Black Velvet Blended Canadian Whisky is unique among blended whiskies as the spirits are blended at distillation instead of at bottling. It’s aged about 3 years in oak barrels. The Black Velvet distillery is fully automated and needs only 2 employees to control the distillery 24/7 and processes between 8 and 10 train car loads of corn each week to make this popular whisky. Black Velvet is currently ranked second in Canadian whisky exports behind Crown Royal.
Black Velvet Blended Canadian Whisky | 700ML Tasting Notes
Nose: A bit closed. Faint ripe fruit and dusty rye, with a hint of ginger ale, nutmeg and allspice, and dark rye bread comprise the first whiff. But Kraft caramel soon takes over, followed by more dark fruit, sweet fruit, oranges, apple juice, and, after a few minutes, butterscotch toffee, and Juicy Fruit™ gum. Acetone and vague hints of spirit make a brief appearance in the middle. Then, after a few more minutes, some fresh-cut wood emerges along with vague hints of pickles and dusty dry rye grain.
Palate: The first sip brings creamy sweet caramel, hints of burnt sugar and instantly glowing hot pepper, rounded out by a slight fruitiness. The earthy quality of some ryes just barely pokes through along with suggestions of rubber – or is it ripe black fruit? Although not an overly fruity whisky, a slight citric zestiness keeps it fresh. Most of the whisky in the bottle is just three years old but the early arrival of fresh-sawn wood marks it as a decidedly Canadian whisky, as does a restrained oakiness throughout. Hot pepper is the keynote but this is tempered by undertones of cloves, ginger and cinnamon, balanced by toffee, with suggestions of dark fruit and lots of grapefruit zest.
Finish: Medium and fading. Hot pepper, slightly citric and sweet, with some dark fruit and bitter lemon towards the end.
The Black Velvet Distillery is a very modern and fully automated production area with an immense output. This automation was already installed 1991. It can be read for example that every week eight to ten rail carloads of corn arrive. Production process is extremely efficient and the company is proud to “extract every last bit of alcohol from the starch”.