Danfield's Limited Edition 21 year old Canadian whisky

Danfield’s Limited Edition 21 years old (40% alc./vol.)

October 3, 2011


Classic rye spices—cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and pepper—all brought together in a lumber yard. Sweet, fragrant wood with a tangy citric zest and lots of weight. Rich & Oaky. ★★★★☆

The Black Velvet Distillery in Lethbridge, Alberta, produces tank-car loads of very popular mixing whiskies, and at the same time is also the source of some pretty fine Canadian sippin’ whiskies. Among these, Danfield’s Limited Edition is probably the best. Even though the label may say “distilled and bottled by Williams & Churchill”, actually owning a distillery is not required to put such information on a label. No, Williams & Churchill may not own the distillery itself, but they certainly do own the brand name although the Black Velvet Distillery in Lethbridge actually makes and bottles the whisky. One of the great Canadians, Danfield’s Limited Edition is generally available only in Canada, but if you live close to the border it is well worth the drive.

Nose: Oak dominates the nose with fragrant fresh-cut wood and green Manitoba maple bark in a cedar closet. Canadian whisky really showcases the most pleasing aspects of oakiness and this nose is a prime example. Sweet and tart berries lead the fruit brigade along with that ‘je ne sais quoi’ fruitiness of rye. In fact, a whole range of rye aromas waft from the wood, including slight floral notes, sweet rye spices, hard rye, and wet slate. This is all nuanced by a barely perceptible pickle juice aroma. A slight dryness in the nose balances the vaguest whiff of sweet aromatics.

Palate: Sweet and creamy with lots of fragrant fresh-cut lumber, right from the start, accompanied by some soft, pulling tannins. Cedar decking and gently drying wood round out the oaky textures. Black pepper notes gradually turn into hot white pepper, then cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and other baking spices. The gingery hot spices almost burn your tongue but there are plenty of sweet spices in there too. Burnt sugar, well-integrated fruitiness, caramel, and toffee offset the heat with a balancing, almost soothing, sweetness. Flashes of sweet black fruit and ripe autumn orchards provide counterpoint. What really keeps everything under control, though, is the bitter-lemon sweetness of that signature Canadian citric zest . There are some odd whisky experiences here too: it’s weighty, yes, while at the same time it has a certain mealiness, and maybe even a hint of salt. Now where did that come from?

Finish: Medium long. Quite hot pepper that becomes a more generic heat, one with a corn-like sweetness. The fragrant lumber notes linger faintly while a sweet fruitiness eventually fades to nothing, with some slightly sweet grape juice right near the end.

Empty Glass: Rich and expressive with dry wood, fragrant cedar, fresh-cut lumber, sawdust, caramel, toffee, maple syrup, prune juice, sweet fruit, green fruit, and Okanagan kiwi. The aromas of pickles, first detected in the nose of the whisky, persist just vaguely in the empty glass.

$ 50.00 at LCBO.

Highly recommended



62 Responses to “Danfield’s Limited Edition 21 years old (40% alc./vol.)”

  1. tim:

    This is by far my favorite Cndn whisky to date. Perfect nightcap: smooth, creamy, a little sweet.
    First bottle I bought in Edmonton was $32 – second bottle $37, which is still great value.

  2. Davin:

    Maybe I should buy my next one in Edmonton. It’s $50.00 in Ontario, and still worth it.

  3. Bill:

    Yes, much cheaper in Alberta, due to their tax structure. Stores in Alberta will not ship it to you in a different province or territory. Its illegal to ship booze or tobacco across provincial borders because you would be thwarting the tax collector in your home province; tragic and terribly dishonest . . . the shame, the guilt, the disgrace.

    However, if you have an Albertan friend they could send it albeit under the table. Canada post does not ask for content descriptions and the last time I checked we did not have the provincial border inspections or checkpoints.

    • Davin:

      Sounds tempting, but probably by the time you include the shipping, packaging, and inconvenience (to the friend) it probably works out better just to pay the extra $13.

  4. tim:

    Part of the intrigue of a whisky hobby in Alberta is seeking out the best price – the range can be incredible: anywhere from $1-100 on a single bottle. Its relatively easy to pay $5-20 less per bottle if you stay away from the franchise liquor stores.

    Its a beautiful thing when you find a shop that has the whisky you want at below the standard market price!

    On the other hand I’ve shopped around for a better price without luck – then upon returning to purchase I’ve paid more as the price has been bumped up!

    All good fun though.

    • Davin:

      I noticed that in Alberta. Coming from Ontario where we have only one liquor store it seems almost civilized to have such selection. What I really like about shopping in Alberta is that you can come across whiskies that have long since disappeared in Ontario. I could hardly believe my luck when I found a couple of bottles of Lot 40 in a little mom-and-pop liquor store, then just shortly after found it again in another.

  5. tim:

    You bet Davin. Finding a discontinued bottle on a dusty old shelf is an excellent moment in time! I recently found a Bushmills Sherry Cask Strength in a small neighbourhood liqour store… And an old bottle of the Dalmore 12 (43%) at a high end wine/whisky shop.

    Did you happen to leave any of that Lot 40 on the shelf?

    • Davin:

      Hi Tim,
      That Lot 40 was a real find and sorry, I bought the last bottle at one shop and the last three at another. Although my suitcase was already seriously jammed full I asked both if they had more and was told “No.”

  6. Bob:

    I live in Saint Petersburg, Florida where, four years or so ago, Danfield’s was being promoted in my local liquor store. I tried it and loved it. Originally from Pennsylvania (a cruel liquor-control state), I have many friends from there that visit me in Florida and I’ve intro’d them to Danfield’s. Since which, I would wind up with a suitcase full of Danfield’s on each trip north to visit them as the Pennsylvania State Liquor Control System does not carry Danfield’s. Now, much to my dismay, I can’t find it anywhere in Florida. What’s up with that????

    • Davin:

      Hi Bob,
      Yes, Danfield’s are good whiskies for sure. The best thing to do is ask the liquor store who the distributor for Danfield’s was in Florida, then contact them and ask why they are not carrying it any more. Good luck!

  7. Brad:

    This was my first attempt at Danfield’s Limited Edition 21 and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. For a whisky, relatively unknown to me, it was sweet, almost honey-like in both aroma and taste. I was lucky enough to have received a bottle as a gift, but even at LCBO (London, Ontario) prices, I believe I will revisit the experience with a purchase of my own in the near future.

  8. Davin:

    Hi Brad,
    Yes, there are quite a few great whiskies that people just haven’t heard of yet. I hope I can help change that with this website. I’m glad you like the Danfield’s 21; I certainly do.

  9. matthew:

    how should i drink this whiskey??

    • Davin:

      Hi Matthew,
      I prefer to sip Danfield’s 21 straight as it comes from the bottle, but it would be equally fine in a cocktail, if that is your preference. For sipping I use a small glass which curves in slightly at the top as that tends to focus the aromas. You could also pour it over ice in a tumbler. Canadian whisky is very versatile. Hope this helps.

  10. matthew:

    Hi Davin, yes this helps a lot, i prefer to sip it but i just just wondering if it would be better with or without ice, but i can see that straight up is the best way to enjoy it. thanks a lot.

    • Davin:

      Great! If you take your time I think you will find there is a lot of depth.

  11. florists:

    You bet Davin. Finding a discontinued bottle on a dusty old shelf is an excellent moment in time! I recently found a Bushmills Sherry Cask Strength in a small neighbourhood liqour store… And an old bottle of the Dalmore 12 (43%) at a high end wine/whisky shop.

    Did you happen to leave any of that Lot 40 on the shelf?

    • Davin:

      No, there were only a few bottles of the Lot 40 left. I’m sure there is still some out there though.

  12. Chris Spearman:

    We still have adequate supplies at the distillery.

    Make inquiries at your local liquor outlet about ordering it in.

    There is still time to order and receive before Christmas

    • Davin:

      To be clear, you are saying you have adequate supplies of Danfield’s 21 year old at the distillery, NOT Lot 40 which was made in Walkerville and discontinued years ago.

  13. John:

    if the danfield’s 21 YO is limited edition, does that mean its like the Alberta Premium 25 yo and once its gone, its gone for good?

    • Davin:

      Well, yes and no. There is a new batch in the works right now and from what I hear there is some VERY old whisky going into it. It sounds to me like it will be even better than the one that is out now. It may be worth buying a bottle now then another when the new batch comes to make the comparison.

  14. John:

    you think i’m made of money? :)

    • Davin:


      Just thinking out loud!

  15. David:

    I like their regular whisky a lot – so I will try this one for Chrismas….

    • Davin:

      Hi David,
      If you like the 10 year old you will love the 21. Have a great Christmas.

  16. Tim N:

    I’ve been enjoying Danfield’s over the winter holidays. Dan10 with cola and ice resulted in an incredible vanilla smoothness in the classic rye and coke. And I still say that Dan21 straight is my favorite Cndn rye with a beautiful nose and a very satisfying creamy-spicy palate. To top this off the price value on these two just can’t be beat, which I always factor in to my whisky evaluation.

    Davin – looking fwd to reading some new reviews sometime soon! I request any of the following: DAN10, CC12, VO Gold, Tangle Ridge Cheers.

    • Davin:

      Hi Tim,

      Good to hear from you again. I’m glad we agree on Danfields; it’s great whisky straight up or mixed. I’ll be reviewing Danfield’s 10 in the coming months, but I am really excited about a new batch of Danfield’s 21 which I have been told just rocks. I’ll be reviewing that one as soon as I can lay my hands of a bottle.

      Yes, more reviews are coming. Tonight I’ll post CC Sherry Cask, then on Thursday two other bloggers and I will be posting our notes on CC 30. I just love the 30 (actually I love both of these) and I’m waiting to hear what the others think. I’ll provide links to their reviews here on canadianwhisky.org.

      On the table in front of me are CC12, CC15, Gibson’s Sterling, and Gibson’s Bourbon cask. I also have a quartet of Glen Bretons in the queue. I am really impressed with how this distillery has progressed over the past few years. Their Battle of the Glen is really world-class whisky.

      I like VO Gold also and will have to taste it a few more times to get a good range of tasting notes so I can write a review. Same with Tangle Ridge. I have notes from three tasting sessions and should finish that one up some day soon as well. Have you tried it? It’s really quite singular.

      Thanks for your comments. Yes, with competition season pretty well over it’s back to writing tasting notes.


  17. Tim N:

    When the new batch of Dan21 arrives in stores how would one identify it from past batches? A fellow whisky enthusiast and I often look at trying to identify different batches/bottlings – rarely finding consistency or ease in reading lot numbers / codes.

    It has been 5+ years since I tried Tangle Ridge – it was the bottling with the metal clasp top. In my university days TR was considered a top shelf rye. I have an unopened (newer) bottle in my cupboard waiting for its turn. The price on this one has been rising significantly in the past 2 years.

  18. Paul:

    In my opinion, Danfields 21 at $45.95 in Ontario is one of the best buys available. There are 80-90 LCBO stores that still carry it.
    I enjoy it with just a few drops of spring water.

  19. Stefan Drever:

    I agree with Paul. Great for Scotch drinkers that want a break from the insanely high priced stuff. That’s saying a lot, and I mean it. No money wasted on packaging for sure, and you get to support a Canadian business. Cheers to that!

  20. Steve:

    Hi Davin,

    This is my first time posting to the site after stumbling across it last week. Wanted to take a moment and thank you for all the hard work you. I picked up a bottle of Danfields Limited 21 year and am loving it so far. Great way to relax after a day’s work. Personally I drink mine neat and am really enjoying it so far. I’ll have to pick up another couple of bottles next time I’m at the LCBO before they change over to the next batch.


    • Davin:

      Welcome aboard, Steve. I’m glad you’re enjoying the site.

  21. Steve:

    Hey Davin,

    I’ve had bought around 4 or 5 bottles of this now since I first tried it…I’ve noticed that some LCBO stores as they run out of stock are not ordering more in.

    I know they can order in upon request from other stores but am wondering if you know if the distillery is continuing to make the 21 year edition or if they’re working on a new batch all together, if it will eventually be discontinued.

    Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.


    • Davin:

      As far as I know there is plenty more. It is up to individual LCBO managers what they put on their shelves.

  22. otto:

    LCBO 48181 | 750 mL bottle

    Canada | Hiram Walker & Sons Ltd.,
    LCBO 291468 | 750 mL | $ 39.90 | LIMITED SUPPLY

    Still available in London just leave some for me! I like rye!!!

    Price $ 44.95
    Lot#40 on special too

  23. Kevin:

    hi Davin,
    I have just recently discovered this product. EXCELLENT!
    I have received a bottle as a gift and the label says “Diamond Filtered”. Could you please explain this to me as I’m having a little trouble believing this claim, especially when there are much cheaper 0.2 micron media available.
    Thanks in advance.

    • Davin:

      I asked and they said it is true. Maybe they prefer a coarser filter.

  24. Chris:

    IT’s All gone!!!!

    It seems they have discontinued it.

    It was my favorite for the last few years.

    Can anyone reconmend something that is available that will please me they way Dan’s 21 did?


  25. Barbara Peck:

    LCBO said it has been discontinued. I want it too.

  26. Dale:

    Wow – I stumbled on a couple bottles of dan21 on the bottom shelf under a mountain of dust. I love it. What a great Whisky! And the best part is its only $42 (alberta). I am going back tomorrow to buy the other 4 bottles. This stuff is great!

  27. paddockjudge:

    Davin, do you have any information concerning the availability of this particular expression?

    It has become very difficult to obtain, not only in Ontario, but in all jurisdictions….I’m hoping this is only a lull in bottling/distribution and not the end of the line for Danfield’s 21 year-old. Please let us know what you’ve been hearing.

    • Davin:

      As far as I know it is still available. Generally when things become difficult to find it is a problem with the store or the distributor. The only thing I have heard is that the latest batch is excellent.

      • paddockjudge:

        These are encouraging words. This is one of my favourite whiskies to offer as a gift – good quality and good value.
        thank you Davin.


  28. Jeremy:

    Hi, Spoke to a rep at LCBO today, they’ve delisted it…too bad its an awesome whiskey

  29. Richar Yaremko:

    Just back from Alberta, and there must have been a new release of this whiskey, as it was in every store that carries a good selection. Priced now between $45 and 50 bucks. A bottle came home with me.

  30. Just tried the 10 year old and it has a nice carmel flour with a hint of cardamon on the nose for me. Added an ice cube and mellowed out nicely. at $26 it was good deal. Im a Alberta springs 10 year old kind of guy so this is not bad for the around the same price point.

  31. Rick:

    Hey Davin, is this being phased out?

    My local coop liquor store, here in AB, has the 21 year old on sale at 30 bucks a bottle, which is insane. other things on sale? 3-4% off. this one, 25+%. crazy.

    so I am assuming it is going away? it is too old to be wasted at that price…


  32. Don Finch:

    I live in Phoenix and bought a bottle of Danfield’s 21 while visiting family in Calgary a couple of years ago (at Willow Park Wines & Spirits, Bonaventure). So smooth – truly a ‘great Canadian’!
    Every trip to Calgary since included a tour of the premium liquor stores, but to no avail.
    However, Willow Park had two bottles of this national treasure on the shelf two weeks ago, at C$37.99 (US$28.50, sorry!) They are now safely south of the border.

  33. Yvonne Fields:

    I want to purchase some of this. How do I do that without being in Canada?

    • Davin:

      Unfortunately it is sold in Canada only and liquor stores here are not allowed to ship alcohol.

  34. Peter:

    Just picked up a return at the LCBO, Eglington/Laird…$45. Was down to my last 1/4 of a bottle purchased 2 years ago. Guess what I am drinking now :)

  35. Felix:

    Is this ever going to be restocked at the LCBO? Is it still in production?

    • Davin:

      Yes, it is still in production. It is up to LCBO buyers to decide what they stock.

      • Peter:

        I have searched all Canadian Provinces online inventories for D21 and have not seen a bottle for sale anywhere.
        With one unopened bottle left in my bar I am panicking that this is gone forever.

        • davindek:

          It has been discontinued. I bought my last bottle recently in Alberta.

          • Peter:

            That’s sad if we don’t see this again. Great Canadian blend at a fantastic price.

  36. Christopher:

    I acquired a bottle of Danfield’s sometime ago, don’t know why I became in possession of it, however being a Nova Scotian, rum is always my first choice. I started drinking the Danfield’s as a before bedtime drink, just a couple of ounces on ice. Those sleeps were so sound. Sadly, since that time I have not been able to fine this fine rye in the Nova Scotia liquor commission stores. Maybe I can get them to bring in a bottle or three for me.

    • Davin:

      I believe it is no longer being made.
      I’m sad too! It was great whisky.

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