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Canadian Club 45 year old launch

Today we were gathered at the prestigious Hy Steakhouse, assembled on their private upper floor for a very special occasion. This was the launch of Canadian Club 45 Year Old, Canada’s oldest aged whisky, and the grand finale of Canadian Club’s legendary Chronicles Series. As attendees, we were given the ability to try their ultra-premium spirit, as we were taken on a unique tasting experience promising to transport us through the decades and the portfolio. Starting with their 41 year old whisky and working our way to the acclaimed 45 year old.

Invitees were grouped together and were walked through each year by a local whisky expert. We were given a brief history lesson and notes on what we should be discerning on the nose and then on the palate. The following is an account of all 5 bottles.

As groups worked their way though, those left waiting were able to mix and mingle at the bar. Attendees enjoyed one of 2 specialty Canadian Club cocktails, prepared special for the occasion. The Whisky Smash featured Canadian Club’s classic 12 year old with a mix of simple syrup, lemon wedges, and mint leaves; muddled, shaken and double strained over ice. This was a refreshing spritz that ignites the appetite. And the Cran Apple Mule featured Canadian Club 100% rye alongside honey syrup, apple juice, and cranberry juice. Mixed together and pour over ice before being top off with ginger beer. This was similar to a Moscow mule, but with a more fruity sweetness.

And what is drink without a little food, Hy’s staff brought around luxury bites from their renowned kitchen. Fresh folds of salmon topped with caviar, dollops of lush foie gras, juicy scallops topped with candied bacon, bruschetta bites finished with creamy burrata cheese, and the show stopping roast lam lollipops eaten from off bone.

When it was my assigned group’s time for the walk through, we began with a crash course on how to properly nose and smell our whisky. Your first sniff should be at a distance, allowing your olfactory to get use to the sharpness of the alcohol content. The second breath into the glass allows you to actually take in the whisky’s true notes. For the 41 year old we were getting toffee and caramel on the nose. When it came time to sip, we were told to chew the whisky in order to have it fully coat our mouth and palate. In the sipping we made out spice from the rye, a nuttiness from the cognac, and a dry fruity plum from the sherry included.

Our Canadian Club 42 year old was given the nickname “Dock man” and it was all about the rye. It paid homage to the prohibition era with its ever-present high rye whiskies. The result was a spiciness on the nose with a sweeter baking spice finish on the palate. With corn at its base this whisky read sweeter and creamier of brown sugar.

Canadian Club 43 was “The Speakeasy” with less rye. It had apricot and a floral-honey essence on the nose, while simultaneously read of toasted oak and rich leather. Someone in the group commented that it smelled like driving a new car. On the palate you get a smooth viscosity with a good spice at the back of your throat. I found it ended sweeter with dried fruit and a bit of brown sugar.

Canadian Club 44 year old was “The Whisky Sixes”, as it came about in an era where 6-cylinder engines were introduced. The story here is that these engines made vehicles so fast and efficient that they were able to outrun the police. Meaning, smugglers were able to bring Canadian Club into Detroit during the prohibition. These drivers played a substantial role in keeping Americans satiated with Canadian whisky. The 44 is a corn whisky in a first fill Amercian white oak barrel. It includes a touch of malted rye and sherry for tasting, to balance out the palate and add extra layers of depth. This one had vanilla and caramel notes with a bit of sweetness coming through as chocolate and dry fruit. This was light and approachable, and formally the oldest aged whisky with an age statement.

And finally, we made our way to the oldest Canadian whisky ever released. The 45 year old is a single grain whisky, the purest single grain that was laid to rest 45 years ago. It comes with a sad story, as the grain sat unattended in the warehouse due to their head distiller passing on. They eventually decided to bottle this, creating a 50% ABV whisky with a bit of influence from the barrel used. Although the single grain here definitely shines through. Speaking for myself, there was gasoline on the nose with a similarly accompanying sharp taste, this I would have preferred chilled.

As taken from the press release, “This “Iconic” Expression Celebrates Canadian Club’s Role in Historical Events & Popular Culture Over the Past 160+ Years. Batched and barrelled in 1977, Canadian Club 45 Year Old’s golden amber colour presents an enticing blend of warm pear, baking spices, toffee, and a hint of leather on the nose, while bringing forward an espresso crema on the mouth, balanced with wine, poached pear, and the nutty sweetness of praline. The spirit delivers a well-rounded, smooth, and lingering finish that speaks to the exceptional quality of the locally grown grains.”

If the opportunity presents itself, I suggest you take it and try any of these time capsule whiskies that speak to the history of Canada in a most remarkable way.

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