Lot No. 40 100% Rye Whisky, 43% ABV, $40 CAD
- Nose: Caramel, rye spice, oak, floral soap, banana, banana bread, icing sugar.
- Taste: Creamy toffee, rye spice, brown sugar, cooked banana.
- Finish: Medium/long length, good viscosity.
- Thoughts: This is what you want in a rye. Great balance of sweet and spicy. Although strong, the rye kick is nicely rounded so it doesn’t completely overpower the whisky. Great sipped neat, and priced well for mixing, I’d be comfortable with this representing Canada as our national whisky. One of our best exports!
- Score: 86 + 2 value point(s) = 88/100
Lot No. 40 12 Year Old Cask Strength 100% Rye Whisky, 55% ABV, $70 CAD
- Nose: Fresh baked bread, rye spice, banana, cooked banana, banana split ice cream, cooked apples, apple cider, ginger bread, almonds, a bourbon-like caramel, and brown sugar.
- Taste: Bananas again, rye bread, vanilla, mint, carrot cake, fruit cake, and caramel.
- Finish: Long, banana/apple/rye notes linger.
- Thoughts: THIS is what you want in a rye! Doesn’t drink like 55%. Very rounded and very smooth. Incredibly warming. It feels like wool pajamas and Christmas morning. The rye is more balanced here, and the complexity of the sweeter notes are amplified yet compliment it well. Full body, very viscous, the banana and rye combo on the finish is what sells it for me. There are not many cask-strength, age-statement Canadian whiskies, and non (that I’ve tried) that come close to this quality. Each bottle numbered and labeled from 1 to 4968. A true collector bottle, and probably the best whisky Canada has ever released!
- Score: 89 + 2.5 value point(s) = 91.5/100
Overall Thoughts: The extra time in the cask, 12 years verses about 7 for the standard release, made a huge difference in complexity and depth. Regular Lot 40 has more of a rye kick, a sharper finish, and isn’t this well rounded. Cask Strength has more body, better mouth-feel, and can probably treat hypothermia. The whisky came out at exactly 55.0% which is a great sipping strength. I didn’t feel the need to add water, but a few drops exaggerate the bread-like notes. It’s great to see Corby and Dr. Don Livermore release expressions that will bring recognition to Canadian whisky on a level that is consistent with today’s demand. Lot 40 Cask Strength can easily compete with Buffalo Trace’s Thomas H. Handy and Sazerac Rye’s. Something you definitely need to buy while you can, but will be available (in some capacity) as a yearly release in Canada.
After my initial score I will add or subtract points relative on how I perceive value (based on what I paid for the bottle). A zero value means I think the price is justified.