Whisky Connosr

Lot No. 40 Dark Oak

Two Lot 40s (does that make it 80?) - Part I

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@talexanderReview by @talexander

13th Nov 2021


Lot No. 40 Dark Oak
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

This new expression of Lot 40 came out last year - I believe it is the same recipe as the standard, except it is matured twice: first in new oak barrels with No. 2 char, then finished in new oak barrels with No. 4 char. Bottled at 48%.

The colour is a deep caramel. Earthy spices on the nose with clove, cinnamon and nutmeg - to the point that it almost seems to have a sherry or wine finish. Big rye spice as well. Marmalade. Dark chocolate. Italian parsley. Musty. Massive wood smoke - so much so that it almost seems off, as if it's sulphurous (of course, it's not). Water adds fresh pencil shavings. Rich and inviting but it's just too much oak.

On the palate that dominant oak carries through, but this time it is simply clove that takes over - other, more complex rye spices bite the dust. Earthy and musky, with some blood orange and apricot to balance it out. Rum-raisin. Dark caramel and vanilla pods. Water adds spice which helps tame the wood. More successful than the nose but sorry, still too much oak!

The finish is, um..... oaky. Bit of pepper and clove but it's pretty much burnt wood all the way. It's great to have a new iteration of the standard Lot 40 but this time it just went off in the wrong direction. Let's see how it stands next to the standard (43%): in every measure - nose, palate, complexity - the standard expression wins. I've always loved Lot 40 because it balances an unmistakable rye profile with good maturation; the Dark Oak expression loses the rye profile to a certain degree in favour of a heavier, oakier style. But what do I know? Dark Oak won World's Best Rye in the 2021 World Whiskies Awards (which I am a judge on! I would love to know what I scored it, but it's all blind and we never find out later...)

Related Lot No. 40 reviews


Nozinan commented

Nice honest review. I think I must like oak tannins because I scored this higher than you did. Not my favourite of the Lot 40 canon, but certainly a good option occasionally (I had a little a few days ago). I would like to try it H2H vs a CS or the standard one, but who has time for that? Oh wait...

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

talexander commented

I didn't do it quite H2H but pretty close to know that, for me at least, there's not much comparison.

2 years ago 0

Victor commented

@talexander thank you for your review. Very interesting to see the variety of reactions to this whisky. I need to get my own taste of it to have an impression.

I must say, though, that like you, if I read you correctly, what I like most about standard Lot 40 is its clean quality. I could well imagine that that clean grain flavours quality could be mucked up and lost with too much char. That said the standard Lot 40 batches that I consider the desirable ones are the ones with no licorice flavours. Licorice detracts from both Lot 40 and some batches of Wiser's Legacy (which incorporates Lot 40 Rye ) for me. Which is why 2010 Wiser's Legacy is to me heaven, but batches 3 years later are good, but not in the same league. By 2013 the Lot 40 in Wiser's Legacy was tasting of licorice.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

Thanks for your review. I really enjoyed this one, so I must be the outlier.

2 years ago 0

talexander commented

@OdysseusUnbound @Nozinan The only outlier here is me - remember, World's Best Rye award winner (and I was one of the judges!)

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

Astroke commented

Am not a big fan of this one. Has it's moments, but I find it cloying sweet.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?