Lot No 40 Cask Strength 05 05100 (55.8% ABV) Unreleased
Taste Score: 98
Category: Canadian Whisky, New Oak, Rye, Single Barrel, Cask Strength
Whisky Cabinet Score: ★ ★ ★ ★
This is an utterly unfair review to write. You can't get this whisky. It's not sold anywhere. But it's a review I feel compelled to write, because I want this type of Canadian whisky out in the market.
The United States whisky market is rich with single barrel and small-batch cask strength options. They're not necessarily cheap, but they're plentiful for those that want higher proof whiskies. These whiskies are often praised by whisky enthusiasts. Canadians are still battling with their "nice" whisky status. Consumers don't expect big flavor bombs from Canada. The market is hard to crack.
But the Canadian whisky industry is taking steps in this direction. J.P. Wiser's is no slouch; they've been pushing bold flavor with releases like Lot No 40 rye and Wiser's 18 Year Old. Forty Creek is an innovator in Canada, selling forward-flavored oak whiskies since the 90s. Crown Royal has their Barrel Select program for the United States market. Canadian Club has something up their sleeve. Whiskies with big flavor are streaming in. It's time for higher-proof Canadian whiskies to enter the market.
Consumer expectations of Canadian whisky are changing, but can a cask strength whisky thrive? I hope so, because this Lot 40 Cask Strength rivals any of the great whiskies I've had from North America: Pappy 20, Stagg, William Laure Weller, Thomas Handy Rye. The sampling of Lot 40 Cask Strength is easily on that level. The complexity of a Pappy 20, with the power of a Stagg, and the rush of flavor of the Thomas Handy Rye.
There's something unique in the combination of Canadian virgin oak barrels aged in the colder Canadian climate. The softer caramel notes (I see this, as well, with J.P. Wiser's Last Barrels) allow for lighter rich flavors to shine. Canadian ryes have always been distinct in tone--rich, intensely floral, and moving. This older cask strength rye amplifies all the components that go into the whisky: the rye spirit, the barrel maturation, and time.
Will this product come out? I can tell you that it's being considered. Canadian J.P. Wiser's Global Brand Whisky Ambassador, Dave Mitton, has been passing out samples at every whisky event he gets to. He wants to see this product released. Is the Canadian (or US) market ready to pounce on a cask strength Canadian rye? That's the current question being asked by the people at J.P. Wiser's.
It's time to get this whisky out there. Use #It's time to get this whisky out there. Use #ReleaseLot40CS (updated) to help get this whisky on the market.
Nose: A quiet nose that rapidly takes over the sense within moments of being poured. The notes of recently cut oak come through subtly, and the high caramel notes start breaking through. Blood orange peel is next. Licorice hints at the back. Some vanilla, notes of toffee. Light dill. Leather and tobacco swarm. As with many unfiltered cask strength whiskies, there's a funky oaky note on the nose that I particularly enjoy because it's such a rare treat. This barrel is about ten years old, and it was bottled at 72.5%. It has wonderful depth. The high citrus notes continue to be that of blood orange, nicely wrapped around caramel sweetness. The yeasty notes (distillers grain) are lightly present. The nose has floral rye notes, but they're definitely subdued by the oak maturation, and take time to develop.
Palate: Light caramel to start, with a hint of deep rich caramel and lovely dark chocolate, combined with cinnamon spice that hits you from the tongue to the back of the throat. The combination of rye spice and oak spice plays wonderfully front-to-back of the palate. While the nose was light on rye notes, on the palate it has the familiar beautiful Canadian rye characteristic. It's not unlike the Lot No 40 rye in that way, but at cask strength the oak pushes as the primary flavor and the rye evolves the whisky into the next level. The cinnamon spice hangs around for days on the palate, with an oily dark chocolate note that works well in combination.
Conclusion: This is a deep, rich rye with all the wonderful notes from a whisky aged in new oak and the complexity of rye on the palate. There's no downside to this whisky. It satisfies from nose, to sip, to the long finish. When considering the depth of a whisky, I look for a whisky that keeps on giving new notes as I nose and taste it. This one does. #ReleaseLot40CaskStrength might be your only chance to taste it.
*Whisky Cabinet Rating Explained:
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ 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
Disclaimer: Thank you to J.P. Wiser's for providing me a sample of this product. It carried no influence over my review. It's not available for-sale.