Canadian Club Reserve 10 year old Canadian whisky

Canadian Club Reserve 10 years old (40% alc./vol.)

July 7, 2011


Sweet, peppery, and fruity, with a pleasing bitter zest. Hard, flinty, earthy rye tinged with cinnamon and ginger. Nice weight and creamy mouthfeel. Spicy Rye. ★★★★

Canadian Club is probably the best known Canadian whisky brand in the world; the first bottles appeared in the 1880’s and it is now available in over 150 countries. Originally, Hiram Walker let his Canadian Club whisky mature for seven years, then chose to offer it instead as a six-year-old version. In the early 1990′s, other bottlings, some of them even older, and based on four mash bills, were added to the line. This splendid ten-year-old Canadian Club rye whisky is typical of the hard-rye genre, displaying a steely firm foundation for luscious caramels, ripe fruit, and hot spices.

Nose: Citric notes, dried grain, flinty rye notes, then fruity. It smells slightly floral and remains vaguely citric, and just a little bit meaty. The nose changes over time, developing loads of fruity rye notes including hints of sherry, rich ripe black fruits, and sweet fruity aromatics. Did I detect a little bit of sweet-and-sour sauce in there? Why yes, I think I did.

Palate: Sweet and fruity with a pleasing bitter zest. Soon there’s hot pepper, a slight astringency like walnut skins, and lots of concentrated fruit. Under it all, a very pleasant rye bitterness keeps everything under control. It’s sweet, creamy, almost buttery, with lots of flavours yet somehow it seems quite simple. There are lots of hot spices, hints of fresh water plants – the earthiness of rye, then cinnamon, pepper, and maybe a hint of salt. It has nice weight and the slippery creaminess feels good in your mouth. It’s very fruity, but nothing really sticks out except maybe some stewed prunes. The vague hints of ginger and cinnamon are typical of whiskies with a high rye content. And slowly it develops a pleasant warming glow under all that peppery heat.

Finish: Medium-long. It becomes quite hot, then fades slowly and sweetly away with the typical underlying almost bitter-lemon rye zest that cleans the palate as it fades, leaving behind a few notes of cinnamon and ginger.

Empty Glass: Carmel, toffee, brown sugar, sweet cereal, fruit juice, slightly floral with cloves, mint, and dried fruit.

Canadian Club Reserve 10 year old is not just the regular Canadian Club aged for a few more years. No, the folks at Canadian Club have created a range of different whiskies, each one the result of tweaking Hiram Walker’s original recipe by changing the ratios of grains, using different types of barrels, and of course, varying the ageing times. The recipe for this version, Canadian Club Reserve, includes about 30% rye and rye malt. These, along with corn and barley malt distillates, are blended together as new spirit before being put in barrels to age.

About 40% of the blended spirit goes into new oak barrels which emphasize the spirit’s aggressive rye notes. The rest is matured in re-charred Jim Beam barrels. After ten years, the mature whiskies are brought together and re-blended before final bottling. So, even though the spirit that goes into CC Reserve is “barrel blended,” the whisky in the bottle has elements of both new and re-charred oak in it, and this is what makes it such a winning combination.

At $25.00 Canadian Club Reserve is a bargain indeed.

Highly recommended


Canadian Club 8 year old Sherry Cask reviewed here.
Canadian Club 12 year old Classic reviewed here.
Canadian Club 15 year old reviewed here.
Canadian Club 20 year old reviewed here.
Canadian Club 30 year old reviewed here.


31 Responses to “Canadian Club Reserve 10 years old (40% alc./vol.)”

  1. tim:

    Sounds like a very worthy whisky. I was so impressed with CC12 when I first tried it that I haven’t purchased anything else from their range – although I will now.

    For approx the same price I’ve been drinking Danfield’s 10 – any comparison?

    • Davin:

      Hi Tim,
      Danfield’s is ‘softer’ but nice whisky in its own right. All the Canadian Clubs have a certain house style – the fruitiness. The price is right; why not try CC 10 and see what you think.

  2. Tasting it for the first time at the Whisky Live Toronto with the CC ambassador i was so impressed by this bottling. This was my best canadian whisky last year, very surprising and quite impressive.

  3. Davin:

    Yeah, you really get a bang for your buck with the CC 10. It’s a great mixer, but not bad for sipping either.

  4. Roscoe:

    I’m a big fan of the CC12 as its a bit smoother and creamier for sipping. But I’ll be trying this sometime soon I’m sure. Curse you whisky blogs for making thing so delicious.

    • Davin:

      Hi Roscoe,
      Thanks for your comment. I like the 12 year old too, but it is a very different whisky than the 10. I find the 12 very sweet and creamy, like you do. Eventually there will be a review of the 12 year old on these pages.

  5. [...] Whisky Profile: Canadian Club Viewers of AMC’s Emmy and Golden Globe-winning television series, Mad Men will not be [...]

  6. Tim N:

    Pleased to find a glass 13 oz bottle of CC10. Very impressed with the nose: incredible amber-orange-steely-granite… Not as impressive on the palate but considering the price it is a Cndn rye that I would always like to have around.

  7. Keith Gardner:

    Now that my bottle of Canadian Mist is in the recycler, I will purchase CC 10 on your recommendation.

  8. Keith Gardner:

    It’s outstanding. I hope to identify some of the flavors you note–the smoothness is easily identified!

  9. Requiem:

    Utterly delicious. Thanks for your review and fine website, which I’ve recently discovered and have read in its entirety–looking forward to more posts, PS.

    I’ve just returned to whisky and have been exploring Canadian whisky seriously: I have been completely impressed and never realized how good we have it until now.

    I believe that Canadian whisky will continue to trend toward premium whiskies (that is to say excellent whiskies, not necessarily expensive ones). One quick comment about the CC Reserve 10 YO: it recalled Redbreast 12 YO, or maybe a dollop of the entry level Jameson. Is this heresy?

    Keep up your excellent work, Davin.

  10. JWS:

    This is extremely delicious!! After trying the CC12, I thought I might be disappointed with the CC10, but I am very impressed. This is a very smooth-drinking whisky, which I definitely will keep in my regular cabinet! Quite flavorful. The whole Canadian Club line has yet to be anything but a delight to drink.

  11. Keith Gardner:

    CC 10 is my favorite. Did not care for the 12 year. I just picked up a bottle of Canadian Club Reserve Aged 9 years in a pretty black bottle–hope you will review it!

  12. Tony Green:

    My wife and I love this blend. We are having a hard time finding it in South Carolina.

    • Davin:

      Try the 9-year-old Reserve. It’s called “Triple Aged” and is made to the same formula.

  13. Tom:

    Suddenly can’t find the 10 yr Reserve – all MI stores now stocking the 9 yr….and I much prefer the 10. Anyone know if the 10yr is being phased out?

    • Davin:

      Yes, to my knowledge the 9-year-old Reserve “Triple-Aged” will replace the ten. Both are made to the same specs, other than age.

  14. Evan Paul:

    I just purchased a 10 year off the shelf 6 days ago in Windsor Ontario Canada at the LCBO by Devonshire mall, where I live and this is made. I drink this several times a year. and i will stock up on the 10 just for the sake of it.

    • Davin:

      If you like the ten year old it’s a good idea to stock up as it is slowly being phased out in favour of the new triple-aged – a nine year old.

  15. Rick:

    We’ve been told at the NC liquor stores the past few months that CC stopped making the 10 – gone to 9 instead. Well, there’s no comparison. Imagine our surprise when we were in Ga today and found the CC 10 on the shelf! Has there been a stocking problem or are the folks in NC ill informed???

    • Davin:

      It is a slow transition, but yes, the 10-year-old Reserve is being discontinued in favour of the “Triple-aged” which is 9 years old. The changes will happen at different rates in different markets.

  16. Tony Green:

    Do anybody know where we can order the phased out 10years old CC reserve?

  17. Lynne Westlake:

    I am looking for unblended whiskey in Florida, is there such a thing. I noticed that CC is bottled in Illinois is that why it is blended.

    • Davin:

      CC is owned by a company with headquarters there. That’s all that means on the label. In the US it is called blended, in Canada it is not called blended. Depends on whose definition you are using.

  18. Garret:

    Hey, i have heard mixed reviews about Canadian Club me being a CR fan i find it hard to deviate from what i like (which isnt much seeing that i am 21).

    Would you say CC is worth me spending my limited pocket money on.

  19. Yello to Mello:

    I prefer the 9 year old to the 10 year which I never found to be too distinctive. It just seems to have a richer “straight” (deeper) profile like many lower shelf Canadian whiskies don’t have.

    Davin, the CC9 might be the closest profile of all CCs to the outstanding CC8 from Taiwan that you brought for the SofT masterclass last year. A step in a good direction.

  20. Stewart:

    What is a bottle of Canadian club “1973″ worth

    • Davin:

      $20 to $30 if the level is good. Sadly, Canadian whisky does not appreciate in value over the years.

  21. Jay:

    I have an unopened bottle with a tax stamp from 1979. What should I expect when I open it?

    • Davin:

      You will hear angels singing, gently at first then into a rising crescendo. You will lose all sense of time and place until the earth suddenly moves and wakens you to nirvana in your hand. Everything will be cast in a soft emerald green light then suddenly burst to gold as trumpets sound. The hairs on your arms will stand up, each an antenna tuned to a distant universe. Well, maybe not all that, but it’s good whisky and I think you’ll enjoy it. ;-)

  22. Beemer:

    Last weekend, I stopped to pick up some lunch after golfing, and went into a small liquor store that was in the same strip mall area in Houston (TX). I love dropping into Mom & Pop stores like this as you can occasionally find older hidden gems that are no longer available in larger (chain) stores (and often haven’t been for a while). Lo and behold, they had two 1.75L bottles of the 10 year old Reserve “on sale” for $25. I grabbed one. Haven’t tried it yet, but I’m looking forward to, one day soon, hearing those singing angels.

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