Canadian Club aged 15 years (40% alc./vol.)
Creamy smooth and full-bodied. Peppery with subtle, understated fresh cedar, black fruits, caramel, musty corn, citric zest, and pith. Soft Corn. ★★★★☆Canadian Club by the numbers: How many cases of Canadian Club are sold in a year? – About 2.6 million.How many bottles are in a case? – 12.Who gets most of it? – The U.S. – 64%.How much does Canada get? – 29%.Wait a minute, 64 plus 29 equals 93. What about the remaining 7%?That would be the 2,184,000 bottles that are shipped to no fewer than 150 other countries around the world.But that’s just the 6-year-old CC Premium, right? Well, no. Among the various versions of Canadian Club, regionally, there are favourites. Australia, Japan, Germany, and Great Britain, for example, each have their own CC inclinations. Although it was intended primarily for the Japanese market, until it became difficult to find, one of the preferred Canadian Club whiskies in Europe was the now-discontinued 15-year old.With such a well-established whisky as Canadian Club, increasing market share is all about extending the line. Brand managers do this by introducing new versions of an already familiar whisky, giving committed consumers an opportunity to branch out and try something a little more up-scale for a special occasion, while still retaining the assurances that it's their old, familiar brand. At the same time, line extensions generate some initial excitement that often results in additional shelf space and increased visibility in liquor stores. It’s a common way to further expand the sales and profile of a brand.Some years ago Canadian Club introduced a premium whisky that was aged for 15 years. The bottle came in a fancy tin, which made it a popular gift. It sold particularly well in Japan, and in duty-free shops – the so-called “travel retail.” Eventually, Canadian Club phased out the 15-year old edition, choosing to focus their efforts instead on their 6-, 10-, and 12-year-old versions. Consequently, Canadian Club 15 is no longer produced and has virtually disappeared from store shelves everywhere in North America. But some enterprising soul in Europe, where it was a strong favourite, had the foresight to stock up on it. As a result, while the rest of the world must now do without it, certain whisky specialists in Germany and Great Britain, at least for the next little while, are still able to supply their customers’ demands for Canadian Club 15. Lucky them!Nose: Soft, mild, and a bit subdued, yet somehow heavy. Clean fresh lumber, creamy caramel, French cream candy. Rich but not overly expressive, with a vague spirity feel, an inkling of sweet-and-sour sauce, and vague rye spices. All very subtle. Palate: A very creamy mouthfeel with plenty of body. Fresh cedar and hints of black fruits – particularly prunes – balance off a spicy pepperiness. These typical rye spices – cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice – come a distant second to the pepper. Musty corn (Confession: a personal favourite) brings a slight edge to the creaminess which is kept in check by vague notions of orange peel, a smidgen of pithy bitterness, and something almost salty. The palate remains quite hot throughout but still leaves lots of room for the oak and the fruit.Overall, the flavours are tightly integrated though a bit subdued, leaving creaminess as the defining characteristic. In fact, this 15-year-old version of Canadian Club could be three different whiskies in one as it combines the creaminess and the sweetness of the 12 year old, the oakiness of the 20 year old, and the spicy rye that defines the 10 year old. Yet for all this, it does not seem overly complex. Smooth from start to finish.Finish: Medium-shortish. Warm and peppery, creamy and slightly sweet, pithy with some citric zest, and lasting echoes of caramel.Empty Glass: Not much remains the morning after and what is there is just barely there. But if you sniff long enough you’ll find vague suggestions of caramel, wood, fruit, and sourness.£32 at the Whisky Exchange. Highly Recommended. ★★★★☆Canadian Club 8 year old Sherry Cask reviewed here.Canadian Club 10 year old Reserve reviewed here.Canadian Club 12 year old Classic reviewed here.Canadian Club 20 year old reviewed here.Canadian Club 150th Anniversary 30 year old reviewed here.