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


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★★★★☆