By Jake Emen
New to the market in 2012 was a whisky which combined two distinct flavors which aren’t new at all – Canadian rye whisky, and maple syrup. The name stems from the art of syrup tapping, which dates back at least to the mid-1500s in the province of Quebec, and the three, five and seven year old blended rye whiskies utilized – hence, Tap 357, Canadian Maple Rye Whisky.
Tap 357 makes use of cask-aged blended rye whiskey, including a combination of three, five and seven year old whiskeys. It’s produced at the oldest distillery in Western Canada, and is distilled four times (!!) before being matured in a variety of bourbon barrels, including new, second and third use barrels.
Master Blender Michel Marcil not only blends the whiskeys, but also works in the maple syrup. Tap 357 uses pure Canada 1/Grade A Light maple syrup from Quebec. This is a pure maple syrup tapped at the beginning of the season, which is 100% natural and without coloring or additives – although it should be noted that the whiskey itself does indeed include caramel coloring. After the blending and combination process, the maple whiskey is left to age a bit further until ready for release.
Tap 357 will probably taste exactly how you imagine it. One quick sniff of the glass will let you know just what you’re dealing with. It’s rich and a bit chewy, and it’s intensely marbled with a maple and molasses sweetness throughout.
The sweetness doesn’t obliterate the whiskey, although it does become its dominant force. Tap 357 manages to retain a bit of sharpness, a touch of spice and a pleasantly lingering warm finish to balance it all out.
While Tap 357 is certainly enjoyable straight in the glass, or on the rocks, this is a whiskey which was made to be mixed. The possibilities for cocktails are endless, and after experimenting with a few, they tend to turn out pretty spectacularly. It’s enough of a whiskey to make a whiskey fan happy, but it’s also sweet enough and so eminently, easily drinkable that it will work quite well with a drinker who normally wouldn’t take to whiskey at all.
If you were simply looking for a delicious spirit to be used for crowd-pleasing cocktails, as opposed to a more traditional whiskey for sipping, the grade would be an outright A, without hesitation.
Tap 357, with a 40.5% ABV, has a suggested retail price of $29.99 for 750ml bottle, and is currently widely available across the United States.