A couple of years ago, Corby Spirit and Wine started their Rare Cask Series of whiskies – a collection of one-off bottlings with unique characteristics, production methods and stories – highlighting the innovative potential inherent in Canadian whisky and their warehouses.
The first three releases were Last Barrels (a bourbon-style mashbill whisky), Dissertation (comprised of whiskies from Dr. Don Livermore’s PhD experiments), and Union 52 (a marriage of Canadian whisky and some 52 year old scotch they had lying around the warehouse). All of these were well received in Ontario and BC, where they were exclusively released.
This year the rare cask release is Seasoned Oak, which is being released in Ontario exclusively, and hit shelves this week for Father’s Day. Here’s some info and specs about the whisky:
- Age: 19 years – ex-bourbon and ex-Canadian whisky barrels for about 18 years with a 1 year finish.
- Finish: finished in virgin white oak barrels from Canton Cooperage, who exposed the staves to the elements for 48 months to season them. Typically the virgin oak Dr. Don uses for his whiskies are seasoned for about 1 year.
- Blend: double-distilled corn/grain whisky (DD) and column/pot distilled rye (Star Special). Same proportions as Wiser’s 35.
- ABV: 48% – chosen to highlight the seasoning time of the staves.
Toronto Whisky Society had the good fortune of trying this whisky before its wide release, (and took it up to a cottage for some pictures!) We’ve compiled some tasting notes below:
- NOSE: oak, vanilla, allspice, corn, cinnamon
- PALATE: oak, cinnamon, vanilla, allspice, baking spices, apple, corn, mineral, light fruit
- FINISH: more fruit, bright youthful oak, mineral, pepper, ginger, medium length.
Our overall impression of Seasoned Oak is of a more oak-forward, spicier version of Wiser’s 18. Fans of that expression (and the entire main J.P. Wiser’s line-up) will enjoy this a lot. While this does deliver on some of the spice notes of Wiser’s higher rye-content expressions, those who prefer Lot No. 40 or the Triple Barrel Rye to the main line-up will likely prefer Dissertation to this one. As completionists, we’re glad to have both in our collections!
Big thanks to Dr. Don and the Corby team for giving us a sneak peak at this release! Can’t wait to see what other tricks he has up his sleeve as the Rare Cask Series continues!