...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Bourbon and Rye Day Friday: Tap Rye Sherry Finished 8 year old Canadian Whisky

Though scotch producers are prohibited from adding sherry to their products, Canadian whisky makers are not. I learned the latter when Alberta's Dark Batch Rye came to the US in 2015 with its 1% sherry content.

The folks at Tap Whisky add a little something extra to each of their three products: maple syrup, port and sherry. When their US distribution rep offered me a bottle, I elected for the sherried one because it had a good old fashioned age statement.

The rye is sourced from "the oldest distillery in Western Canada", which is probably Alberta Distillers. It does eight years in new American white oak, after which an undisclosed quantity of Amontillado sherry is added. That combo is left to marry for 60 days before bottling.

Company: Tap Whisky
Distillery: probably Alberta Distillers
Region: Canadiana
Type: rye whisky
Age: at least 8 years
Maturation: new American white oak
Mashbill: ???
Batch: 14TL-8-98
Alcohol by Volume: 41.5%
Sherried? Yes
Chillfiltered? ???
Colored? ???
(This bottle comes to Diving for Pearls courtesy of Conundrum Marketing. Thanks!)

Its color is quite light compared to eight (or even two) year old American rye. Sherry dominates the nose at first. Gradually other notes emerge. Grape drink, fennel seed and apples. A drop of almond extract. Even though this isn't a blend, there's a hint of Canadian Club-type neutral spirit drifting in the midground. The sherry is the loudest note in the palate as well. Toffee and almonds. Prunes. Ginger ale, black peppercorns and black licorice. Some mild heat and graininess to it. The finish is quite candied. Twix bars, prunes, ginger ale and black licorice.

It's a very sweet, light combo of red wine and sweet sherry with a hint of cinnamon.

I've found Canadian producers to be very successful at making totally inoffensive whisky, seeming to play into American stereotypes of Canadians. (Of course, part of the reason Canadian whiskies drink so easily is their maximum dilution levels.) My two favorite Canadian whiskies have been the Collingwood 21yo and Lot No. 40, whose characters are anything but shy.

Tap's 8 year old sherry-finished rye feels like it would have been lost among the many character-light Canadian whiskies out there if not for its extra ingredient. I don't know how much sherry was actually added, but it takes over the whisky throughout. There's not much rye left to speak of.

If you're not terribly picky about sherry-cask-finished single malt whiskies, then this rye may appeal to you most. For instance, if you're a big Glenmorangie Lasanta fan, then you may want to give this a try. It could also appeal to people turned off by bold American ryes. For the rest of us, I will say this is a little better than the usual Canadian blend, whatever our feelings about Canadian blends may be.

Availability - 
A few dozen US liquor specialty retailers

Pricing - $30-$45
Rating - 78