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Corby's Lot No. 40 Rye Explorations Release No. 01

Happy New Year!

11 1288

@NozinanReview by @Nozinan

1st Jan 2022


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: user

  • Brand: Corby's
  • ABV: 55.5%
  • Batch: L21202 (2021)

I’ve developed a tradition of posting a review of a Canadian whisky on January 1st. This will be my fifth such review. I have a small backlog of Canadians I want to review, and originally I was going to do a H2H2H of three ryes, but time and palate did not permit.

The first two editions (2017 and 2018) of Corby’s Lot 40 CS were excellent. Unfortunately the third in 2019 was less so. Last year there was no CS rye release. This year Dr. Livermore came back with a CS rye, the first of what will presumably be a series of “Rye Explorations”. Though it is NAS, we can see on the bottle that this one was finished for “17 months in 150 L First-Fill Peated Single Malt Casks”. Initially hard to find, @fiddich1980 was kind enough to source one for me in November. Rye and peat? How will that go?

First opened November 13 (about a month and a half ago) and gassed, when I reviewed it the bottle was 80% full (a couple of tastes and a 60 cc sample having been drawn off).

This expression is reviewed in a Brilliant Highland whisky glass in my usual manner, 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. My palate has been a little off the last few days but it seemed back on track today so let’s give it ago.

(December 30, 2021)

Nose: 21/25

Sweet and spicy (baking spices) with some sour notes. Some vanilla and caramel. Some fruity gummy candies. The peat is not very prominent. More a suggestion than anything else.

With water the peat is a bit more noticeable . The nose is sweeter, a little richer (almost like syrup was added). More savoury notes replace the gummy candies. A little more complex. (21.5/25)

Taste: 21/25

Bitter and peppery on the first sip. Sweet and sour in the development. There is caramel and vanilla and something savoury I can’t pin down. I get some menthol freshness.

With water the peat is much more prominent. Initially hot on the arrival, I get a mouthful of peat, and the pepper is less prominent. Vanillas and some caramel, along with less sweet spices. A little fresh apple in the background. More complex with water.(22/25)

Finish: 22/25

Peppery astringent and warm. Maybe a hint of peat on the breath. Some ash. The finish attenuates over a long time.

With water the finish is sweeter, less peppery. I get butterscotch on the exhale, as well as some ash. (22.5/25)

Balance: 21/25

The nose and palate complement each other. The pepperiness overpowers what might otherwise be a more complex whisky.

With water the whisky is a bit more balanced and more complex. (22/25)

Score: Neat - 85/100 With Water: 88/100

This is unlike any of the other cask strength Lot 40 releases. The rye and peat combo may not be for everyone. I’ve certainly experienced it differently each time I’ve tried it. When I first opened it I was impressed. The second time my palate said “nope”. I would classify this as a mood whisky. But with the right conditions and the right mood, this is a good whisky.

I’m glad I have a spare to keep the set complete, but I suspect this first bottle will be with me for a long time.

Happy New Year everyone!


paddockjudge commented

Once upon a time there was a well known distillery, and another, and another....all of which produced at least one core release that was known to be of exceptionally high quality, and believe it or not, good value and relative affordability.

All of these consumer favourites were priced under $100. After a number of years of successful production and distribution, the distilleries discontinued these, what have now become, cult classics.

Aberlour 100

Glenlivet Nadurra 16 YO

Macallan Cask Strength Sherry Cask

The only discontinued release with a replacement worthy of mentioning is Aberlour a'Bunadh, and that has become questionable in recent years. I will give Aberlour credit for alerting the baseball fans to the "100" replacement. They had the courage to indicate the intended replacement, in the new moniker, by adding "dh" at the end of a'Buna.

Is this starting to ring true of Wiser's Corby? Have they too forsaken long-time fans of Lot 40? I believe the experimental range of recent Lot 40s has left a huge hole in this distiller's line-up.

How difficult would it be to offer the proven product, Lot 40 CS Strength (New Oak) AND an experimental line? Perhaps it is difficult, or at least for another 5, or, 6, or 7 years, until they relearn the malting process for rye. The recent releases of Lot 40 contain ZERO MALTED RYE. Coincidentally, a different strain of Rye is being used as well. Coincidence?! Perhaps. Discontinued LEGACY!! I weep for the loss of this magnificent, affordable, and unequaled blended gem....which contained LOT 40, as we once new it.

A core range of masterfully crafted standard products is the backbone of any business. The promise of a new product seldom equals the proven performance of an old favourite. Obviously there are no lessons learned at Wiser's/Corby from historical blunders. C O K E .... NEW COKE ...'nuff said.

9 months ago 5Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented


The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

Businesses continue to make idiotic decisions. Don't forget the "boner of the year" award: Glendronach removing "Non-chill filtered" from their labels, refusing to be clear about what this means, and ignoring their once-devoted fanbase by changing one of the very things that made them popular. R.I.P. Glendronach. Let's see how joining the "style over substance" club works out. I guess it's worked out alright for Dalmore, Aberlour, Highland Park and Macallan. Maybe I'm the idiot.

9 months ago 5Who liked this?

paddockjudge commented

@OdysseusUnbound, when the top-knots turn to the non-alcoholic trend, you and I will be buying long-aged whisky at more reasonable prices…. I hope they are still wearing top-knots in China. thinking …. that is where most of the juice, both good and bad, is going.

9 months ago 3Who liked this?

Nozinan commented

Wow! I was just trying to write a simple review.... and what a firestorm I've created. A product of the times we live in, I suppose.

I agree with @paddockjudge that it's unfortunate that Corby's has forsaken something that is tried and true. The first two batches of Lot 40 CS were excellent but batch variation was sufficient to get us to come back for more (even with some in the bunker). This could have continued.

@OdysseusUnbound I'm not sure it worked for the Dalmore. I've never (to my knowlwdge) sought one out primarily because the fluff and marketing has turned me off.

That all said, I still think this is an interesting whisky.

9 months ago 2Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

@Nozinan People like us aren’t Dalmore’s target audience. For every anorak, there are at least 20 customers chasing the “luxury lifestyle”.

9 months ago 3Who liked this?

65glenfarclas commented

@OdysseusUnbound "Businesses continue to make idiotic decisions."

Often those idiotic decisions are "forced" on them. I'm sure Corby/Dr Livermore didn't purposely bottle inferior whisky (3rd batch of Lot 40 CS). They probably went NAS for the 3rd edition and then stopped bottling lot 40 CS because a) they simply don't have the casks b) it's not cost effective to search through tens of thousands of casks to find a hundred that are "good enough", c) they didn't make any money on them even though the first 2 editions sold out quickly.

As for Glendronach, whisky nerds that care about NFC are a minority. The vast majority of whisky drinkers freak out if it goes cloudy. So, chill filtering single malts seems idiotic for readers of this forum but that may not be their target market going forward. For example: Balvenie doesn't seem to have a problem selling low abv and chi filtered bottles in Ontario, despite being one of most relatively overpriced brands.

Like may on this board, I've never bought a bottle of THE Dalmore, but they don't stay on LCBO shelves for long, sooooooooo ....

The only way to find out if those decisions are/were truly "idiotic" is to exmine the financial statements ... and even then, its not always conclusive.

9 months ago 5Who liked this?

RianC commented

@65glenfarclas - Aye! Bottom line is all about 'coin' and the more corporate and global a business, the more this is seemingly nurtured above all else. Just shows what a 'diamond in the rough' distilleries like Springbank are.

I was lucky to taste some of the earlier Lot40 CS and it was excellent. It's a shame they've had to tinker, it really is.

9 months ago 3Who liked this?

BlueNote commented

If the corporate "idiots" have to sacrifice one anorak in order to gain 20 converts from the lumpen proletariat, well, that's just good business, isn't it?

9 months ago 3Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

@BlueNote Yup. Hence my line “maybe I’m the idiot.” For some multinational conglomerates, no amount of profit is ever enough. That’s why the few small “independents” that remain should be treasured (as long as they’re still making good products, obviously).

9 months ago 3Who liked this?

dloewen commented

@Nozinan nice review! I haven’t had my bottle open enough yet to experience the different “moods” within, might be a good reason to pour one tonight! wink

9 months ago 1Who liked this?

65glenfarclas commented

@OdysseusUnbound the key being "as long as they’re still making good products". I cringe at people that argue for supporting "craft"/local/small/independent/family owned/etc no matter what. I'm ok with paying (small) premiums for whiski from the crafty local producer so long as the product in good. I also don't mind giving Dieago et al my money for the good stuff they produce.

9 months ago 4Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

@65glenfarclas I agree. “Support local/small/independent” is great in spirit (pun intended) but the product has to be good, first and foremost.

9 months ago 2Who liked this?

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