Canadian Club 100% Rye

Canadan Club Chairman's Select 100% Rye bottle

The Canadian Club Chairman’s Select 100% Rye is an interesting innovation to the somewhat staid CC line of whiskies.

The premier U.S. spirits-maker Beam was acquired by Japan’s Suntory early last year (and with it, the well-known CC brand, which was in Beam’s stable at the time). This set the stage for a shake-up of the Canadian whisky scene, as Suntory already owned Alberta Distillers – which is a premium source of Canadian rye whisky. After much careful experimentation with this Alberta source stock by the Beam-Suntory craft makers in Kentucky, a new straight rye whisky was born – under the popular CC label. You can read more about the fascinating story of its creation in Davin de Kergommeaux’s blog post on the Whisky Advocate site.

What’s surprising to me is the price – at $27.45 CAD (list price) at the LCBO, this CC 100% Rye whisky is priced the same as the somewhat entry-level CC Reserve. But it is frequently on sale for $25.95, which is even cheaper than even the regular base CC (aka CC Premium). And it clearly does a lot better than the entry-level CC whiskies in my Meta-Critic dataset:

  • Canadian Club Premium ($26.35): 7.28 (±1.22 on 11 reviews)
  • Canadian Club Reserve 9yo ($27.45): 8.07 (±0.54 on 4 reviews)
  • Canadian Club Classic ($28.45): 8.35 (±0.37 on 10 reviews)
  • Canadian Club 100% Rye ($27.45, on sale $25.95): 8.66 (±0.38 on 5 reviews)

To put those numbers in context, the average Meta-Critic score in my database for all Canadian whiskies is 8.44. That puts the CC 100% Rye at well above average, despite having one of the lower price points in the whole dataset.

Canadan Club Chairman's Select 100% Rye bottleWhat is interesting to me is the taste – this is a fabulous straight rye whisky in my view, far belying its budget price. I have brought this one out during structured whisky tastings at my house, and have surprised quite a number of my guests once I revealed the price.

In those sessions, I have always done direct head-to-head (nose-to-nose?) comparisons to the popular Lot 40 from Corby – also a 100% Canadian Rye, priced at $40 at the LCBO, with a Meta-Critic score of 8.97 (±0.26 on 10 reviews). Surprisingly, it tends to be an equal wash of who prefers the CC 100% Rye and who favours the Lot 40. Invariably, most agree that the Lot 40 has a better nose, but a number of people have commented that they like the more “fruity” body of the CC 100% Rye (i.e., it’s more fruit-forward on the palate).

Personally, I don’t think you can’t go wrong with either – although the Lot 40 does have more to offer the experienced Rye drinker. But at this bargain-basement price, I would definitely encourage every Canadian whisky drinker to give this one a shot.

Davin de Kergommeaux has a clear and concise review of the CC 100% Rye on the Whisky Advocate website. For a more detailed review with tasting notes, please check out Whisky Won.

As always, interested to hear your feedback below.

One comment

  • This is 100% blended rye whisky made out of mash using 100% rye grain, ( made from single grain Rye) its aged for 7 years, thats the youngest blended whisky in the mix, Not the oldest , blended whisky (youngest blended whisky is 7 years old, )its great value for money , very nice and well balanced 100% rye blended whisky . Decent price you can drink neat ,on the rocks , i recommend in my humble opinion not add any water or soda to it ,as this destroys the flavour & delicate balance. Produced using100% rye malt only. Though it is Canadian Club brand , what makes it unique is it is not actually distilled at the Hiram Walker plant in Windsor (like the rest of the Canadian Club line) – it is actually distilled and bottled in Alberta, from Alberta Distillers Ltd . Its possible because they’re both owned by Beam-Suntory . Nose Balanced with toasted grains, gentle wood notes and a tantalizing hint of sweet vanilla Palate Complex balance of rye spiciness, caramel and oak notes, warm and creamy Finish Long clean finish with hints of clove,nutmeg , oak and vanilla. Mild not very strong , delicate balance . It is quite clear some mix of virgin ( never used) oak barrels were used for its 7 year maturation. As per Canadian whisky regulations No distinction is made between the quality of the barrels – new or used, charred or uncharred barrels may be filled for aging. So the producer of this whisky uses a mix of different qualities of barrels for aging and then blending whisky from those barrels .This is very very delicatley balanced whisky ,in my humble opinion using water , or soda would destroy the delicate balance . This clearly falls into fine example of this 100% Canadian Rye whisky category that in my humble opinion can be enjoyed neat at it best ,second best option to enjoy is on the rocks. The worse option is to drink this whisky with water, soda, pop etc . CASK TYPE NEW WHITE AMERICAN OAK, EX-BOURBON, EX-CANADIAN WHISKY BARRELS. 40% alchol by volume . Color Antique gold. I am 100% sure this whisky will keep winning many many Gold medals in different competitions as the times goes on . Great Great value for money. I give it 4.9 out of 5 marks based on value, taste , unique balance ,aging , use of different barrels for aging ,etc etc. This whisky i gurantee 100% can become one of the top 5 whisky in world , in its category if Hiram Walker can bottle it at 45% alchol by volume + age it for 10 years . King of 100% Canadian Rye whisky in its own category. Awards : Double gold in 2015 Gold in 2016

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