Canadian Club Dock No. 57 (40% alc/vol)


Whisky purists need read no further. This review introduces the latest entry in the flavoured whisky category. Actually, it was the rum guys who started the flavoured spirit trend and spiced rum now makes up about 30% of rum sales. It’s pretty hard to argue with Captain Morgan and Sailor Jerry so in the past couple of years various distillers have begun to introduce flavoured whisky as well.Now before we get our shirts in knots, let’s not forget that they are still making the whisky we all love.  They are simply expanding their ranges to include fruit flavoured whiskies such as Red Stag bourbon and spiced whiskies such as Dock No. 57 from Canadian Club. Oh, and there’s a fruit flavoured Canadian Club as well – blackberry flavour to be exact – but it’s limited to the U.S. for now, though rumour has it coming soon to Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.The revival of the cocktail culture has seen more and more whisky appearing on more and more bars. Flavour is what mixologists are seeking – that magic combination that fills the bar with happy revelers. So why not start right in the bottle with the addition of complementary flavours that let busy bartenders keep it simple? Canadian Club is known for its versatility, smoothness and mixability; what better place to start?Canadian Club is not the first Canadian whisky maker to release spiced whisky. Highwood has their lip-smacking White Owl Spiced, and of course Revel Stoke morphed into a subculture more than a decade ago. Dock No. 57, however, brings something new to the category.  First of all, it's more subtle than the others. Made with the same spirit that has been going into Canadian Club since 1858, it maintains its strong rye character then augments it with the addition of just a smidgen of vanilla spice. The judicious infusion of spice bolsters notes of cinnamon, caramel, vanilla, pepper, and aged oak found in the traditional CC.Dock No. 57 was inspired by the historic shipping dock where Canadian Club export manager, Bill "The Real" McCoy, shipped the CC whisky that quenched the thirst of our American neighbours during Prohibition.CC Brand Ambassador, Tish Harcus explains: "The dock was built in 1858, when Hiram Walker opened the distillery, and was known as the Walkerville Dock.  In 1921, one year into Prohibition, the Federal Government of Canada established a series of Customs and Excise ports across Canada (in order to control all the spirits that were being shipped into the USA).  The Walkerville Dock was given the number 57E, also known as Dock 57, and yes, that is where the boats would be loaded with cases during Prohibition. In the early 1950’s the grain silos were built and the dock is no longer used.”Let’s not forget that making whisky was entirely legal in Canada during Prohibition days, as was selling it and loading it into boats moored in Canadian waters. With the strong reputation it already enjoyed in the U.S. and its distillery located right on the border, Canadian Club was a strong favourite with rum runners. One has to wonder what Al Capone, the Purple Gang, and other clandestine yachtsmen would think if they knew that their dock – Dock No. 57E – now has a namesake that brazenly trumpets their once-secret cargo.Nose: Rye spices and all the old familiar Canadian Club whisky smells. Black fruit, then licorice cigars and vague hints of vanilla but this is clearly Canadian whisky. Suggestions of citrus fruit underlie a surprisingly well balanced potation. This is no one-dimensional concoction, but rather the first spiced whisky that still puts the whisky aromas out front. The nose shows fewer toffee notes than the standard CC Premium 6 year old and develops some elements of artist's canvas after a few minutes in the glass.Palate: Sweet, very spicy, and peppery with slight hints of pulling oak. Full bodied but with a feeling of citrus pith though not a lot of citrus notes. Hot cinnamon hearts and hints of vanilla with more toffee than on the nose along with suggestions of sour rye. The blenders have managed to resist the urge to overdo the spices so it retains a pleasant whisky flavour, that with the added sweetness strays vaguely into liqueur territory. The nose is more complex than the palate.Finish: Short to medium with pepper, hints of white grapefruit, and a nice warming glow.Empty Glass: Dry grain, clean oak.The square bottle departs from the traditional round Canadian Club livery offering a fresh look for a whisky tailored for today's mixed drinks, but honestly, it's an enjoyable toast straight up, and smooth enough for winceless shooters.$25.95 at LCBO.Dock 57 Blackberry is reviewed here.Other flavoured whiskies include:Black Velvet Toasted CaramelForty Creek Cream Liquor Gibson’s Maple 100th Grey CupHighwood Canadian Maple Whisky Revelstoke SpicedWhite Owl SpicedCC Dock 57 spiced Canadian whisky