We’re going through an interesting time for Canadian whisky. And as a Canadian who reviews whisky, that’s exciting. We’re seeing companies, new and old, trying new things. Making whiskies that aren’t meant for mixing, or being smooth, or targeted at generations that had their general food tastes scarred by war or changed by an ever increasing need to save time for food.
Brown-Forman (sorry, had a different company here) is one of such companies that makes a Canadian whisky. They have stepped up to the plate with a new, different collection called “The Town Collection”. So far we don’t know the other varieties or much about it, however why stare into the future when you can enjoy the present?
The first and current release is Collingwood The Town Collection Double Barrelled. Collingwood uses it’s general multinational knowledge of extended maturation and takes Collingwood whisky that has been aging in ex-bourbon casks and then finishes them in new heavily toasted/lightly charred white oak. This differs from the standard which goes through a further maturation with maples staves.
Now I know some cynics will point out that this has been done quite a bit in Scotch, and some American whiskies, and maybe some World Whiskies. However in Canadian whisky, getting a double barrelled whisky that goes into specific casks and has time is not something we see every day. There are certainly some, but not enough to dismiss it completely.
So let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Price: $44.95 CAD at the LCBO
Cask Types: Ex-bourbon casks, then finish in new heavily toasted/lightly charred white oak.
Colour: 10YR 7/8
Nose: Varnish, caramel/butter, oak, moss, peach, honeydew melon
Interesting nose. Initially very close to a bourbon whisky. Lots of wood/varnish, lots of butter and caramel.
That said, the fruit start coming out more and more, and there’s a hint of vegetal on the nose. It’s not overly complex, though nice to nose. Just enough fruit and wood.
Taste: Caramel, Swedish berries, oak, corn, nutmeg
Quite sweet taste. May be a little bit much for some. I love the sugar notes, and the caramel. Again, I have a sweet tooth.
Nice amount of oak. The corn is a little raw on the taste, so that wasn’t as nice. The whole thing is interesting, but there’s definitely two different sides to it that don’t get along.
Finish: Oak, cherry, pepper, strawberry, butter
Finish is a lot more balanced on the sweets than the finish. Takes a little bit of nose with the butter, and some of the strawberry.
Wish there was some more spice and heat. This feels like a first step. Or perhaps the first entry into a new collection that will grow slowly. Time will tell.
Conclusion: An interesting dram. It starts out like a bourbon, with nice amounts of fruit to say “Hey, I’m not a bourbon” (you know, other than the label), and then goes to a sweeter, interesting whisky.
The whole thing has pulled out some interesting, unique notes from the different casks. And honestly, it’s quite the improvement over the standard. This does what you want from a whisky: It’s unique, can be mixed, and tastes nice. Honestly if this is the rest of the collection, or just the “entry”, then they’ll do well.
World Whisky review #285, Canada review #105, Whisky Network review #1253