Nose: Sweet. Soft, melty, buttery caramel. And… yeah that’s it.
Palate: Soft texture. Thankfully not ultra-sweet, although the overall impression is of cake-y baked goods. German chocolate cake frosting?
Finish: Short. Brown sugar melting away to reveal a core of pretty young, grassy grain whisky. Ends with straight vodka notes.
With Water: Dampens the aroma. No effect on the palate, maybe turns up the vegetal notes on the finish.
Overall: This is the first “blended Canadian whisky” that I’ve had (ever) that doesn’t make me want to wash my mouth out. That said, it desperately calls for ice and a bitter or acidic ingredient to balance the inherent sweetness. I would wager that if you wanted to make a cocktail that called for Crown Royal, you’d be slightly better off using this. I wouldn’t bother to drink it straight, though, especially with that vodka finish. Even so, it’s better than direct competitor Pendleton, in my book. I’m now curious about the “Black” label from 8 Seconds.