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Lot No. 40 Cask Strength 2017 Release

Long Awaited Cask Strength Canadian Rye

10 489

@VictorReview by @Victor

1st Nov 2018


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

My deep thanks to @paddockjudge for the reviewed sample. The 2017 release of Lot 40 Cask Strength was aged 12 years. This batch of Lot 40 is reported to be made from 100% unmalted rye grain and added commercial enzymes

Nose: clear, clean, crisp, strong high-middle-pitched rye spice flavours dominate. There is a hint of some nice dark fruit in the background, along with a very light floral note. Flavours from wood including vanilla and light caramel also remain mostly in the background. This is strong and attractive, while showing little development or subtlety. A gentle sweetness only partially balances the spiciness. Water added raised the pitch while lowering complexity, bundled the flavours, and increased sweetness. This is better without water. Score: 23/25 points neat; 20.5/25 points with water added

Taste: Big aggressive spicy rye dominates, as in the nose. There are just hints of dark fruit to accompany the spice. The spice flavours are intense, clean, and appealing, but with little sweet balance. Water brings out black licorice and increases sweetness. Better without water. Score: 22.5/25 neat; 21/25 with water added

Finish: strong flavours which last quite long. Lot 40 CS is spice, spice, and more spice. Some bitterness from wood and/or the rye grain used takes control by the death. With water added complexity is lost in a bundled package of flavours. Score: 22/25 neat; 20/25 with water

Balance: very good balance in the nose, good on the delivery, fair by the death. Sweet balance is lacking. 2017 Lot 40 Cask Strength is a spice trip without the rich fruitiness of the standard younger Lot 40 or an adequate sweet balance. Score: 21/25 neat; 20/25 with water added

Total Sequential Score: 88.5 points neat; 81.5 points with water added


Strength: strong in the nose; very strong thereafter. Score: 23.5/25 points

Quality: the rye spices are excellent; the wood flavours are only adequate. Score: 22.5/25 points

Variety: very adequate variety, but more fruit would greatly elevate this whisky. Score: 21.5/25 points

Harmony: very good in the nose, good on delivery, fair at the death. More sweet balance would elevate this whisky. Score: 21.5/25 points

Total Non-Sequential Score: 89 points


Comment: 6 or 7 years ago I asked for a Cask Strength version of Lot 40 and waited. This older brother of the standard Lot 40 is only loosely identifiable as being in the same extended family

2017 Lot 40 Cask Stength is powerful and flavourful, but not elegant. If you can enjoy that then you can greatly enjoy Lot 40 CS. Compared to the standard Lot 40 this is a turbo-charged spice attack to the detriment of the fruitiness, which is what I like best about standard Lot 40

Is this 2017 Lot 40 Cask Strength all that I had for 5 years hoped that it would be? No, but it is quite enjoyable. I think that bottling at Cask Strength reveals the full astringency of rye grain whisky absent textural buffering from corn. Some will find that effect abrupt, others harsh

Related Lot No. 40 reviews


Nozinan commented

It's hard to believe you are reviewing the same whisky I reviewed (I reviewed it twice - once from notes at SOT and once almost a year ago from the bottle).

It's not that we disagree on the quality, but I think we tasted very different things in it.

Based on your review, I wonder if you would enjoy this year's release a little more. I certainly can't wait to find out.

5 years ago 2Who liked this?

Victor commented

@Nozinan, I will be delighted to sample the 2018 Lot 40 Cask Strength.

Long experience has repeatedly demonstrated to me that different people frequently experience the same whisky very differently. I think that there is such a variety of physical and interpretive apparatuses within individuals that it is actually pretty rare for most people to find others whose taste and interpretive language are very close to their own. I know a lot of people to whose reviews I can relate, and who can relate to my reviews, but I know a small handful of people of whom I would say, "That person experiences whisky almost the same way that I do."

We do the best we can to understand one another, and to translate across from one another's individual personalized whisky languages.

5 years ago 2Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

@Victor I feel as though I agree with you too often, but your comment is spot-on. With genetic variation, different life and cultural experiences, age, and yes, even climate (air quality, relative humidity etc) affecting how we taste, it’s a wonder we can share a similar vocabulary and understand each other at all. I enjoy reading Scotch Noob’s blog, but I rarely agree with his assessments or even his tasting notes. But he’s in California, and I’m in Ontario. I don’t know what his background is, but I grew up eating lots of traditional French-Canadian food, and some typical Canadian middle-class fare. It should come as no surprise that my brother and mother are the ones who relate most to my whisky tasting notes (my father and sister don’t like whisky).

That said, you’re making me want to open one of my two bottles of the 2017 Lot 40 CS. I should be getting a 2018 or two soon. grinning

5 years ago 2Who liked this?

Victor commented

@OdysseusUnbound, to agree with me often is one of the great joys of life!

Surely you do not feel that you have to be disagreeing with someone in order to have an opinion of significance.

5 years ago 3Who liked this?

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