Saturday, May 14, 2016

Whisky Review: Canadian Club Chairman's Select 100% Rye

The best selling spirit in the United States is Canadian whisky.  Why?  A number of reasons for this like:  it's affordable or down right cheap in price, the flavor profile appeals to a lot of people as Canadian whisky is typically smooth and somewhat sweet, and finally it tends to make for a damn good mixed drink.  Marries well with the likes of ginger ale and other sodas.

In the past, Canadian whisky was not regarded as a worthwhile drink to be sipped neat.  Times have changed.  In the past few years, Canadian whisky has undergone a renaissance of sorts.  A lot of innovation has taken place and a lot of money has been spent to improve this category by the companies that own the many famous brands.  Canadian Club is not an exception.

$27 in Canada

Alberta Distillers, Calgary, Alberta, Canada


Age Statement
None on the label but the component whiskies making up this blend, according to reliable sources has been aged for 7 years.

Plastic twist off cap.

Nose (undiluted)
Surprisingly floral.  Hints of roses, wet leaves, like the damp air you inhale as you walk through a forest following a light rainfall.

Palate (undiluted)
Gorgeous rye bread gives way to sweet oak, vanilla, cloves, a dusting of thyme and sage, red fruits and berries.

Finish (undiluted)
Cleansing, fresh, cinnamon, zesty wild honey on darkened rye toast.

General Impressions
This is an amazing value for money proposition!  $27 for a bottle of 100% rye whisky that is perfectly balanced without bitterness, bite or any offensive qualities, yet at the same time sufficiently interesting that you will have no hesitation in returning to time and time again for another reward of artisan rye bread, caramelized oak flavors and a nice lingering finish.

I am not a fan of the standard bottling of Canadian Club, and so was really leery about this brand extension, but I had a friend that insisted it was worth a go, so tried it and was really impressed.  The price may be cheap, but the quality is there.  I did read somewhere that Beam-Suntory (brand owner) put a lot of thought into the price, and the theory is that they are trying to lure in younger consumers who cannot afford higher price points.  This could have easily been priced $15 higher, and would have found a market waiting for it.

This is a highly recommended bottle for someone who is wondering what is the big deal about Canadian whisky and interested in a fine example of this whisky category that can be enjoyed neat.


Jason Debly

P.S.  As much as I like Canadian Club Chairman's Select 100% Rye, I cannot say the same for another Canadian Club release Canadian Club Small Batch Classic 12 yrs.  The latter is too sweet, cheap caramel notes, overly oaked and the nose is raw rubbing alcohol the nurse swabs your shoulder with before the big needle!  Not recommended.