I was just as surprised to learn there actually was a Lord Calvert as I was to learn there was a Lord Calvert Canadian Canadian Whisky. As it turns out, George Calvert was the first Lord Baltimore (though definitely not the best, see below…seriously) and the 8th Proprietary Governor of Newfoundland. He started his political ladder-climbing in England, but at the time, his Catholic religion and lust for cash didn’t get him too far, so he set out for the New World, helping to establish the settlement of Avalon in what is now Newfoundland.
Not that this comes as a surprise to anyone, but Newfoundland Winters are not the tropical paradise ol’ George might have been hoping for. One Winter was enough for him to pack up and leave what he described as “this wofull country”. He headed south and settled, much to the dislike of the Virginians who were already there, what would become Baltimore and the state of Maryland.
While Lord Calvert got a lot done, he does seem to be an odd choice to name a Canadian whisky after. He was there for only a couple of years, and while he did lay the groundwork for a successful Newfoundland, “woeful” doesn’t sound like he liked the land all that much. Still, there we have it, Lord Calvert Canadian Canadian Whisky, aged 36 months, “A Blend of Choice Matured Whiskies”. Whose and what kind of choice, I have no idea…probably best not to ask. Also, lest ye think I’ve typo’d, the “Canadian Canadian” part is there on the label. I’m just callin’ ’em like I see ’em, folks. There’s a reason for this duplicity, though, the parent company of the brand (a little outfit called Beam Global Spirits & Wine) also make a Calvert Extra Blended American Whiskey and a Calvert London Dry Gin. With all these Calverts floating around the bottom shelf, things can get confusing, so I, for one, appreciate the extra clarification.
The Nose: Not that I’ve ever been privy to such an experience but this smells a lot like someone making fresh applesauce and berry jam in a poorly ventilated nail salon. It’s not a wholly unpleasant nose, very sweet and fruity with some nice raspberry, apple and Welch’s white grape juice notes, but there are some pretty stiff grain tones and a regrettable whiff of nail polish remover. Who knows, maybe Lord Calvert was overly concerned with his pretty hands and nail polish remover is this whisky’s way of honoring his honor.
The Palate: It’s always confusing and not a little disturbing when a 40% ABV whisky tastes more of alcohol than some cask strength 62% dram. For a brief moment a bit of fruit makes an effort, but it’s a lackluster try, and things quickly turn to just brown sugar and somewhat spicy grain. To be fair, I winced prematurely, thinking the grain was going to be really harsh when in fact, it’s not too harsh at all..well, ok, it’s a little harsh, but much less so than you might guess. Much like Lord Calvert, himself, I suspect.
The Finish: Sorry, was there one? There’s a sweet, edgy catch with a bit of cinnamon apple, but mostly it’s gone before you know it. Much like Lord Calvert, himself, I suspect.
Thoughts: Well, my first thought is that Lord Calvert was a bit of a money-grubbing milquetoast. I mean, the guy heads to Newfoundland to make a buck, gets things started, and then chickens out because the winters suck. I’d bet my last half pint of Lord Calvert that Lord Calvert left someone high and dry up there when he fled south. As for his namesake hooch…I’d have to say it’s clearly the best whisky named after a former governor of Newfoundland one can buy. It’s not great…hell, it’s barely average, really, but it’s not horrible. Much like Lord Calvert himself, I suspect.
Lord Calvert Canadian Whisky