Gooderham & Worts 49 Wellington - This is the most interesting whisky coming out of Hiram-Walker thus far

Gooderham & Worts 49 Wellington - This is the most interesting whisky coming out of Hiram-Walker thus far

Gooderham & Worts 49 Wellington demonstrates two rarely used components from Hiram-Walker Distillery that hint at where future product development is going. First, the whisky is partially matured with red oak inserts. Second, the four grain blend includes whisky matured in barrels made from 100% red winter wheat. Both these elements are a look into the exciting products that’ll be coming out from the distillery in the future.

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The Balvenie 26 Year Old - A Day of Dark Barley Review

The Balvenie 26 Year Old - A Day of Dark Barley Review

I was recently listening to a podcast that outlined all the weird riders that rock bands have had over the years. Many included whisky; usually something from Tennessee or Kentucky. I briefly thought, what would be on my list? I didn’t have an answer because I always want to drink something a little different. Would I be in a mood for an oaky bourbon? A smoky scotch? A rye spicy Canadian whisky?

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J.P. Wiser’s 23 Review - The Ultimate Cask Strength Blend!

J.P. Wiser’s 23 Review - The Ultimate Cask Strength Blend!

If it’s only going to do a few things, it needs to do them well. That’s what J.P. Wiser’s 23 Year Old brings to the table. This is a clean beautiful whisky with a ton of intense flavours, and I think it’s going to be a favorite of many.

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Pike Creek 21 Year Old 2019 Edition Review - Finished in Oloroso Sherry Casks

Pike Creek 21 Year Old 2019 Edition Review - Finished in Oloroso Sherry Casks

In this year’s vintage release of the Northern Border Collection (Canada’s version of BTAC), Pike Creek 21 Year Old is finished in Oloroso Sherry Casks. Aged Canadian whisky comes with a heavy fortitude of flavours, and this rich sweet Oloroso casks compliment those rich char and caramel notes perfectly.

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Lot No. 40 Cask Strength 2019 Edition Review - Is it Lot 40sh enough?

Lot No. 40 Cask Strength 2019 Edition Review - Is it Lot 40sh enough?

Lot No. 40 Cask Strength is Canada’s version of George T. Stagg in rye format—it’s a powerhouse rye with plenty of peppery notes, deep new oak caramel flavours, and a wallop of herbal notes, orange citrus, and other complex flavours.

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The Balvenie Stories Collection: A Week of Peat 14 Year Old Review

The Balvenie Stories Collection: A Week of Peat 14 Year Old Review

The Balvenie continues to flirt with peated whiskies. A Week of Peat is the second in The Balvenie Stories Collection, and this one focuses on Balvenie’s lesser-used flavor component. In fact, they only use heavily peated barley for a week each year! Ian Miller calls peat week the most joyous week of distillation because of the new smells that come from the distillery. After releasing Triple Peat, and Peat Week, how’s A Week of Peat differ from the other expressions?

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The Balvenie Stories Collection Review: Sweet Toast of American Oak 12 Year Old Review

The Balvenie Stories Collection Review: Sweet Toast of American Oak 12 Year Old Review

While it’s sister distillery, Glenfiddich, has been releasing a bunch of innovative products, Balvenie seemed to be in a slumber (with the exception being the Balvenie DCS Compendium series for the mega rich). But in truth, there were products brewing, and we finally have a taste of what’s to come. The Stories Collection is here! It starts with a series of three single malts at three different price-points. The first of the series, The Sweet Toast of American Oak, is finished in virgin American barrels. This has been a growing theme in single malt scotch the last handful of years, so did Balvenie manage to do something different?

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Burke Single Cask 14 Year Old 59% ABV - A taste of an older Irish Whiskey at Cask Strength

Burke Single Cask 14 Year Old 59% ABV - A taste of an older Irish Whiskey at Cask Strength

Great Northern Distilling is a new Irish distillery that primarily sells vodkas and gins, as most young distilleries do. However, they were able to get their hands on older barrels of whisky, and Burkes Single Cask 14 Year Old is a product of one of those barrels. Bottled at 59% ABV, I was really excited to taste a rare high-proof Irish whiskey.

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Legent Whisky - Beam Suntory's Finished Bourbon

Legent Whisky - Beam Suntory's Finished Bourbon

In 2014, when Suntory purchase Jim Beam, fans speculated on how this new ownership might affect Jim Beam’s whisky. While there have been minor tweaks to the product line over the years, it be difficult to attribute any of them to Suntory—until now.

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Mister Sam Whiskey (2019) from Sazerac 66.9% ABV

Mister Sam Whiskey (2019) from Sazerac 66.9% ABV

Mister Sam Whiskey is Sazerac’s continued foray into Canada. The company is in the process of opening a distillery in Montreal, and two years ago they launched High River Canadian whisky. That whisky, sourced from another distillery, entered the market at an affordable price point. Mister Sam Whiskey is a monster of a whisky, with a monster price of $250 per bottle. It distribution is limited to only 1,200 bottles between US and Canada. Spoiler: It’s worth it for most whisky collectors.

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Kujira 20 Year Old Single Grain Whisky - Rice Whisky aged in Bourbon Barrels

Kujira 20 Year Old Single Grain Whisky - Rice Whisky aged in Bourbon Barrels

The Okinawa Japanese islands slinks down south from Japan toward Thailand. It’s a hot climate, and the home of Awamori, a traditional distilled rice spirit unique to the region. Awamori is thought to be the predecessor to Shochu, a more popular fermented and distilled product made in many parts of Japan.

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The Irishman Founder’s Reserve Caribbean Cask Finish

The Irishman Founder’s Reserve Caribbean Cask Finish

The Irishman is produced by Walsh Whiskey, the same group that’s behind Writers’ Tears. The Founder’s Reserve Caribbean Cask Finish is a terrific addition to the line-up. From their website:

The Irishman Founder’s Reserve – Caribbean Cask Finish is the second expression in The Irishman Founder’s Reserve Cask Series. It is a limited edition finished in rum casks from the tiny tropical Caribbean island of Saint Lucia. A super-premium whiskey, it is a rare vatting of Single Pot Still and Single Malt whiskeys finished for 6 months in Chairman’s Reserve Rum casks. The release is limited to just 12 casks with 380 bottles per cask. Each bottle is individually numbered and signed by Bernard Walsh.

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Writers’ Tears Red Head - Familiar, but Different

Writers’ Tears Red Head - Familiar, but Different

The brand of Writers’ Tears is affectionally enjoyed by writers, partially because of the name, and also partially because the whisky is just gentle enough to sip without distracting the writer from the task-at-hand. When writing The Whisky Cabinet I went through a few bottles of Writers’ Tears. Back then there was only one type of whisky, but today the brand has expanded, and this is a look at their sherry barrel matured whisky, Red Head.

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Barrell Bourbon 15 Year Old Cask Strength Bottle #138 - Best American Whisky?

Barrell Bourbon 15 Year Old Cask Strength Bottle #138 - Best American Whisky?

Barrell Bourbon isn’t a distillery. They’re a bottler that purchases barrels from distilleries selling barrels. Because Barrell Bourbon gets to sample the barrels they purchase, and distilleries often sell barrels that don’t meet with their standard taste profile (which doesn’t make them bad, just not right for that distillery), this gives Barrell Bourbon the freedom to release interesting flavor profiles.

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Gooderham & Worts Eleven Souls - The Blender's Wheelhouse

Gooderham & Worts Eleven Souls - The Blender's Wheelhouse

The Gooderham & Worts brand is the most exciting brand owned by Corby’s, the company behind J.P. Wiser’s, Lot No. 40, and many other brands coming out of Hiram-Walker Distillery in Windsor. It’s getting the reputation of being a blender’s playhouse, and the blender with all the great barrels is Dr. Don Livermore. Winner of the 2019 Master Blender of the year, Dr. Don Livermore was tasked with choosing eleven barrels to blend for this year’s special release.

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Canadian Club 41 Year Old - The Most Celebrated Canadian Whisky of 2018 (and it's still available!)

Canadian Club 41 Year Old - The Most Celebrated Canadian Whisky of 2018 (and it's still available!)

Canadian Club 41 Year Old is undoubtably the most celebrated whisky of the 2018 season. It’s also readily (as of this posting) available at the LCBO. This is, at least in part, a controversial whisky in price-point, the way it’s made, and value. Where you fall on this will largely depend on your philosophy as a consumer. Either way, this is a terrific compliment to last year’s 40 year old release.

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Glassware, Whisky, and Winning!

Glassware, Whisky, and Winning!

Some years ago, Jamie and I went to a whisky festival in Toronto where all the whisky tasted terrible. It all tasted the same. The conspiracist in me suspected the big name brand bottles were refilled with junk whisky. Later, though, I realized it was because of the glassware. The festival organizers used thick rocks glasses intended for cocktails and whisky on ice, but not for whisky poured neat.

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Lot No. 40 Cask Strength 11 Year Old (2018) Review (and comparison with 2017)

Lot No. 40 Cask Strength 11 Year Old (2018) Review (and comparison with 2017)

In the summer of 2017, Master Blender Dr. Don Livermore called the Hiram-Walker warehouse manager to ask that the six barrels intended for the that afternoon’s tasting be brought outdoors. This was unusual. Typically, when doing a tour through Hiram-Walker distillery, the much anticipated barrel tasting happens within the warehouse. That summer of August, though, was the day of the eclipse.

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