...where distraction is the main attraction.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dusty Whisky Report: Windsor Canadian Whisky, bottled in...

Producer: Fortune Brands, with Beam Inc.
BrandWindsor Canadian
Region: Alberta, Canada
Age: minimum 3 years
Blend: corn, barley, and grain whiskies
Alcohol by Volume: 40%

Don't tell, show, bro.
I previously reported on Windsor Canadian here, last year, finding that it had a pleasant little palate but a harsher nose.  Windsor still has no online presence, aside from its single Beam Inc page.  Beam also bottles Canadian Club and seems to run with that more famous whisky in their marketing choices.

You can find Windsor down towards the bottom shelf in most liquor stores' Canadian selections, in black plastic bottles (whether 750ml or 1.75L).  As I highlighted in an earlier Canadian Club post, whisky doesn't hold up so well in plastic bottles.  And as Jordan (of Chemistry of the Cocktail) commented: "Alcohol should leech plastic much faster than water, being a comparatively non-polar solvent."  Yum.

Happily the handle of Windsor found in the Perry's liquor cabinet was made of the classic dark thick brown glass.  Had the whisky sat in plastic over these ages, I would not have risked a sip.  As I did with the previous two dusty discoveries, I attempted to get a bottling date on this thing.

This broken pink tax stamp affixed to the top of the bottle had the notations "TAX PAID" and "DISTILLED SPIRITS", so it was pre-'82.

I like these dark bottles since they allow for the best bottle pics.  Here, we can see the "79" on the bottom.  I don't know if the "55" means the 55th day of the year, but I'm relatively comfortable in saying that this Windsor was bottled in 1979......and has likely been open ever since. 

(The sources of my dating info are herehere, and here.  If anyone has any corrections to my assumptions/conclusions, please let me know!) 

The Notes:
The color is the classic Canadian blend shade of amber-tinted urine.  The nose leads with vanilla and molasses.  Then there's something vegetal going on, along with a dose of balsamic vinegar.  A big charge of grain spirit trails along at the end.  Then it gets a little farty (or pharty, per my notes) after a while.  Nillas(!) are big on the palate, along with some brown sugar.  Otherwise it's pretty rough, with some coarse ethyl and a light bitterness.  The finish is spirity too and drying.  But there's a vanilla note that lasts for a long time.

When comparing to my notes on the contemporary Windsor, this oldie has a softer nose but a tougher mouth, while holding fast to the Nilla note.  I was already getting a bit queasy from the Mr. Boston piddle sampled earlier, so I don't think that the resulting stomach troubles were related to the Windsor.  On the other hand, just to be safe, the sink should drink the rest of this bottle.

To conclude:
J.T.S. Brown Bourbon (bottled in 1969) = Yummy!
Mr. Boston's American Whiskey (bottled in 1980) = Vile
Windsor Canadian Whisky (bottled in 1979) = Similar to current version, but getting strong on ethyl

The JTS Brown Bourbon (and also not getting poisoned) made it all worthwhile.  Who knows what treasures hide in old liquor closets everywhere??????


  1. You are seriously making my day with these dusty reports. I love drinking old crap. I had an 80s Jack Daniels the other day - back when it was 90 proof. The stuff was oxidized and had been half full for decades. AWESOME - dusty lilacs!

    1. I love drinking this old crap too! Didn't think I would, but then became unreasonably excited when I found the bottles. That dusty Jack Daniels sounds great! At least much better than the current stuff.

  2. My dad had almost a dozen bottles of different whiskys, gifts from clients over the years. He kept them in an old wood Army trunk in the cellar. I couldn't believe it when he gave them to me—didn't even want to keep one for himself. I'm not much of a whisky drinker, at least, I wasn't—until now. The bottle of Windsor Canadian whisky is the smoothest I've ever tasted and the best of the first three bottles we've opened so far. From your explanation of the numbers, this one was bottled in 1974, the year I graduated from high school. I still can't believe my dad kept them for so long.

    Thanks for explaining the numbering on the bottom of the bottle. You made my day—I've been wondering about the Windsor Canadian. Dust on!

    1. Thanks, CJ! Enjoy those dusties. Most of them should have kept well over the decades, especially since they were kept in the cellar.

      Here's another link to dating your bottles, IF they were sold in the US. Cheers!