2017's Lot No. 40 Cask Strength was a 12 Year Old; this year they've dropped it to 11. Only 4020 bottles were produced.
The colour is a deep copper. Slightly metallic on the nose with mint, heather, dates, tannic oak and sourdough. Herbal with mint; citrusy with orange pith (a hint of grapefruit as well). Noses gentler than a cask strength whisky. Of course vanilla and caramel are present, as is caraway. A drop of water adds huge wood smoke, while taming the heat. Sharp and complex, and also quite luxurious.
On the palate the heat becomes more apparent with chili paste, big fat oak, lots of mint and fennel, pepper and dark caramel. Actually, replace the fennel with full-on black liquorice. Very creamy mouthfeel. Peppery arugula. A drop of water adds more of that sourdough note with lots of spice. Stunning stuff.
The long finish is hot and a bit rough, with more oak, pepper and caramel, as well as Angostura bitters and bovril. There are few Canadian whiskies I love more than Lot No. 40 Cask Strength (and few standard bottlings I love more than their standard). I have a bit of 2017's 12 Year Old left (note: it will be quite oxidized). In comparison, the 12 is more robust on the nose, but the 11 wins the palate in both power and complexity. The standard Lot No. 40 is more sour, thinner and less complex (but hey, it's still great - it just can't pass muster next to these other two masterpieces).