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Lot No. 40 Cask Strength 12 Year Old (2017 release)

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@OdysseusUnboundReview by @OdysseusUnbound

14th Mar 2019


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

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.

Tasting notes

  • 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.

Related Lot No. 40 reviews


Nozinan commented

Nice review.

I don't get the coconut notes that you do (thankfully).

I agree. This is a masterful expression. Big, Bold, and good. No cask strength overpowering flaws. Simply a great whisky.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

@Nozinan I love those coconut caramel notes. I get the same type of notes (though not identical) on the finish of Four Roses Small Batch. I’m not sure if it’s the rye grain, the virgin oak, or a combination of those (and other) factors, but I love it. Thankfully, I don’t get any of the “pickle juice” notes that a lot of people seem to get from rye.

2 years ago 0

paddockjudge commented

@OdysseusUnbound, the coconut note comes from the casks. It can be attributed to the oak lactones. Don Livermore is a wealth of information, you've got to be on your game when around him. He is extremely insightful and not shy to offer an answer if you ask a question. I mention this only because Livermore is "coconut blind". Malibu coconut flavoured rum is manufactured at the Hiram Walker Distillery.

2 years ago 2Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

@Nozinan I love pickles, but I don’t want them in my whisky.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

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