Canadian Club Sherry Cask 8 year old photo

Canadian Club Sherry Cask (41.3% alc./vol.) Batch SC-018

July 9, 2011

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Rich and very fruity– from raisins to peaches to berries. Sweet hot tobacco, black tea, pencil shavings, pepper and baking spices. Fruity & Spicy. ★★★★☆

So what is a “batch” of whisky? The term has been bandied about for decades and used to make whiskies seem more exclusive but it was never really defined. That is, until now. For Canadian Club, we now know that a “small batch” of their 8-year-old, sherry-cask whisky begins life when exactly 27 Jerez sherry butts are filled with fully-matured, barrel-blended, 6-year-old Canadian Club whisky. This whisky is then left in these particular butts for two additional years in order to draw the rich, oaky, fruity flavours from the Spanish sherry wood.
Sherry butts are expensive and not that easy to come by. But Canadian Club is part of the Fortune Brands family, as is John Harvey & Sons, who also happen to be the makers of Harvey’s Bristol Cream sherry. Thus, the whisky-makers at Canadian Club have an inside source. And clearly, they know how to use it to their advantage. Which also happens to be ours.

Transferring whisky to a second barrel for finishing is not a typical technique in the Canadian whisky industry, but then again, neither is Canadian Club Sherry Cask your stereotypical Canadian whisky. Rather, this rich, robust, flavourful potation, while most definitely Canadian whisky, is more reminiscent of wine-finished single malts. So much so, in fact, that frankly, many Canadian whisky aficionados may not know immediately quite what to make of it. So take your time, savour it, and feel it developing on your tongue and in your glass.

The distillery is now working on batch 23, and each batch is a little bit different from the others. This bottle, from batch 18, certainly makes me curious to try the others.

Nose: Rich and robust aromas begin with unusually fruity tobacco notes, but also black tea, dust, and raisins. The fruitiness develops into dark, dried, and over-ripe fruit, along with fresh peaches, purple plums, fresh apples, strawberry jam, and grape Kool-Aid. This rich and complex fruitiness is balanced against some quite sharp notes, including bitter tobacco, dry oak, and pencil shavings. But it is the fresh sawdust and hints of lumber that finally draw them into the whole. Rye grain also shines through in vaguely floral aromas, along with typical rye baking spices. And after leaving it for eight years in wood, the blender has managed to retain just a little whiff of spirit. For all the world this whisky noses like a wine-finished single malt.

Palate: Oh my goodness, is this stuff good! It tastes like a top-grade cognac-cured cigar, with burning fruity pipe tobacco deep in your throat, while sharp dried currents and soft black raisins tickle your tongue. Pepper, sherry, and dark fruits intertwine, but it’s the persistent half-bitter tobacco-smoke heat that thrills. And underneath it all rich oaky tones blend seamlessly into the tobacco. This is decidedly gentlemen’s club whisky, to be sipped from a snifter while seated in a brass-tacked over-stuffed leather wingback reading Foreign Affairs, The New Yorker, Watch World, or the like.

The sherry casks have worked their magic as a generic fruity sweetness with hints of oak caramels moves from rich dark fruits to dried ones, including prunes, figs, and maybe dates. The tobacco-black fruit interaction is quite complex and from it emerges a wonderfully woody flourish which includes dry oak, bitter tannins, and fresh-cut cedar. Hints of black and Earl Grey tea supplement the refreshing bitterness of the oak-tobacco continuum. If that is not enough, hot pepper bursts in then quickly transforms into the sensation of hot, slightly bitter, cigar smoke in the throat with lasting peppery heat on the sides of the tongue.

Additional sips fairly sear the lips with their power. And then an almost waxy creaminess materializes to hold it all together as the palate grows warmer and warmer. Hints of Rum and Butter chocolate bar send the palate in a new direction before a bitter citric zest, hints of lime juice, and some grapefruit pith tidy it up towards the end. It’s a sherried whisky for sure, but this is still rye with its signature hints of cloves and ginger. And despite all this complexity and tight integration, the whisky remains both bright and youthful.

Finish: Long, fading gradually into sherry wood and hot pepper. Hints of hot tobacco, some zestiness, with traces of cream sherry and baking spices.

Empty Glass: Oaky, with hints of caramel. Just the vaguest dark fruit, sweet fruit, and ripe fruit.

$35.00 at LCBO.
Highly recommended. ★★★★☆

Canadian Club 10 year old Reserve 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.


Comments

32 Responses to “Canadian Club Sherry Cask (41.3% alc./vol.) Batch SC-018”

  1. Now this looks like one I’d defintitely want to check out.
    My CC experience is limited to their rather bland basic blend so far, and I’d be happy to see that they also have some crackers in their range.

  2. John:

    I recently opened this bottle and I love it. While the distillery is working on another batch, is the whisky still aging in the sherry casks? do you know what number their last batch will be?

    • Davin:

      Hi John,
      I’m sure they have a number of batches on the go at any one time.

  3. Yello to Mello:

    I seen the word ‘spirit’ in the nose notes – pass…JK :D

    I always wanted to try this and something always came up. Most of the time I needed to replenish my 40 Creek BS instead…lol. I guess after reading this I have to try a batch now.

  4. Mike:

    This is awesome whisky, one of the best Canadians in my opinion. I would definitely take it over Barrel Select. Much more finesse and maturity in the flavour. People complain about this being over-sherried yet people flock to heavily sherried malts. I don’t get it.

    • Davin:

      Hi Mike,
      Yes, I agree, really great whisky. I am a big fan of sherry malts too. I think that might be why I like this whisky so much.

  5. tyche:

    Wow, this is good news. I have a couple bottles from batch 12 I have been nursing because I thought it wasn’t made anymore. I love this stuff, it is much sweeter than anything from 40 Creek. Two completely different tastes but both excellent drinks.

  6. Yello to Mello:

    I had 4 big drams of this last night, I couldnt help it.
    I always wanted to know what you thought about this, after seeing your MM scores of sherry malts. I think I might like this as much as you do! Is this supposed to be like the Canadian Abunadh?

    • Davin:

      Hi,
      A’bunadh has a lot higher abv. Sherry Cask is its own whisky, and a great one at that, but sometimes if reminds me of some of the wine-finished Bruichladdichs, especially on the palate. Maybe that should be in my tasting notes.
      I’m glad you like it. And can you believe the price? Talk about bang for your buck.
      Davin

  7. Tim N:

    Ontario finally gets a better price on a whisky than Alberta. I’ve only seen this bottling a couple of times, and it has always been in the mid $45+. I’ll check the LCBO next time I’m out that way.

  8. John Velocci:

    Davin, have you tried multiple batches? Does this whisky get better has the batch number gets higher?

    • Davin:

      Hi John,
      Sorry, I have tried two bottles, both from the same batch.

  9. Yello to Mello:

    I had a batch 20 now, I didnt analyze it too much but I remember liking batch 18 more. I still see some batch 18 available so I might compare sometime.

  10. Ray:

    I found two bottles of batch 12 collecting dust at a local package store at $24 each. Oh my, I would return immediately if there were more. Thanks for the review and recommendation!

  11. Shaggy:

    While I prefer Forty Creek Barrel Select for an everyday drink, the Canadian Club Sherry Cask is probably my second favorite <$50 bottle.

    The very first batch had a slightly different feel to the label, a "nicer" feeling paper and had a wooden top as opposed to the plastic that's there now. I preferred this batch to all other subsequent ones, but I always keep a bottle of this in the liquor cabinet.

  12. Darko Vusir:

    Are there different flavours in different cask numbers?

    I have SC016. but I see SC018, and SC020 on shelves at the LCBO

    • Yello to Mello:

      Hi Darko, as I mentioned a few months back here, the SC018 was more memorable to me than the SC020. There are slight variances that can be detected. I have just bought a batch 18 today at my local LCBO ($2 off now :) ) as it seems to be mostly 20s and only see one 18 left but they had lots at the Queens Quay store. It was my experience that I enjoyed the batch 18 more but I havent yet tried them head to head.

  13. Barry:

    Do anybody know how many year of Sherry cask ?

  14. CC_Traveler:

    Is Sherry Cask sold in Duty Free Americas stores ?

    • Davin:

      Sorry, I just don’t know. Anybody out there seen it in duty free?

  15. JWS:

    I have the SC-020 bottling of this whisky and it is very impressive. One of the BEST whiskies I have EVER tasted. I love the fruit notes, and it definitely has a great sherry influence. As a sherry drinker (I LOVE Amontillado), I was eager to try it, and I am not disappointed, and will definitely keep this one in my regular rotation. I have just started tasting/drinking different whiskies in the last few months, and have found that I like Canadian whisky the best so far. This and Crown Royal Black have been my favorites so far.

  16. Ricky Alehander N.O, LA:

    Until now, I only drank Canadian Club. I recently tried Sherry Cask and Loved it! Now I am having trouble finding it. I bought it in Austin Texas on vacation and live in New Orleans. Can you help?

    • Davin:

      Sorry, I do not know the market in New Orleans. However, they have just change the packaging to a squarish bottle so maybe it’s there and you just don’t recognize if.

    • Leighanne Garrick:

      I used to work for Canadian Club in Windsor, ON. I never liked whiskey til working there but they let us try this once and it had a nice flavour. Just quite sweet. Picking up a bottle today in Windsor but I’m checking for you to see about your way.

    • Leighanne Garrick:

      You may wanna try this site: http://www.beamglobal.com/contact-us

      Allied Domecq used to own Canadian Club amongst other great Spirits and Wines but Canadian Club got bought by Fortune Brands in 2005.

  17. [...] et à leur représentante colorée! Elle m’a fait découvrir deux produits géniaux soit le Canadian Club Sherry Cask: un whisky tellement crémeux et agréable en bouche et aussi le tout nouveau ginger ale [...]

  18. [...] Canadian Club 30 year old reviewed here, Canadian Club 20 year old reviewed here, Canadian Club 15 year old reviewed here, Canadian Club Classic 12 year old reviewed here, Canadian Club 10 year old reviewed here, Canadian Club 8 year old Sherry Cask reviewed here. [...]

  19. Rami:

    I like this enough to buy it again, but I think it doesn’t compare to sherried scotches. It is just different but still Canadian. The 12 year CC is still my favorite of the range. I feel bad for Canadians though; it is sad that we buy Canadian whisky in the US for less. This is around $22 here in Michigan.

  20. Andrew:

    I would like to get others thoughts….. But I tried the CC sherry cask in the new square bottle format and it seems a different product than the original cork bottled sherry cask? Different colour? Anyway, to my taste….. Not the same level of quality and enjoyment. Thinking about calling jim bean to figure out…. Use to look forward to buy as it as a gift… Now looks and tastes ordinary. Thoughts???

    • Davin:

      One of the pleasures of small batch whisky is that each batch is a little bit different from the previous ones. Some are better, some are not better. I had a CC sherry a few weeks ago which was my favourite yet. Also, our tastes change from day to day and so does our memory of flavours. I’d put the bottle aside and try it again in a few months.

  21. [...] on http://www.canadianwhisky.org Partager:PlusWordPress:J’aime chargement… Catégories : [...]

  22. Andrew McCallum:

    I’m tasting batch “C12-048″ right now. I did notice that there is no age statement on my bottle. Is CC getting away from age statements? Has anyone noticed a change in the quality?

    Don’t get me wrong, what I have here is damn fine whisky and age isn’t everything. I’m just curious whether the older stuff was even better.


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