This is the Lot no.40 12 Year Old Cask Strength Rye from the 2017 Northern Border Collection Rare Releases. The standard Lot no.40 should be a staple of any serious rye lover's whisky cabinet. This was the first cask strength release for Lot no.40 (that I'm aware of) and it was such a smashing success that they followed it up a year later with another (slightly different) release.
- Nose (undiluted): freshly cut oak, rye grain, ginger, cloves, black pepper, vanilla, cinnamon hearts, cardamom
- Palate (undiluted): rich arrival, not overpowering at all for a 55% ABV whisky, cinnamon, toasted oak, salted caramel, black pepper
- Finish: long and warming, chai tea, gingerbread cookies, salted caramel, a hint of coconut at the tail end, moreish and drool-worthy. A perfect dram on a cold autumn (or winter) night.
With time in the glass, there’s much more vanilla and a lovely, light floral note coming through on the nose. After the bottle has been open a few months, the finish becomes more dessert-like, with more coconut and caramel flavours coming through.
I have to be honest, I haven't brought myself to add water to this rye. It's delectable as is. I did try a small serving with ginger ale, just to say I did it and thumb my nose at those who foolishly say Canadian whisky is only suitable for mixing. Lot no.40 Cask Strength is unapologetic. It says "Yeah, I'm Canadian! Yeah, I'm all rye! Yeah, I'm bottled at Cask Strength! You got a problem with that?" Other Canadian distilleries should look at the success of these releases and step up their game. I'm looking at you Alberta Premium, Canadian Club, and Crown Royal. Enough with the "soft, sweet, approachable Canadian" stereotypes. Let's see some bold releases! To draw a stereotypically Canadian analogy, let's have more Mark Messier and Cam Neely-esque whiskies and fewer Alexander Daigle and Jeff Carter-esque releases.