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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

W.L. Weller C.Y.P.B. gets a ton of whisky collector hype, and it's great!

W.L. Weller C.Y.P.B. gets a ton of whisky collector hype, and it's great!

The people behind Buffalo Trace did research a few years ago, asking their fans on the type of whisky they’d like to see. A website asked several questions, including the preferred recipe of whisky (rye, bourbon, wheated bourbon), the age, the proof, etc. The results came in, and the Craft Your Perfect Bourbon was born. It’ll be an annual release. The first release, priced at $40, is already selling for hundreds of dollars in the after-market. Welcome to the bourbon craze. I’d hate to contribute to the hype, but Weller C.Y.P.B. is a terrific whisky. It’s probably the best in the Weller series.

Read More

Amrut Spectrum 50% Batch 1 Reviewed

Amrut Spectrum 50% Batch 1 Reviewed

Spectrum batch 0001 is a dark, brooding, terrific hot mess. The best kind of hot mess. Later batch numbers are a little more settled, youthful, and zestier. Still, batch 0001 will likely be the collector’s favourite because you’re not going to get flavours like this anywhere else. The distillery (located in Bangalore) is the master of hot climate new world whiskies.

Read More

Canadian Club Aged 40 Years - Not your everyday CC Rye

Canadian Club Aged 40 Years - Not your everyday CC Rye

Canadian Club joined the 2017 party of great Canadian whisky releases. This was an LCBO-only release at $250 a bottle, and it sold out within minutes. It’s apparently a hot-commodity in after-market trading. There are a few things not commonly spoken of when making Canadian Club 40, and it reflects in the flavour.

Read More

J.P. Wiser's Seasoned Oak - A continued celebration of Canadian blends

J.P. Wiser's Seasoned Oak - A continued celebration of Canadian blends

J.P. Wiser’s Seasoned Oak is part of the rare cask series, an annual unique release that comes out in time for father’s day. Last year’s release featured Dissertation, a play on Dr. Don Livermore’s PhD. With Seasoned Oak, this is a further celebration of the flavours barrels bring to the whisky we enjoy.

Read More

Dun Bheagan 31 Year Old Cask (Cask #6994) 53.8% Inchgower

Dun Bheagan 31 Year Old Cask (Cask #6994) 53.8% Inchgower

I’m often offered samples of whisky from strange places. This sample came to me via a square glass bottle with a wide lid. On a whim, I poured the sample into a Glencairn glass and quickly started jotting down tasting notes. It was immediately captivated. The nose is beautiful with complexity, booziness, and intensity. The palate is even more impressive. My original writeup on tastings notes for the palate were two paragraphs long. 

Read More

J.P. Wiser’s Aged 35 Years Review - A spry youthful 35 year old whisky!

J.P. Wiser’s Aged 35 Years Review - A spry youthful 35 year old whisky!

Many are surprised to know that J.P. Wiser’s 18 contains no prominent rye, and yet there’s a wonderful spice component to the whisky. All of that spice comes from barrel maturation. The base product here is a double-distilled corn whisky aged in reused American bourbon barrels. The 18 doesn’t get enough attention, primarily because it’s a little too one-note for some, but it makes a rich and dry whisky that competes wonderfully with many Scotches at and above its price-point of $60.

Read More

J.P. Wiser’s One Fifty - Undisputed Winner in Canada's Celebration

J.P. Wiser’s One Fifty - Undisputed Winner in Canada's Celebration

J.P. Wiser’s (or more generally, Corby’s) is the only big Canadian whisky company truly embracing today’s whisky drinker. Other whisky brands will argue the point, certainly, but J.P. Wiser’s deserves the credit. A decade ago, we had Forty Creek leading the Canadian whisky category. Five or so years ago, this category has grown with Canadian Club 100% Rye, Dark Horse, and Corby’s own Lot No 40. Barrels of whisky purchased from Alberta Distillers made big inroads, but were all sold under the US flag (Masterson’s & WhistlePig as an example). Last year we were left asking the question, who would take the next big leap?

Read More

J.P. Wiser’s Dissertation - Dr. Don Approved

J.P. Wiser’s Dissertation - Dr. Don Approved

The term “rare cask” gets tossed around in Scotland. It’s code for expensive, not necessarily rare, but J.P. Wiser’s has made true on their promise to produce rare whiskies that are also quite affordable (often around $60 Canadian). The first in the series, Last Barrels, sold exclusively in Ontario through the LCBO. Not long after, the BC Liquor Board wanted their own special release. They received Union 52. That was 2016. With the success of those two releases, J.P. Wiser’s has gone all in with the Rare Cask series. Dissertation is a continuation of this whisky conversation of new types of Canadian whisky releases.

Read More

Gooderham's Canadian Centennial 15 Years Old Canadian Whisky - Dusty Review

Canada is celebrating its 150th anniversary. In the next few months, we'll be hearing all about Corby's 150th anniversary whisky, but first let's review the whisky released for Canada's 100th birthday. This whisky, released in 1967, was distilled in 1952. At fifteen years matured in barrels, it's a rare old find from an era where Canadian whiskies were rarely bottled with a double-digit age statement. 

Read More

Glenmorangie Bacalta Review - A Rare Treat, A One-Time Release

Glenmorangie Bacalta Review - A Rare Treat, A One-Time Release

Old-school whisky stories that tell of how a distillery was first conceived are occasionally accurate and of historic relevance. For me, though, I find the story behind a particular bottle of whisky far more engaging--why did the whisky maker decide to make this whisky in particular? Often the answer is because he or she believes it will sell well. Sometimes, though, it's because they're haunted by a whisky from the past.

Read More

Bowmore 23 Review - Peated Scotch That Rewards Patience

Bowmore 23 Review - Peated Scotch That Rewards Patience

This whisky is ridiculous. There are few whiskies on the market aged entirely in port casks, and even fewer that spent a total of twenty-three years in port casks. Don't get me wrong, port cask finishings have become a "thing" in the last decade; that's when a whisky is primarily aged in more readily available (cheaper) American oak, and spends a few months to a few years in port casks. However, a whisky aged entirely in port casks for twenty-three years? Damn.

Read More

Masterson's Straight Rye 10 Year Old Review - Best Canadian Whisky 2017 (And Best Rye Anywhere)

Masterson's Straight Rye 10 Year Old Review - Best Canadian Whisky 2017 (And Best Rye Anywhere)

I was one of ten judges scoring the Canadian Whisky Awards for 2017. Masterson's Straight Rye 10 Year Old (Batch PSA3-0035) scored as my the best Canadian whisky, and it also averaged as the best overall Canadian whisky from the judges narrowly beating Gooderham & Warts Four Grain and Lot No 40.

Read More

Reviewing Redbreast 12 Cask Strength, 15, and 21 - You Can't Go Wrong

Reviewing Redbreast 12 Cask Strength, 15, and 21 - You Can't Go Wrong

Redbreast is produced in New Midleton Distillery (home of Jameson). It’s not a single malt, but rather a pot still, which is made from both malted and unmalted barley. Unmalted barley is typically responsible for greener notes, and it’s traditional from an era where the UK charged taxes based on how much barley was malted.

Read More

Lagavulin 8 Year Old Review - Diageo's Welcomed Volley At Whisky Reviewers

Lagavulin 8 Year Old Review - Diageo's Welcomed Volley At Whisky Reviewers

I made the mistake of doing a blind tasting pitting Lagavulin 8 against Lagavulin 16. These two drinks could not be any different, and while the older scotch is more immediately pleasing on the nose, Lagavulin 8 Year Old is more brilliant then I would have imagined. It might even be better then Lagavulin 16, depending on your mood. It's also a big corporate middle finger to whisky writers that complain about no-age statement whisky (more on that later).

Read More