Whisky Connosr

Gooderham & Worts Little Trinity 17 Year Old

Patience is a virtue

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@OdysseusUnboundReview by @OdysseusUnbound

11th Apr 2018


Gooderham & Worts Little Trinity 17 Year Old
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: user

  • Brand: Gooderham & Worts
  • ABV: 45%

This is an abridged version of a blog post I put up today

J.P. Wiser's 35 Year Old caught our attention with its impressive age statement. Lot No.40 Cask Strength 12 Year Old excited those of us who already love the "standard" Lot No.40 with its boisterous "it goes to eleven" nature.

The other two releases from the Northern Border Collection, Pike Creek 21 Year Old Speyside Cask and Gooderham & Worts 17 Year Old Three Grain, didn't draw as much immediate fanfare. Whisky enthusiasts ignoring the latter are missing out.

The name honours the Little Trinity Church in Toronto, a church founded by William Gooderham in 1842 for his mill and distillery employees who couldn't afford the high pew fees in the area. So, how does this whisky taste?

Tasting Notes

Before imbibing this one, I strongly suggest you let it sit in your glass for at least twenty minutes, maybe more. The Little Trinity needs some time to open up. The flavours are subtle at first, but they develop beautifully with time.

  • Nose (undiluted): honey, oak, butterscotch, cedar, vanilla bean, golden raisins, maple syrup, and a hint of lemon

  • Palate (undiluted): a contrast from the bright nose, rich arrival, thick mouthfeel, maple, butterscotch, oranges, sweet and spicy (ginger?), hot peppers, more oak with a hint of rye spice

  • Finish: medium length, a slight nuttiness, just a bit drying and tannic, with the sweet and spicy notes lingering along side the oak.

Adding water, even a little bit, really brings some complexity out of this whisky. The vanilla becomes more prominent on the nose, and some thick, very floral honey appears on the palate. I recommend adding water, even a tiny bit, to this whisky. It is subtle, but also very complex.

Gooderham & Worts Little Trinity 17 Year Old Three Grain may not blow your socks off right away. There's no peat or sherry and it isn't a rye-bomb either (there are some subtle rye notes). Little Trinity is very complex though. It requires punctiliousness, and it is worth the effort. This is a rich whisky. It's a terrific sipping whisky. Maybe it's the packaging affecting my perception, but this feels like an Old Timey whisky; like something Mark Twain would have sipped while writing Tom Sawyer. I don't know what whisky tasted like in the 1870s, so this is just a feeling, a guess. It's unlike anything I've tasted before.

Scoring this proved difficult. The quality of this whisky is above reproach. However, it’s just not the type of flavour profile I reach for very often. I would have liked the nose to have the volume turned up a notch. The notes are all beautiful and harmonious, I just want them louder. I was back and forth, and I think my score reflects a compromise between my perception of the whisky’s quality and my enjoyment of the whisky.


Victor commented

It is a challenge to score a whisky which does not excite one, but which one knows others could like better than you do for the qualities it has. Compromise is a good option. So I am guessing this is more of an 85 point whisky for your personal taste, but one which you can easily imagine others liking more to the tune of 90 points. Clarity in your description is the key...punctiliousness, you might say. Punctiliousness...you did say.

6 years ago 1Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

@Victor Your assessment of my enjoyment vs perceived quality is spot on. It’s not that I’ll never reach for this one; I will. I simply reach for the “belters” more often than not. I guess I’m still rough around the edges and déclassé.

6 years ago 0

MadSingleMalt commented

I have a similar response to this bottle of Japanese whisky shared by a malt mate (Hibiki 17, I think?). You can tell it's quality stuff, but it just does't do much for me.

Perhaps I am insufficiently punctilious.

6 years ago 1Who liked this?

cricklewood commented

@OdysseusUnbound a great review as always. Within the northern border collection, the G&W and the Pike Creek are the products that I'm most curious to see their development with time. I believe they are the ones that have the most room for growth in their presentation.

Your observation on the quality of the product despite its inability to excite you is one that is worthy of further discussion.

6 years ago 2Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

@cricklewood The texture and flavours of this whisky are all pleasant and very well balanced. I feel I understand what Don Livermore and his team we’re going for with this whisky, and I feel it’s beautifully executed. I enjoyed it, I’m just more partial to big, bold, extreme flavours.

Perhaps it’s because I eat very spicy food, I used to smoke, I salt my food a little too liberally etc. All these things may “dull” the senses, meaning more extreme measures are required. But I’ve always been partial to strong flavours, even as a child.

6 years ago 0