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.
Eleven Souls is named after the eleven orphans that William Gooderham assumed care of after a sickness and disease afflicted many during his transatlantic journey to Canada in the 1830s. William Gooderham partnered with James G. Worts to start the Gooderham & Worts milling company. They built a distillery as a side-business to so unsold grain wouldn’t go to waste, but distillery eventually became the primary business. The Gooderham family were incredibly influential, especially in Toronto. Manulife Financial, TD Canada, The Gooderham Building, and of course, what is now known as the Distillery District, were all once owned by the Gooderham family. [Reference]
Eleven Souls is this year’s Gooderham & Worts release as part of the Northern Border Collection, an annual collection of whiskies released by Corby’s Wine & Spirits from the Hiram-Walker Distillery. This year’s release is a mix of new oak and reused oak, and combines many of the grains produced at Hiram-Walker Distillery. It includes brasetto rye, malted rye, wheat, barley (both malted and unmalted), and corn. Some of the barrels used represented a fraction of the final product (under 1%), while others had a prominent presence (rye, for example, seems dominant). Some grains were pot distilled, others were column distilled. A true mix of everything. The 49% ABV represents the address for the Distillery District, 49 Wellington.
Gooderham & Worts Eleven Souls
Hiram-Walker Distillery - Corby’s Wine & Spirits
Canadian Whisky, Blended Whisky
Nose: Great rye spice with crushed blood orange, pepper, nuttiness (from the barley), and dark chocolate. The smell of an opened cask (wine or whisky), with light levels of tobacco smoke, sweet melting caramel, candied citrus notes (orange), and a spice that is reminiscent of Tabasco sauce (acidic, sweet, spicy). The buttery, caramel and char notes waft nicely, but they don’t take over the experience. Barley notes (nutty) are faint at first, but as the whisky matures in the glass, they too come out.
Palate: Really great crushed blood orange, peppery spice, lemon zest, buttery notes, and some hints of char. For the briefest of moments, you’re tasting Lot No. 40, but the rye notes are in slow motion; slow enough that the other flavours spread through beautifully. The nuttiness of the malted barley really starts coming through, and so do the heavier spices. At first it’s like black tea, with the sharp herbal notes, but it’s not far off from anise. The sweetness settles the sharpness in a fantastic balance. The tangy notes of this whisky are perfect, keeping the palate awake throughout, and the buttery notes make you want to sip more. The finish is tangy at first, dry moments later on, and herbal all the way through. Rye spice is there, but the sugars balance this one out. There’s a luxury to the whisky, but not at first; the whisky starts sharp and tangy, and the sweetness builds over time.
★ ★ ★ ★ Extraordinary, memorable, and original in any category
It’s a vibrant drink that will change in the glass; so pour, sip a little, and wait, then sip a little more. If you’re expecting to drink an oak-forward Canadian whisky, this might seem a little more ordinary. However, if you’re a scotch drinker and look for the prime moments of the finishing flavours, this is going to be a terrific pour for you!
Disclaimer: I was provided samples of this whisky. I also purchased this whisky.
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Not recommended
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ Good whisky, but not a ‘must-have’
★ ★ ☆ ☆ Your great regular rotation whisky that'll come and go
★ ★ ★ ☆ Excellent, a near must-have
★ ★ ★ ★ Extraordinary, memorable, and original