Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Bottom Shelf Blends: Seagram's VO & 7 Crown
Today, I go further down the bottom shelf with a comparisons of two Seagram's whiskeys. Seagram's was once a mighty Canadian beverage company with distilleries in Canada and the US, including Four Roses and LDI. It owned numerous brands including Crown Royal and also marketed spirit-friendly soft drinks such as ginger ale and tonic water. In the late 1990s, however, the company was bought out and sold into many pieces. Today Pernod Ricard, Diageo and even the Coca-Cola company own pieces of this once proud company.
The only whiskeys that still include the Seagram's name are two diageo blends: Seagram's VO and Seagram's 7 Crown.
Seagram's VO, 40% abv ($16)
According to David de Kergommeaux at Canadianwhisky.org, Seagram's VO is "produced at Diageo’s distillery in Valleyfield, Quebec, with some spirit components coming from other plants."
The nose is extremely sweet. It smells like artificial maple syrup. It tastes about like that too. It's syrupy sweet with maybe a slight spice in the background giving way to a vaguely vodka-like alcohol quality. The finish has some ginger. This is sort of a caricature of what I think of as bad Canadian Whisky, sweet without much else going on.
Seagram's 7 Crown, 40% abv ($13)
Possibly because of the Canadian heritage of the company, most people seem to think Seagram's 7 is a Candian Whisky, but it's an American blended whiskey. American blended whiskey must contain 20% straight whiskey and the rest can be neutral spirits (i.e. vodka), coloring and flavoring. The distillery isn't disclosed but for years the whiskey was distilled at LDI, the former Seagram's distillery in Indiana.
The nose is very vaguely whiskey smelling. That's about it. The palate is just foul. It's sweet and only tastes very vaguely of whiskey. It's sort of a generic whiskey taste, though it's more spicy than sweet so tasting blind I might have guessed that it was a really bad rye, but it doesn't have any really distinctive qualities. The major flavor is just alcohol. The finish is like the taste in your mouth after a bad hangover. There's just no reason to drink this.
Well, based on these, I would say the once mighty Seagram's name has definitely fallen on hard times.