Rye whiskey has come and gone into favor over the centuries and guess what? It’s coming back again! In the late 1700’s and early 1800’s distillers were selling one half barrel for each man, woman and child in the country. Prohibition pretty much killed off rye production in the USA and that dearth of rye continued on into the 1960’s. Rye has been enjoying a small but growing revival in the USA with more producers experimenting with rye whiskey and several even marketing aged rye whiskey.
We kind of sort of know a bit about how this rye is made but we haven’t got a clue as to its age. First and foremost it’s 100% rye which greatly exceeds the minimum content requirement of 51% rye in the USA. Canadian Club then ages its rye in new white American oak barrels, once used bourbon barrels and Canadian whiskey barrels and then blends to taste. American rye has to be aged at least 3 years in order to be called rye while Canada does not seem to have such a requirement so your guess is about as good as mine as to how old components of this Canadian Club rye might be.
Well, enough of this guessing and supposing and prognosticating, let’s go ahead and try this stuff. It comes in a squat and sturdy looking clear bottle with a green label and neck. The contents, a honey colored spirit, compliments that green label. The nose is quite soft and well rounded and features subtle traces of oak, honey, vanilla and pepper. The palate presents pretty creamy and warm with caramel and oak and rye and cloves. The finish is just barely spicy and leaves the flavor of rye, oak and vanilla and caramel in the mouth for a medium amount of time. This is a well balanced rye that is both sweet and smooth and could be served straight up or on the rocks as well as mixed into a decent Manhattan, Old Fashioned or even a Sazerac.
Canadian Club 100% Rye launched in the USA market in May 2016 with a suggested retail price point of $19.99 for a 750ML bottle at 40% ABV (80 proof).
By George Brozowski