review websites, and wanted to know if I was interested in participating in reviewing the same whisky and post simultaneously in front of you, the reader. You get the bonus of three points of view. I thought hmmm . . . could be interesting. It would also be a welcome change for you the reader, who may be tired of my pop culture analogies of how a whisky performs on my untrained palate. So, I thought, what the hell! I have nothing to lose . . . other than my dignity, reputation and the budding friendship of two, whacky whisky boob, internet acquaintances.
Canadian Club 30 year old whisky
In 2008, to mark the 150th year of the distillery, Canadian Club 30 years old was released. Davin and Chip also selected it as the first of possibly a series of whiskies to be reviewed.
I am Canadian, and so, am familiar with the Canadian Club brand. In my college days, I drank Crown Royal. Didn't care for 'CC' as it is often termed lovingly by its' legions of fans. I found the standard bottling rather sweet, kinda like perfume. In college, I sought out perfume, but wanted it accompanied by a female body, not a whisky bottle! That's my knowledge of this brand. Ok, let's move on to the 30 year old (err whisky that is . . .):
Fragrant rye, roses and vanilla.
Big rye flavor that brings to mind certain great American bourbons. Maple sugar, hickory and massive oak towering overhead. Nevertheless, the flavors are all in balance with a nice symmetry.
Cinnamon and a ginger intensity merging into a fast moving stream of vanilla. A little spice here at the tail end, but not a lot.
Super smooth. Balanced. Polite. Much like Canadian people abroad. "Yes, sir" or "Please" or "May I know the time?" This whisky is not taking any chances, because risk taking in distilling involves the possibility of offending. No one will take offence here. Smooth, no nasty, naked alcohol rolling around on the palate. Everyone has their clothes on at this party.
So, as a gift for ol' grandad, he'll sure be happy. A pleasant enough drink. That's for sure. But, at nearly $200 a bottle, your more serious whisky fan (me, myself & I) will not be impressed. Question: Why? Answer: Canadian Club 30 years does not roll out a flavor profile of any great complexity. You literally taste in the most linear and uninspiring fashion: rye, vanilla and oak followed by cinnamon and ginger on the finish.
Remember the stodgy narrator, the wheelchair bound criminoligist of the Rocky Horror Picture Show? What do crowds of college students repeatedly shout at the top of their lungs, the world over, standing defiantly in the aisles, at midnight screenings of that ridiculously funny film? Boring! Boring! Boring!
I have the same sentiment as I sip Canadian Club 30 years old. It's just not doing anything for me. This whisky is not worth the price. Buy Gibson's Finest Rare 18 years, another Canadian whisky, that is a fraction of the price, and enjoy a flavor profile that is just as satisfying. Canadian Club 30 years is proof that age statements are not definitive of quality.
At $200 a bottle, you expect to be 'wowed.' You want some 'pizazz.' Not a slice of white bread! This is vanilla when I am expecting neapolitan flavor ice cream.
Ever heard the saying: "If there is not enough work in a small town for one lawyer, there is always enough for two?" Same holds true for whisky reviewers. At least with this review, there is a triumvirate of sorts. If you want to read the review of a recognized authority of Canadian whisky, visit Davin de Kergommeaux's site here for his take on CC 30. If you want to read another review of a rum expert, who analyzed Canadian Club 30, try Chip Dykstra's site.
Copyright © Jason Debly, 2009-2011. All rights reserved. Poster owns no copyright to image of Rock Horror Picture Show which is posted for the purposes of nostalgia, education and entertainment.