Black Velvet is a Canadian whisky brand originating from Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, a nice city in Quebec. It has a long history and a fun fact to begin with is that, during WWII, it was the only whiskey available to Canadian submarine officers.
That’s how it gained its huge popularity and nowadays it’s the second best-seller whiskey producer in the country. Originally called Black Label, its current name was given in the late 1940s by the company’s master distiller Jack Napier who perfected the blend and the distillations and said that the taste is exceptionally smooth, just as black velvet. Right now, the brand has a few expressions you’ll find on the market, but the original one (Black Velvet Whisky) remains the most famous.
Original Black Velvet Whisky Review
The original Black Velvet Whisky (not whiskey as it is known in the US) has a nice amber color and a sweet, soft smell, similar to butterscotch. The taste is smooth and subtle, surprising with caramel, tropical coconut, and warm vanilla notes. Aged 3 years and with 40% alc./vol. (80 proof), the first thing that you notice when you smell it is the dark ripe fruit scent. Soon, this will turn into cotton candy, hard candy, and marshmallows. You may also notice a hint of rubber, but it will quickly dissolve into the fruity notes such as fruit juice, peaches, prune juice, dried dark fruits, and cherry.
The rye is very present in the smell, as well, as dry cereal grain, dustiness, and some floral notes. The original Black Velvet, as any respectable whiskey, retains a bit of spirit character without intruding. This goes well with the grain- and wood-derived flavors. So far, we can definitely say that we’re talking about a mixer, not a sipper. However, after a couple of minutes, you’ll start feeling sublime sawdust notes and developing woodiness.
At a first taste, you’ll feel a sweet caramel flavor which, luckily, will prove to be a lasting one. This whiskey has a certain type of candy-like sweetness with sugar-like qualities. Delivering both creamy and oily sensations, Black Velvet Whisky offers a lush mouth-feel, a pleasant surprise for a whiskey who’s been aged for 3 years. The rubber from the nose quickly crosses the palate and lets the increasingly hot, lingering pepper together with the hot ginger heat your mouth’s sides.
Black Velvet is undoubtedly a fruity whiskey. The interesting thing is that this fruitiness goes two ways: cream sherry, over-ripe fruit, dark sweet fruits, and fruit juice, to orange and bitter grapefruit zest. Something that not everyone will appreciate is that the candy flavors overshadow and push it a bit out of balance.
The finish is medium-short, fading. It’s really peppery and ‘heaty.’ You’ll feel plenty of caramel, burnt sugar, ripe black fruit, and a bit of fresh-sawn wood that will fade out with a citric zestiness.
We recommend pairing the original Black Velvet Whisky with a creamy brie.
Black Velvet Reserve Review
Black Velvet Reserve ages for at least 8 years and gifts you with warm flavors such as nuts, wood, and chocolate. There’re some subtle spice notes as well that flawlessly dominate the whiskey’s bouquet. The aromas are pleasing and dry and you’ll be able to taste malt, wood, and some roasted nuts.
Unlike the original one, which is primarily intended as a mixing whiskey, this expression is definitely made for sipping. But don’t think about it as an older version of the three-year-aged. It has a distinguished personality of its own, blended at birth from corn base spirits along with partly matured rye, corn flavoring whiskies, and a pinch of corn and rye high wines. Besides that, it includes more of the whiskies flavoring which gives it a premium, creamy, and rich mouth feel.
You’ll notice richness in the smell, as well, together with expressivity. Kiwi, prunes, sweet rye spices, peaches, and sweet citrus are very present. The oaky notes (freshly cut lumber stacks) are flawlessly integrated and settle in to stay. Burnt sugar, caramel, butterscotch, and toffee are among the heavy sweet notes. Despite its hard rye dusty smell, it also smells oily and has a moderate spirit hint.
The finish is medium-short, with the pepper lasting for a while until fading out on toffee, black fruit, and prune juice, to a fresh zestiness.
We recommend pairing the Black Velvet Reserve with a sharp old cheddar.
Black Velvet Toasted Caramel Review
This one is golden and has some warm amber reflexes. Nose-wise, you’ll feel plenty of intensity. It can actually remind you of buttery, warm caramel, toffee, and toasted oak. Its taste is a mixture of English toffee, caramel, and woody flavors.
The best taste description is a nice blend of maple syrup, toffee sweetness, rousing warm pepper and a dash of citrus. The pepper will become more intense one sip at a time, together with the buttery and rich creaminess that seduces the palate. At first, the whiskey notes will stay shy in the background, with just the rye essence and buckets of caramel. The beginning is simple and sweet, but as developing rye and pepper bring the flavor closer to the whiskey territory, it becomes less one-dimensional.
The finish lingers surprisingly long in your mouth, pleasing you with a creamy, smooth texture. We’re talking about a whiskey-like aftertaste with just a bit of heat and a charming, fresh tannic briefness. You’ll notice that the previously-masked peppery rye spices start to softly make their way in your throat.
We recommend pairing the Toasted Caramel whiskey with some natural chocolate truffles.
Black Velvet Cinnamon Rush Review
The Black Velvet Cinnamon Rush whiskey is the perfect companion of a freezing winter day. It’s packed with spicy aromas and has a cinnamon stick smell. Just like the other brand’s expressions, this one has nice woody notes mixed with warm spicy flavors. Its aftertaste is warm, spicy, and lasts for a long, long time.
We recommend pairing the Cinnamon Rush whiskey with these vanilla cookies.
If you’ve been curious about the renowned Black Velvet whiskies, the reviews above should help you have an overall idea and decide if they match your taste. It’s already a well-known fact that each expression has its distinguished personality. Luckily, their affordable prices allow you to try them without breaking the bank. Another thing worth mentioning is that you’ll easily find these whiskeys at almost any supermarket or liquor store, but also online.
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