Score: 85 points
This is the flagship of the Canadian Club line and one of the top selling Canadian whiskies on the market. It’s changed over the last couple of years as a new wood policy put in place after Beam acquired the brand in 2005 starts to make an impact for the better. This is a clear example of what influence wood can have on a whisky, and what can happen when a whisky producer starts to invest in better-quality barrels.
Older bottles will have a nose with soft spices, brown sugar and a hint of molasses. The taste has notes of black licorice, lemon peel, hint of almonds and oak. The finish lingers pleasantly with a soft allspice note and an underlying hint of honey.
Bottles released starting in 2013 are much more intense, even though the whisky remains at 40% ABV. The nose has good notes of allspice and nutmeg, balanced by butterscotch and honey. The taste has nutmeg, cinnamon, honey, brown sugar, and a hint of clove. The finish is long with slowly fading spices.
My long-standing score for this whisky has been 80 points, but the new version gets an 85 for its intensity and balance. (January, 2014)