A few weeks ago TOmodera and I were invited by Corby Spirits to attend an event in Prince Edward County for bartenders and whisky media to try out the new Northern Border Collection bottlings they’re releasing nationwide in October. Naturally, we obliged after some arm twisting… but actually we were pumped, having tried some of these before and knowing how good they are.
The day was full of ridiculously that started with a party bus on a Monday morning, and ended with a 5 course meal, but if you want to read more about those details, information about the whiskies and see a ton of great pictures, check out the write-up in this previous post! Dave and Ross led the tasting, which included the original expressions in the Northern Border Collection. This post will just cover the reviews themselves.
The first is the Pike Creek 10 Rum finish, not to be confused with the old port finished version. The casks come from Guyana and the juice is finished for 120 days.
Pike Creek 10 Rum Finished – 42% ABV
- Nose: coca cola, spice, root beer, candy, sweet rum, light oak
- Palate: sweet, oaky, sawdust, sugar, rum candies, light spice, brown sugar, caramel, apple
- Finish: sweet sugary, some oak, apple. Somewhat short.
- Score: 80/100
better than the port cask finished one, which is something I never thought I’d say.
next up is the 21yr Pike Creek finished in a Speyside cask (distillery not disclosed, but bought from the Chivas group). It’s primarily corn whisky plus 3% rye.
Pike Creek 21 Speyside Finished – 45% ABV
- Nose: light smoke, maple, candy corn, sugar, white wine, nutty
- Palate: fruit, spicy, maple, nutty, earth, apple, sugar, pear, cinnamon, nutmeg
- Finish: long, spicy, rich, sweet
- Score: 85/100
you definitely get some typical speyside notes that aren’t usually present in Cdn whisky. Nice example of cask finishing.
Next was Lot 40, the 100% rye in virgin oak beauty that all of us Canadians tell whisky drinkers who don’t typically like Cdn whisky to try!
Lot No. 40 – 43% ABV
- Nose: slight dill, rye spice, brown sugar, oak, sweet, banana
- Palate: spicy, rye, dill, oak, rich sugary, speculaas, banana, chocolate
- Finish: medium length, spicy, sugary, banana
- Score: 87/100
lower score than last time, but the last review I did was of the 2012 edition that included some malted rye. This is 100% unmalted, so maybe I prefer a bit of that vegetal note?
Next is the beast we had all had barrel samples of, prompting us to start a #releaselot40CS campaign before we knew that was already in the works! Same specs as above, just cask strength.
Lot No. 40 12 Cask Strength – 55% ABV
- Nose: rye spice, not hot on the nose at all, light smoke? Sugar, brown sugar, oaky, caramel, vanilla, apple, slight dill
- Palate: spice, rye, caramel, oak, spicy as hell, slight dill, speculaas, rich, light chocolate, nutty, banana
- Finish: long, banana, rye spice
- Score: 90/100
just fantastic. Can’t wait for this to hit shelves. Possibly not quite as good as some of the barrel samples I’ve had.
This is a wheated 4-grain whisky, proofed to 44.4% ABV and sold for… like $45 something… stupid LCBO.
Gooderham & Worts Four Grain – 44.4% ABV
- Nose: smoky (this is when we started to realize the smoke nose notes were due to the lamb smoking on the beach outside), corn base spirit, maple, sweet
- Palate: sweet, maple, grainy, corn, some spice, thin body
- Finish: short, maple
- Score: 76/100
tastes too much like a standard Canadian whisky for me
This is a 3-grain expression (dropped the barley) that’s 17yrs old, and named after the church James Gooderham built. Check out that TWS post to find out why!
Gooderham & Worts 17 Little Trinity – 45% ABV
- Nose: maple, rye spice, brown sugar, corn
- Palate: thin, sweet, rye, maple, some virgin oak?
- Finish: long, sweet, maple, oaky
- Score: 81/100
a decent step up from the 4 grain. The age helps it a lot.
A staple of the J.P Wiser’s family, this is 100% double distilled corn whisky, aged 18 yrs in refilled barrels.
J.P Wiser’s 18 – 40% ABV
- Nose: corn, light maple, very light nose, hard to pick much up
- Palate: light bodied, maple, watery, grainy, oak, banana, apples
- Finish: short, thin, maple
- Score: 77/100
might be due to the low ABV, but this seemed a bit too boring and thin. Really should have started the tasting with the base whisky expressions.
This is the same stuff as the 18yr, but aged nearly twice as long!
J.P Wiser’s 35 – 50% ABV
- Nose: sugar, spice, oak, brown sugar, sweet
- Palate: sugary, oak, vanilla, spicy, rich, very oaky, banana. Delicious
- Finish: long, oaky, rich.
- Score: 84/100
The higher proof really helps this one. The extra time in the barrel gives it a lot of depth compared to the 18 too. Just goes to show grain whisky needs time, and lots of it!
Overall, this new line-up is really great and it’s exciting to see innovative finishes and blends being made, along with age statements in Canadian whisky! There are a couple I might skip, but two of them I’ll be buying multiples for sure. I have all of the original line-up at home as well, and highly recommend doing side-by-side tastings like this for each expression!