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Lot No. 40

Average score from 10 reviews and 16 ratings 89

Lot No. 40

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Lot No. 40

I've only tried a few ryes but am finding that I quite like the punchy, spicy and herbal complexity the grain offers. This is my first Canadian rye (well first Canadian whisk(e)y all together, I think) and I'm happy to report I'm more than pleased with the virgin oak matured, copper pot still distillate.

Bottles been open going on two months now and has about 3/5s left. Review is from a neat pour sat for fifteen minutes or so.

Nose - Warming, sweet and spicy with menthol/eucalyptus notes ever so slightly taking the lead. Some red apple, toffee, ginger and a touch of tobacco and leather. Sticky peach glazed French pastries. More complex than I'd have expected to be honest.

Taste - Quite a rich mouthfeel for the abv that unwinds as you chew revealing the mint, toffee and fruity, sticky pastries along with some solid oak notes that are pleasingly well integrated. Again, surprisingly complex and lots going on without any one note taking over

Finish - Medium. It fades to a sort of fruit syrup drenched oak with some dry and bitter tannins; but given the relative richness of the mouthfeel it balances this whisky out nicely and makes you reach for the glass again (which is always a good sign). There's also a kind of minty 'nip' that lingers about nicely as well.

What I really like with this whisky is how it tows the line between being not too sweet and not too savoury. It also seems to be more balanced than other ryes I've had, especially where the heavy spice notes are concerned. What struck me with this was just how good it was as soon as I opened the bottle - no need for airing or decanting here - and it's not done much since then expect keep bringing a smile to my face every time I pop the cork. I'd be interested in the age of this and the mash-bill, which I'm guessing isn't 100% rye but could well be wrong?

in short, a great introduction to Canada's whisk(e)y wares and, perhaps, rye whisk(e)y in general. Recommended - seriously. And for those in the UK this is about £30 or maybe under and gives genuinely excellent value for money. Bring on the cask strength . . .

I’m glad you enjoyed this. I’m fairly certain this is 100% unmalted rye (the 2012 release had malted rye in it), but you’d have to ask @paddockjudge to confirm.

@OdysseusUnbound - Cheers! It really is a pleasure. One of those whiskys that has the knack of being easy (too easy!) to sip at whilst being rewarding every time.

I can't say it evokes memories of freezing my arse off in Montreal or swimming in the lakes of the Laurentian mountains but it does make me want another bottle and to see what else the real jewel in the Commonwealth Crown has to offer lol! smile


Lot No 40 is a cheap rye whisky that was awarded ‘Best Canadian Whisky’ twice already (albeit at the Canadian Whisky Awards, first in 2013 and again in 2016 – funnily enough the year in which Jim Murray named the Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye Best Whisky in the World in his (in)famous Whisky Bible. It is distilled in Windsor, Ontario, just a bridge distant from Detroit.

The nose starts on spices and wood. Pine bark! Quite some cloves and some mint. The first prickle quickly disappears to make room for some sweet notes like milk chocolate and corn on the barbecue drenched in sweet butter. Not bad, but not earthshattering either. The wood dominates, which I think is a pity.

The arrival is sweet and sour with again lots of woody notes. The pine tree returns. Quite herbal. Thym, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Slowly evolves towards dark bread with sesame seeds. The corn on the barbecue evolves towards mildly salted popcorn, but the whole works. I would have liked this to be a tad sweeter though.

The finish is more of the same with lots of spices and wood. At the death, the tannins take control, leaving your mouth dry.

It probably me, but it is too dry, to woody and not sweet enough to enjoy neat.

Lot 40 is not a cheap rye whiskey. It often matches Laprhoaig 10 in price. And the adjective "cheap" does nothing to help your review. Old Overholt is is cheap and can be quite good. OGD BIB and 114 are cheap and taste great. You mostly review whiskies that are very rare, like Serge. That's great. But that's not where most of us live.

@markjedi1 Thanks for your review. Inasmuch as my fellow Connosrs and I often sing the praises of Lot 40 (and Dr Don Livermore), it’s not going to please everyone. Also, Lot 40 is not immune from batch variation.

I found it interesting to note that it wasn’t sweet enough for you. I’ve always found some lovely vanilla and caramel notes in Lot 40 which scream VIRGIN OAK behind the spicy, herbal rye notes. Then again, I don’t like sweet whiskies, so maybe my “just right” is too dry for some. Vive la différence !


This is an abridged version of a blog post I'll be publishing tomorrow

If the Internet is correct, the original Lot 40 (circa late 1990s) was the brainchild of then Master Distiller Mike Booth. It was an attempt by Hiram Walker to create three different premium whiskies known as the Canadian Whisky Guild. The success of these whiskies was limited, probably owing to the snobbishness of consumers when it comes to premium Canadian whiskies. Lot 40 was discontinued, much to the chagrin of Canadian whisky enthusiasts. In 2012, Corby spirits (which had acquired Hiram Walker) re-released Lot no.40. To ensure that they weren't just selling a venerated name and capitalizing on the (recent) past, Master distiller Dr Don Livermore consulted with the retired Mike Booth to ensure the recipe was authentic. Lot 40 is produced in a single, 12 000 litre copper pot still at the Hiram Walker facility in Windsor, Ontario. Lot no. 40 won Canadian Whisky of the Year in 2015 (Canadian Whisky Awards) as well as Connoisseur Whisky Of The Year Multiple Markets and a Gold Medal in 2017 (Canadian Whisky Awards). So I guess you could say it's kind of a big deal.

Tasting notes

  • Nose (undiluted) : rye bread, oak, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper
  • Palate (undiluted): medium-bodied, rye spice, toasted oak, lots of baking spices, cinnamon hearts, hints of apple and caramel
  • Finish: medium-long, spicy, slight vanilla note, black pepper with oakiness lingering.

Adding water allows more complexity to shine through. Lot 40 may seem like a one-trick pony at first, but it deserves your full attention. With water, more herbal notes come through and some tobacco makes an appearance. There is also a citrus note that becomes more evident with water, perhaps oranges. This whisky is even great in an Old Fashioned tumbler on the rocks. Hey, not every whisky needs to be sipped from a Glencairn all of the time. Honestly, I like this whisky almost as much as Dissertation. Highly recommended.

Don Livermore and his minions saw to it that we received Lot 40 T shirts while we were at Tales of the Cocktail. "Unapologetically Canadian" it says on the front. Hhhhmmmm...why would you feel the need to say that?

Dr. Don looks just like one of my brothers-in-law.

@RianC I often make OF with this whisky. I make sure to use a large ice sphere so the drink isn’t too diluted. And I may use a double dose of Lot 40 more often than not. I can’t bring myself to use the cask strength version for a cocktail. Also, I’ve made exactly ONE Old Fashioned with Wiser’s Dissertation, and it was phenomenal. But I’ve only got 2 bottles of Dissertation left, so that won’t happen again.


Well, Canada Day may have come and gone, but I think now’s as good a time as ever to post what I can honestly call my favourite Canadian whisky to date. Here we have Corby’s Lot No. 40. Produced at Hiram Walker distillery, this one’s made from 100% rye. 10% of it is malted, the rest unmalted. Usually I prefer American rye, but I bought this based on both the advice of trusted friends as well as the overwhelmingly positive that this gets online.

Nose: Not as sharp as I’d expected. Rye grass, eucalyptus, caramel, aloe, dill, earth, cereal, and banana bread.

Palate: Rather spicy and tannic, in a good way. Caramel, wood polish, cloves, apple, cinnamon, dill, orange soda, and lemon meringue pie.

Finish: A singed, semi-bitter set of flavours carry us through the rather short finish. Woodspice, birch, orange soda, unflavoured popcorn, pie crust, meat pie, rye, sour dough bread, and meringue. A very special set of flavours here.

Thoughts: Very unlike any rye I’ve had before. This bottle has been open for 6 months and I’m only now starting to really get into it. I like how “anti-sweet” it is, and the dill, meringue, popcorn, and orange soda add to the character. I expected this to be a simple, sharp, rye-forward whisky, but that’s not the case. Instead it oozes character and style. However I do find that the finish, despite being interesting, is quite short. And even with a high abv by Canadian standards (yes… 43% is high for us), I’d still love to try this as a stronger whisky. But it certainly is distinctive and engaging; definitely one I can get behind. And at $40 CAD, this is bang for buck stuff. Highly recommended.


This whisky is made from the same stuff as the 2012 batch, except that it was actually aged in wood a few extra years (and the bottle no longer contains "2012" on it).

Nose: Dried fruits, cinnamon, and, oak, oaky caramel, and mint. The grain is rich with a bit of a flambeed banana character. Yeasty, too. A bit sour too, a bit like sour rye bread. Rich, oaky, spicy....there are a few out of place bitter notes which detract lightly as well. However, relative to the 2012 batch - more caramel and charred notes, and more rum. If I had to pick, I might say I ever so slightly prefer the nose on the 2012 batch, but they're close and consistent. 26.5/30 (88%)

Taste: Tannic, and really it has pushed the oak right to the edge. Quite intense with some dark fruits and banana, mint, and lots of rye notes - for sure. Still has that classic mouthwatering, rich taste though which makes it hard not to adore this one. Light arugula is there as well. Delicious, pure and simple. Has the intensity and boldness to be chewed, really. Sometimes, similar to some bourbons and straight whiskeys, it is a bit too sweet - but, in this case, it's still nicely offset by the spice. This is really quite addictive stuff on the palate, and I think I like it a touch more than the 2012 batch - though, once again, they're consistent and very close. 27/30 (90%)

Finish: A bit tannic, and bitter. Spices are there, for sure, in good quantity. Sourdough and banana, too. cinnamon. Lots of flavour amidst the tannin. And, also, oak. Green apples. 18/20 (90%) Conclusion: Quite a nice rye, but perhaps not as good as the last...I think there's too much oak here - the tannins are a bit high, but not over the top. I still think one of your best buys (especially if you are a fan of rye, straight or not- a very solid whisky. It's certainly one I always like to stock, and my tastes and preferences have been shifting more in its direction as the years plod on, I think. 18/20 (90%)

Weighting the nose 25%, the taste 35%, the finish 15%, and intrigue 25%, the overall score is 91. I have said that I like the 2012 batch more, which I rated 89...I still agree with my component percentages but I suppose this means that my rating scheme I have been using on connosr to test it out has yet to be tweaked. Weightings of 30/30/20/20 rather than 25/35/15/25 which I use on my blog are perhaps more representative of my actual score.

On the note of ratings, I have also been noticing that in whisky I gravitate towards what is best, which often means that, in my mind, I naturally change my "weightings" to more heavily favor the best parts of the whisky - and perhaps I should tweak my scheme to reflect that. For instance, if I rate a whisky 90/85 on the nose/taste, I will enjoy it more than a whisky which is 87.5/87.5. In this batch, I found the nose not quite as expressive but the palate better than the 2012 batch, but in the 2012 the nose made the whisky in a similar way that the palate makes the whisky here, and not necessarily in equal parts each time...interesting.

@JasonHambrey, thank you for the nice review, as usual. I have found the more recent iteration of Lot No. 40 to be somewhat muted or dialed-down when compared h2h with the 2012 edition. I had read somewhere that the newer release was approximately 12 years old; however, while speaking with Don Livermore recently, he mentioned the bond lot for this newer batch was 2005 and it would have been 9ish years in oak. I must say at this time the 2012 is more to my liking; it has a bit more of a rye-spice kick, but they are both very nice whiskies.

With regard to the scores you have assigned to the two batches, and your stated preference being for the lower scoring (89)2012 edition, this is not uncommon - having a preference for the lower scoring expression....some whiskies just punch above their weight.


This whisky was well regarded among whisky connoisseurs, until it disappeared roughly a decade ago. However, it was re-released in 2012 and was received very well - once again. It is a 100% malted rye whisky, distilled in a single copper pot still, aged in new charred wood which is pretty apparent when you smell the bold caramel and candied rye.

Currently there is a bottling out without a year statement on it - I haven't had it, but I'd be interested to see how that batch compares.

Nose: This is wonderful rye, and an incredible nose! The big, and distinctive thing for me here is banana peel...and lots of it. There's also toffee, rye bread, oak, green apple, apple juice, lilacs, and it's a bit sour. Also, there's a touch of orange pekoe tea and some other floral elements including fragrant nectar-smelling blossoms. In comparitive reviews, this nose always jumps out to me as beautiful and complex, and it's interesting also to see what I've noticed in comparitive reviews - star anise, some beef-jerky like smoky aromas, and some medicinal and chemical aromas - reminiscent of some of the medicinal qualities of Islay peat, obviously without the smokiness and earthiness (if you can imagine it). 90%

Taste: Lots of toffee, tangy rye, and oak. It's very bold, spicy, and fruity with bits of green apple and banana coming through. The flavours appear to be layered, one under another which is very lovely. I get some dried apricot and prunes, and a significant layer of oak under it all. The star anise from the nose carries through as well, as well as some wonderful clove and nutmeg. The spicy tingle at the end is just right...wonderful. 88%

Finish: warm finish with rising heat as it leaves the mouth, with spicy and fruity rye eventually leaving you with the oak and a touch of earthiness. 90%

Intrigue: Quite a powerful whisky, with very distinct flavour. Nice flavour and finish...might be too bold for some tastes. Very enjoyable, and well blended. The more that I drink this the more I like it, and my score has crept up as I have had more bottles of it. A fantastic rye - if more widely available I think it would be very difficult to obtain. 90%

Weighting the nose 25%, taste 35%, Finish 15%, and Intrigue 25% the overall grade is 91.

PS...how can a grade by 91 when all the components are less than such a score? a product of how I round my scores - I kept it the same for consistency and I don't mind such a score for a product like this one.


Lot No. 40 2012 release. A "single copper pot still" Canadian whisky "made with malted rye". I have read that it is made of 90% rye grains and 10% rye malt, though I can't find official confirmation. I bought this bottle during a spirits sale at the Québec liquor store, the SAQ. Regular price: 40$CAD.

Drunk neat. First glass from the bottle.

Nose: Sweeter than I expected from a whisky made of rye. Caramel and vanilla with some mint and slightly spicy. Everything I expected from a Canadian whisky.

Taste: It arrives soft and syrupy, with caramel up front as the nose promised. For the first few seconds, It reminds me a bit of the Redbreast Irish whiskey, though this does not last: the Lot No. 40 rapidly turns sour and slightly bitter as fruit notes (citrus) and rye spices take over.

Finish: Pepper dominates here, with other spices and fresh oak lasting for quite a long time.

Balance: From the sweet attack, through the sour and fruity middle and finishing with the peppery and spicy finale, this is a very interesting sipper. It is not the most balanced and it is rather aggressive, which some might not like, but I would recommend trying it.

Will I be buying it again? It is certainly a very interesting whisky (especially for a Canadian whisky) and it can easily be win a permanent place in my cabinet. I do prefer other Canadians (Wiser's Legacy and the Forty Creek Pot Still Reserve), but both are quite hard to come by here in Québec. I can also see it becoming the base for some rye cocktails.

All in all, I say it's a must try. Every sip seems to bring out something different.

@Matthieu my bottle was first full of tropical notes and now it's moving to the floral side with a grappa note. I really like it but I think that is what you taste as sour, so I would advise you to drink it fast before oxygen turns it into a sour mash. We don't taste whisky the same way at all. For example, Forty Creek Pot Still Reserve is way to sweet for my taste and I don't like maple in my glass. I like the blast of orange in it and the price but I will not buy a new bottle. For me LO 40 IS OF STELLAR QUALITY compare to FC Pot Still.

Par ailleurs, je suis de la rive nord de MTL et je vais habituellement 2 à 3 fois par année à la LCBO. Je pourrais t'aviser avant ma prochaine excursion et pourrais être une mule. Si cela t'intéresse, laisse-le moi savoir...

For me this one has a real strong smell of ''Dill'' that even migrates into the taste. A bit challenging, but not completly off-putting. Very nice for a canadian especially for the price.


When I first taste Old Potrero 18th Century style, my reaction was why Canadian rye have always the same profile, why Canadian rye can be that good?!!! Well, now I can say Canadian Rye can be that good! And be sure it is not patriotism since it is quite canadian to look at ourselves as good second level performer. But not this time!

It is the first time I encounter such a ripe banana nose with that much spices, nutmeg and cinnamon. Wow! With the vanilla, you have a fantastic custard. When I add some Special K cereal and rose water, I am simply blown away.

The palate is in line with the nose with even more ripe banana to which you can add a nice red tea and some plum. Fantastic!

The banana and the floral notes are lingering for ever on the finish. What a surprise!

The balance is there. It is a very coherent whisky with all the exotic notes you are not expecting from a Canadian dram. A very sweet dessert dram with maybe the best value you can find; that is, at least, in Canada where it is only 40$!

100% rye whisky is MY idea of 'real Canadian whisky'. Too bad it is not most Canadian distillers' idea of Canadian whisky. I will look for ripe banana the next time I have some Lot 40. I love ripe banana.

Usually I find that oxydation enhance the ripe banana, that is at least for the 4 to 6 first months. So, hopefully, time is on your side. I am with you about the 100% rye whisky. May I add that I prefer when they hold the maple in leach. If they want to put the flag on the bottle that is fine with me; but, please, keep it out of it!


APPEARANCE: Dark caramel.

BODY: Medium bodied.

AROMA: Delicious. Like dark caramel flan sauce with dark rum, spicy rye and cherry notes.

ON THE PALATE: The arrival is dryer than the nose. Rye, cherry and oak at the top, with a flash of sweetness, then a long fading away of the sweetness into spicy rye and malt, with coffee at the bottom, earth and dry. And the cherry, always the cherry.

SUMMARY: There’s a lot here to be contemplated. Great balance. Complex and rich, yet very drinkable. Tasting this whisky is a long, lingering spicy trip from sweet to dry. There is no age statement, but there is nothing obviously young about this whisky except perhaps the pleasant spiciness of the rye. A fine dram for those who like their rye complex and a little on the dry side.

VALUE: At $57, and considering I was amazed to find it in NYC the other day, this is a pretty good value.

Megawatt also did a review of this whisky back in October of 2012, which I entirely agree with.


Here is a whisky that until now existed on in legends for me, since it was discontinued before I came to appreciate fine spirits. Now it has been reintroduced, owing no doubt to the resurgence of demand for fine Canadian whisky. The bottle delcares that it is a "single copper pot still" whisky, which is an unusual designation which seems to indicate a straight, unblended product. The label also states "made with malted rye", and "pure Canadian rye whisky in its simplest form." Interesting.

Nose: from the bottle, it reminds me of American straight rye (or rye-heavy bourbon), but without the heavy oak char influence. In the glass I get an estery sweet-sour aroma, laced with spice. Some herbal aromas emerge in time. Also pine needles and sawdust. A heavy aroma for a Canadian whisky. There are traces of the typical caramel and vanilla, but these are overwhelmed by the intensity of the rye.

Taste: Quite aggressive without seeming harsh. Rather it is big and oily, with a big sour dough sort of flavour that coats the tongue. I don’t find this whisky even remotely fruity. Instead the sweetness is of hard candy, like crunching a Wurther’s with a mouthful of hot spice.

Finish: a flawless finish in my book. Very long and smooth, fading on just the right notes. Pleasantly tangy.

Balance: in many ways, a whisky-lover’s whisky. It gives us whisky geeks a good chance to experience unadulterated rye, and helps us recognize and appreciate that grain’s influence in other whiskies we love. On top of that, it is an uncompromising whisky that delivers on all fronts, and is extremely drinkable.

Picked this up last week and have not been disappointed either...nice review and yes very drinkable.

Couldn't agree more. And a great price point to boot!

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