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Drink Review: Canadian Club Reserve 9 Year Old

A step up the Canadian Club scale, a whisky aged for nine years before bottling. Peppery and fruity with balanced sweetness and bitter oak.

Canadian Club Reserve 9 Year Review:

Despite being the 9th release in the Canadian Club line, this whisky feels very much like a 6.5 year old product. It’s tasty, well balanced between fruity and peaty notes and full of spice. It reminds me partially of that Speyside style from Diageo’s other Canadian whisky, which is likely why the Canadian Club line was developed. Like other Canadian Club products (black label) the presentation of this whisky is very nice, but I can’t wrap my head around the marketing of the line.

The main difference to the 6.5 year old product is the peat. The nose is very fruit forward with notes of apple and pear. The pallet is warzi fruit with hints of almond and nuts. The finish is clean and short although still with some petrol and a subtle peat.

Whisky feels like it has been cellared for 9 years. At 100 proof it feels a little rough around the edges, a bit tannic and quite salty. It also feels a little tough to get into and your first sip is probably going to be a little rough.

The next sip will be sweet with fruity notes, the combo of notes reminds me of a Canadian Club Black Label at about twice the price. For some this whisky can seem a bit of a muddle, having different flavours from the nose and the palate at the same time.

Canada’s Classic Whisky and Canadian Club’s Flagship Range Enter – A 9 Year Aged Black Label.

When I opened the bottle, I was greeted with a peaty nose that was very forward and oily. To be honest I was expecting the alcohol to be more obvious at the same proof and really round off the flavours. This is because there are a couple of low-proof Canadian Club products (low 100 proof) i.e., the 6.5 year old, followed by the Reserve 9. The obvious first impression is that the 9 year is peatier than the standard 6.5 year old, and overall a different whisky.

The initial mouth feel is a little awkward, you can almost feel it trying to fight back towards the sides. The initial sweetness is delicate and berry, quite similar though the fruitiness is more noticeable in the 6.5 and the 9 in comparison. The finish is clean with a soft peaty note (I did not pick up any oak) and slightly salty. The finish is delicately sweet but otherwise not very complex.

Like the 6.5 year old this whisky has a slight acidic bite in the middle of the palate, and slightly again at the finish. I found the 9 year to be a bit smoother and more drinkable than the 6.5 year old but far from sweet, the big difference is that the 9 year feels more peaty in comparison.

The 9 year is a solid step up in style and flavour from the 6.5. With the extra 10 years of cask development, the 9 year really shows off it’s full fruity and peaty profile. Unlike the 6.5 year which finishes with a bitterness, this whisky has a soft peaty finish which is very appealing. The cask strength of 100 proof is well commented on in the whisky so the 9 year really packs a punch. There is also a fair amount of tannic bitterness, mainly on the tongue and roof of the mouth that is quite easily taken away with a second sip, I found the 9 year to be much tannic than the 6.5 that has a mild drying effect.

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Canadian Club Reserve 9 Year Review:

9 years old, 100% aged in American Oak, the top layer of the wood has been removed after 9 years for more intense flavour. Aged in Sauterne wine casks for almost 9 years to give complexity and subtlety.

The 9 year is an impressive whisky, it seems to have inherited some of the qualities of Canadian Club’s 60 year Scotch, which is also given a 9 year maturation. This whisky is very good in both its ‘feeling’ and it’s ‘smell’. The main difference to the 6.5 year old is that the 9 year’s notes are much more peaty and I think the extra 20 years in cask does something to the flavour. The main difference to the 6.5 year old is that the 9 year is much smoother; you get the soft peaty notes at the nose but instead of slightly messy notes, you get a balanced mixture of fruity, woody and spicy flavours.

The peat is there, but it isn’t overpowering and isn’t too overwhelming or hot. It’s got an edge of spiciness – an aftertaste of tobacco – that builds up and at the finish leaves you wanting another sip before moving on.

The 9 year is different to the 6.5 because the 9 year seems to have picked up some of the 60 year’s characteristics. It is still a young whisky but the 9 year is a step up from the 6.5. It seems to have a balance of fruity notes providing sweetness, plus an oakiness that complements the flavours. There’s complexity with interesting flavours of honey, spice and chocolate; a peppery note similar to a well-aged Armagnac; and a faint, bitter taste that is only noticeable at the finish. All reasons to keep reaching for the bottle.

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Written by Mark Adams

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