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Corby's Lot 40 18 YO Single Barrel Rye Whisky

Happy New Year!

4 487

@NozinanReview by @Nozinan

1st Jan 2023


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: user

  • Brand: Corby's
  • ABV: 56.1%

Well, this was a treat. Early this year I heard from someone about a mysterious group called The Drop Collective that anyone could join, that was holding a lottery for a very exclusive release of a 18 YO cask strength Lot 40 rye. Of course FOMO reared its head and I wanted in. But the chances of winning the opportunity to buy a bottle seemed very small. And besides, would I want to shell out $270 for a bottle of whisky?

As it turns out, I did win the option to buy a bottle, and @Cricklewood and @Paddockjudge were up for a three way split, so this third of a bottle only cost me as much as I normally pay for a full bottle of cask strength Canadian rye…

We finally were able to get together to open it in September, and after tasting it a second time at the end of November I decided to use this expression to continue my tradition of a Canadian Rye review on January 1. I recognize that I’ve posted reviews of 3 other CS Lot 40 expressions on Jan. 1 in previous years so this should fit right in.

This may be the oldest CS 100% rye I have tasted (forgive me @Victor if we tasted an older one when we visited you, @Dramlette and @Maddie). I’ve had older ryes from Alberta Premium but they have been at a much lower ABV. This one was bottle 36 of only 154.

I’m did my formal tasting notes on Dec. 18, 2022, because I planned to be away the week before NY, and feared I might come back too sick to taste whisky in time.

This expression is reviewed in my usual manner in a Brilliant Highland Whisky Glass, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.

Nose: 21.5/25

Rich, warm , sweet nose. If “oaky” is a smell this has it. Lots of vanilla and caramel. Maybe a hint of black cherry. A faint wisp of espresso. Definitely some dill, not the pickle brine, but the green herb. With time in the glass the dill recedes and there are more baking spices. This has a very bold nose.

Adding water brings out a slight freshness to the nose and we get a return of the dill, but it is more integrated. (22/25)

Taste: 21/25

Tannic, sweet and spicy in the first sip. Very bitter, almost like the bitter you might get if you sipped unsweetened vanilla extract straight (yes, I tried it - ok, maybe it’s not exactly the same, bit it is similar). The caramel is there as well.

Water sweetens the arrival. The caramel and vanilla play together very nicely without as much oaky bitterness. The oak is still there, but more tame. (22/25)

Finish: 21.5/25

Astringent. Oaky. Dill on the exhale.

Balance: 20.5/25

The oak is a little overpowering on the palate. Bold flavours in this dram. Much better balance with water added. (22/25)

Score: Neat - 84.5/100 With Water: 87.5/100

I would be remiss if I did not do a comparison with the first 2 cask strength releases, the 12 YO from 2017 and the 11 YO from 2018. I was shocked that I hadn’t poured from these bottles in over three years (Nov. 11, 2019 and Sept. 5, 2019 respectively)! I really ought not to leave it that long.

I find both the younger ryes to be much more complex. After tasting them the 18 YO appears very oaky and tannic, and I notice a little menthol in the finish which I had not tasted before. I think I prefer the younger ones, but as usual, I can’t choose a favourite between the 12 YO and the 11 YO.

Mixing them together three ways is a real treat. The oaky backbone supports the fruitier and more complex younger ryes, but it loses the 12YO’s delicious coffee flavours.

This is a tasty whisky, especially with a little bit of water. While it is normally outside my preferred price range, I’m glad I bought into the bottle split. This release is a piece of history. I’ve heard that some people have sold their bottles for hundreds of dollars more than they paid. I congratulate them, but they didn’t get to taste it…

May you all have a happy, healthy 2023!


OdysseusUnbound commented

Thanks for your review. It’s always interesting to read your take on the Lot 40 whiskies. I think I was the only one who enjoyed the Lot 40 French Oak CS when we tasted it with @fiddich1980 but the 11 year CS remains my favourite.

about one year ago 2Who liked this?

Astroke commented

@OdysseusUnbound I agree, for me the 11 year was a hair better than the 12 and both were better than the 18. FWIW, I also liked the French Oak CS. The Peated CS is no more than a novelty pour. I am getting impatient waiting for the 3 Wine finished CS bottles that were promised a year ago.

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

@Astroke I agree re: Peated CS. The peat was incredibly subtle, but I suppose it was probably owing to the fact that the "peated" casks used were probably very, uhm, experienced.

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

65glenfarclas commented

Ten years ago I would've had major FOMO with this one - and might have spent countless hours hunting down a bottle. I did put in a ballot, but reading reviews, I'm glad I did NOT "win" ... as if spending 270 bucks on a bottle of whiski can be considered "winning" a lottery, LOL. Thank you for "taking one for the team", guys. I still have 2 bottles of the 12yo and one of the 11yo for about the same price....each probably better than a single bottle of the one I "missed out" on!

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

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