Faint spirit evolves into robust rye spices with rich butterscotch, hints of dry grain, and ripe dark fruits. Very flavourful and mouth-filling with sizzling pepper, fleshy dark fruits and lime peel. Spicy Rye. ★★★☆
Canadian Hunter was long a staple whisky in the line-up from the House of Seagram. Seagram’s first distilled the whisky at its plant in Waterloo, Ontario. Following the death in 1971 of Sam Bronfman, who had brought the Seagram’s whisky brands to global domination, the company lost its way. Sam’s grandson, Edgar Bronfman, finally just cast the family heritage to the wind at the turn of this century. The Canadian whisky brands his grandfather had nurtured so carefully, and newer ones such as Canadian Hunter, which was introduced in 1984, were dispersed. But they were not lost altogether. Canadian Hunter eventually found a welcoming home with the Sazerac Company of New Orleans.
Sazerac takes its Canadian whisky portfolio very seriously. Its Canadian whisky team is led by Drew Mayfield, a Canadian whisky man who was the last chief distiller at Seagram’s before that company imploded. Canadian whisky, of course, can be made only in Canada, and this is why Sazerac now has hundreds of thousands of barrels of Canadian whisky ageing in Canadian whisky warehouses. From this ready supply Sazerac blends upwards of twenty different Canadian whisky brands, most of them with distribution limited to the U.S. market.
The label on the Canadian Hunter bottle has been updated recently. However, it still retains its image of the mushing huskies that continue to provide transportation in some of Canada’s more remote northern communities.
Nose: Simple and straight forward Canadian rye whisky with sweet baking spices, butterscotch, dry grain, and dark fruit. An initial wisp of spirit quickly develops rich aromas of sweet caramel, typical Canadian rye spices, and a broad ripe fruitiness.
Palate: Sweet, peppery, rich and mouth-filling. This is a big flavourful though not overly complex whisky. The creamy caramel holds steady throughout while hot pepper, ripples of clean oak – and in the background sweet dark fruit including prunes and dried currants – provide substance and body. It is loaded with sweet baking spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg and throbbingly hot ginger, with a wonderfully peppery burn. Round and mouth-filling, its strength is in its straightforward simplicity.
Finish: Longish. Clean but sweet on the finish with dry linen, hints of oak, bitter lemon rind, and pleasingly tingly spices. You can almost hear it calling for ginger ale.
Empty glass: Not a lot, maybe a bit toffeeish with hints of lumber.
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