Whiskey Tasting Notes: Centennial Premium Rye 10 Years Old

One of the more interesting aspects of my whisk(e)y research is just how many people feel that Canadian whisky is, if not irrelevant, at least inconsequential. This perspective is not just fostered by the Scots, Irish, and Kentuckians, but in some instances by Canadians themselves. There seems to be this sense of inadequacy that’s applied to many of the whiskys from the Great White North.

Which is a shame, for a variety of reasons. There are good whiskys to be sure, once you know where to look. But there is also a history there that is equal to any being highlighted Bourbon country. All one needs to do is look at the life of Hiram Walker, or turn to the city of Windsor during the period of American Prohibition. When talking about the history of whisky, it’s impossible to avoid bringing up the influence of Canada.

But I do recognize why many folks feel that Canadian Whiskys are not important. Many of the whiskys that were popular immediately following World War II weren’t that good, especially when compared to the quality of whiskys being produced nowadays. But as I said, there are good whiskys to be had.

Centennial is a good whisky. It’s not a great one, but it certainly holds its own against other more popular industrialized brands such as Jim Beam, Dewars or Jamesons. What these three brands have that Centennial does not is a marketing department with a million dollar budget, which leads to my much bigger point – Because there is much less hype surrounding this product when compared to the other three, it’s comes across as more of a discovery than a disappointment. Of course this may be due to my own lack of experience than a great insight.

Nose
Well.. it smelled like light grains. A bit bitter, and a little earthy. Not much here beyond that.

Taste
A very brown sugary/molasses type of taste, with the rye making itself aware,as well as a bit of pepper. Of course, every time I call something “peppery” what that means to me is that the alcohol is also making itself quite apparent (i.e. I could have added a touch more water). The mouthfeel was very oily.

Finish
The finish ended surprisingly quick. But what was there came across as sort of a pecan pie minus the pecans..sort of a dark corn syrup. that’s probably why the taste of molasses is still there.

Overall
Why, with all of the positive descriptions above, is this not better? It seems to lack any depth. What’s there is there, and then leaves rather quickly.

Here’s where it ranks on my list of preference.

Very Good
Bushmills Black Bush
The Macallan – 18 yr old
Redbreast

Good
Bushmills
Centennial Premium Rye 10 Years Old
Jameson
Tyrconnell

And if pressed, I’d say I like it better than Jameson, but not as much as Bushmills. That puts it on par with the Tyrconnell.