Canadian Club is one of the most well-known and popular Canadian Whiskies in the world — being sold in 55 countries.
It is so well known that it is often ordered by patrons and listed in cocktail recipes by its initials alone — CC. It is a blend of classic Canadian-style Spirits that are aged a full six years, and married in white oak.
The high-rye spice comes through, but is mellowed by the longer than average aging process. Look for fresh cut grass and corn flakes on the nose, with a gentle palate that includes notes of nutmeg and molasses.
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The Canadian Club Distillery belongs to Pernod Ricard, but the brand and Spirit belongs to Beam Suntory.
During Prohibition, Canadian Club was the most-smuggled Liquor into the United States. During this time, one of the largest customers of the distillery was legendary gangster, Al Capone.
The Visitor Center is one of the oldest at any distillery in the world. It was opened for tours and tastings in 1894.
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The Canadian Club Distillery is another one of the many facilities created by industry legend Hiram Walker, in 1858.
Hiram started his career as a successful grain merchant in Detroit. But he built his first distillery just across the Detroit River in Ontario — a fact that would become crucial to its continuing success during Prohibition, placing it just out of reach of US authorities.
The Canadian Club Distillery is a production power-house. And it has to be since the core Whisky is the most popular international brand of Canadian Whisky in the world, being sold in 150 countries. After several ownership changes over the years, the facility is now owned and managed by Pernod Ricard.
A transcript for non-audio situations
Canadian Club Brand Center
Benedikt: Hello and welcome to Whisky.com, where fine Spirits meet. And today I'm in Windsor of Canada, and here is the birthplace of the famous Canadian Club Whisky. And in this grand center, you'll learn a lot about the Canadian Club Brand and its history.
The first thing you will notice is the big column still. This represents the production process of the Canadian Club. The specialty about the Canadian Club Whisky is that the Canadian Club has all the grains, mashed, and fermented in a single process, and then they are blended into the casks. Hiram Walker was an American businessman who immigrated to Canada in 1856 and opened the distillery in Windsor, Canada in 1858. And this is the Hiram Walker Distillery that still produces the Canadian Club. Unfortunately, the distillery was sold separately, and now the distillery belongs to the Pernod Ricard Company, and the brand belongs to Beam Suntory so we can't visit the distillery.
The view of the front porch is very beautiful, and you can see the skyline of Boston. And this is the actual place where the battle took place between policemen and the mob when the Whisky was sold to the mob, and they tried to smuggle it over to the Boston and sell it in America as an illegal Whisky from Canada. This building is not actually from 1858, but from 1894. And it was built as a main office for the sale, the distribution, and the production of the Canadian Club Brand and the Whisky.
During the tours through the building, you learn a lot about different offices and the people who work in these offices. This range from the office of Hiram Walker, who was the founder, and then you also see the offices of his sons, who then continued the production and the sale of the Canadian Club brand throughout the 19th century.
When you walk around the building, you see a lot of old pictures with production facilities and people who work for Canadian Club, and also a lot of old bottles that showed the heritage of what is Canadian Club Whisky. A bit controversial is that many of the things seen here from the very beginning are older than Canada itself. The Hiram Walker Distillery was founded in 1858, but Canada was founded in 1867 from the three colonies. So Canadian Club is more Canadian than Canada itself.
In this room, we see a lot of art that has been collected throughout the years, and some of them have even been barred to represent a bit more of the Canadian side and the Canadian art that is around here in Windsor. This alone is beautiful enough to say, "Yeah, let's take a trip to the Canadian Brand Centre."
And here we have a board that displays nice Canadian Club bottles from the 1920s. No, this is actually wrong. These are fakes. During the 1920s, there were a lot of fakes from Canadian Club because of smugglers, and it was enough to fill a whole shelf of Whisky. Of course, the archive displays all of the Canadian Club bottles that have been bottled throughout the years, and here is a shelf with the very, very oldest, and also you see here that you have a lot of text old advertisements and labels of the bottles.
The top of the shelf is dedicated to the different bottles that are especially bottled for all the different countries the Whisky sold in. Here comes U.S.A. And all these bottles resemble all different uniqueness of the different states the Whisky is sold in and all the countries are honored with a special bottling.
The whole building has been renovated and refurbished, but everything has been built just as it was in the 19th century...When you walk through the building, you don't only learn about the history and the marketing of the brand, but also the production of the Canadian Club Whisky. At the end of the tour, the visitors would have a tasting and find out what is actually inside the current bottlings of the Canadian Club Whisky.
After the tasting, I would recommend you visit the shop and have a look if you take a souvenir with you. The Canadian Club Brand Centre is so nice that many couples decided to marry here.
So I'm sitting here with Tish Harcus, 26 years in the company. And you are brand ambassador for Canadian Club. That is a long time. So, thank you for having us, and what kind of Whisky are we trying today?
Tish: Well, you're in the house of Canadian Club, so we're gonna have all Canadian Club Whiskies. We're gonna start with our youngest variant. We call this Canadian Club Premium. Now, to be called a Canadian Club Whisky, you have to be aged for a minimum of three years. Okay. This is five years old, and this is our youngest. Next, we're gonna try our Canadian Club Classic, 12 years. So this is 12 long years in the barrel. Okay.
After that, we're gonna try our Canadian Club Sherry Cask, and this one is really unique and interesting. It starts age eight years in oak, and then transferred into a once-used sherry cask that we get from Spain. And then lastly, this is a new one for us, we launched this October last year. It has won international Canadian Whisky of the Year, won big award. And it also won a double gold at the San Francisco Whiskies of the World Competition. So, this one has got...there's two unique production points for this one that sets it apart definitely from the rest of the portfolio.