Mister Sam Whiskey is Sazerac’s continued foray into Canada. The company is in the process of opening a distillery in Montreal, and two years ago they launched High River Canadian whisky. That whisky, sourced from another distillery, entered the market at an affordable price point. Mister Sam Whiskey is a monster of a whisky, with a monster price of $250 per bottle. It distribution is limited to only 1,200 bottles between US and Canada. Spoiler: It’s worth it for most whisky collectors.
In Search of Elegance did an excellent job summarizing the history behind the name. I’d much rather talk about the whisky, and how it fits into today’s whisky world. Bronfman (“Mister Sam”) had the reputation of being an excellent blender. Sazerac’s Master Blender, Drew Mayville, reached into the healthy stockpiles of Canadian and American whisky owned by Sazerac to blend this tribute whisky. The whisky was bottled at Sazerac’s Old Montreal Distillery.
This is a phenomenal whisky. For many of us that can’t ever get our hands on Sazerac’s annual Buffalo Trace Antique Collection (BTAC) releases, Mister Sam Whiskey is right there with the big dogs of whisky. Even at a list price of $250, if you’re looking for big volume cask strength whisky, this is a great price considering your average BTAC will go for significantly more at market. Considering Drew Mayville blends all these products, I’m not surprised.
Where would it fit into the BTAC line? It has a lot of high spicy rye notes, and terrific flavour from start to finish. I would say it’s less ‘oaky’ from much of the BTAC line, more reminiscent of William Larue Weller in that regard. You won’t quite the the Stagg level oak fulfillment, but you’ll get plenty of flavours including some familiar traces I often associate with older Pappy Van Winkles, WLW, and Weller 12.
At any rate, this is a fantastic whisky. I’m not sure how available it is quite yet, but it’s a strong buy for me when/if I’m able to get my hands on it.
Mister Sam Whiskey (2019) from Sazerac 66.9% ABV
Category: American & Canadian Blended Whisky
Nose: Candied oranges, dark chocolate, ginger, rich aged olive oil, and a quiet layer of rich caramel. This noses like a beautiful old rye, but the barrels certainly add a terrific peppery element. Reminds me a little of that boozy cherry Pappy nose. The fruity notes get darker over time, more toward dried fruits. Admittedly, I really enjoy the heavy olive oil note, but some might find this off-putting. There’s a dusty barnyard note, and a distant leather polish note as well. Needless to say, it’s pretty terrific!
Palate: It’s a boozy boozy drink. In a blind tasting, I might think this is even too boozy. Take the gentlest sip, and start enjoying the paprika spice, buttery luxurious undertones, dark chocolate elements, and that sharp aged olive note. The paprika spice is occasionally joined by touches of cinnamon. The boozy cherry notes on the nose come through wonderfully, and it finishes like an old high-proof rye with a beautifully peppery sharp and long dry oaky finish. You’ll get some common elements of high-proof amped up whisky, including leather, ginger, and dried fruits. The finish is absolutely beautiful in terms of how much it offers.
Conclusion: When considering the price point, consider just how slowly you’ll sip this intense pour of whiskey. From the creators of Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, comes a blended powerhouse with a mix of Canada and the United States. With scoring, it’s right up there with any of the BTACs, and depending on availability, this is a recommended buy assuming $250 is a good reach for you.
Disclaimer: I appreciate Sazerac for sending me a sample of this whisky. It had no baring on this review.