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North of 7 Four Grain Mash

Rye Heavy Bourbon or Heavy Corn Rye?

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@RianCReview by @RianC

7th Apr 2021


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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  • Brand: North of 7
  • ABV: 74.5%
  • Batch: Cask#16

I've been sitting on some samples that @cricklewood sent back around xmas time, and I'm not able to contain my curiosity any longer ...

I know there was some Connosr cask selection going on here, and it seems that at least one member of the site has most of the contents of the barrel in his stash ;) Big thanks to all who played a part in allowing this sample to find it's way to the old country ha! As for this review, apart from a little lip wetting on opening the package, I'm going in blind!

Check out the abv! Strewth! Neat then ...

Nose - rye dominant on immediate acquaintance, with some toffee, heavy oak notes and some stone fruits and dark chocolate. I'm also getting something curry like, sweet massala perhaps? So cinnamon, almonds and butter/cream Rich, dense and heavy (man!).

Taste - hold my hat, please. Ooh, strewth indeed ha! It's actually more drinkable than you'd expect but I'm adding water at this point. I do get some rich, dense yellow stone fruits, more rye and pickle notes, toffee and lots of fresh oak.

Water - I've added almost a teaspoon to about 25 ml.

Nose - much more buttery and creamy. I get the sense the grain components were of good quality as the richness and density of aromas is like a slap in the face, even with water. Good balance of sweet and sour notes. The oak nips at my nose, not unlike a heavily peated Scotch. There's a lot going on here - fruits again, chocolate, pickles, dense German rye bread, and yet very bright and effervescent.

Taste - spicy. Big spicy arrival of pepper, ginger, cinnamon and clove. More toffee, well caramel specifically, and this lovely sticky sweet sensation that lingers on the tongue - cinema popcorn, dried apricots - and more of the rye and pickle notes. Excellent, full and rich mouthfeel. The oak starts to show as it develops.

Finish - long. More pepper spice, lots of drying oak tannins (but it works) and that sticky texture hangs around for a good while.

In a word. Mmmmm! Well, that's not technically a word but ...

Excellent whisky that shows its craft credentials off with aplomb! I guess it comes across like a rye heavy bourbon (or corn heavy rye?) which is great news as far as I'm concerned as it's my favourite style(s). I will add more water later as I feel it can take lots and I'd be interested to see how it changes things but this feels like a good spot for now. Perhaps a little heavy on the oak to describe it as perfectly balanced, but, considering how much is going on, it does a pretty good job nonetheless.

A great warming dram after a day beach walking in near freezing temps and a biting easterly wind. Cheers!


paddockjudge commented

@RianC, I too scored this 89/100 on my first try. I've since settled at 91/100. Yes, it is a swimmer, deep end or shallow end.

When considering the "fun factor" I would score this 95. My beer-drinking b-in-law has only ever admitted to liking one whisky in the 35 years I've known him; now he likes two. He was blown away by this one and amazed that he could withstand the 74.5% abv, although it is an "easy" 74.5%.

A delightful whisky, one which easily becomes the topic of conversation when the cork is popped.

Cheers to @cricklewood for sending a sample across the pond!

5 days ago 3Who liked this?

paddockjudge commented


The mashbill for Barrel #16 may surprise you. The Wheat to Rye content is 2:1.

5 days ago 2Who liked this?

RianC commented

@paddockjudge - Yeah that is surprising! I have little to no experience with wheat whiskey, but imagine it to be softer and less spicy than rye? I guess the oak is a big contributor to the flavour here?

Cracking whisky though and I could easily see this being a crowd pleaser! Kudos to whomever picked the barrel out too!

4 days ago 0

Victor commented

@RianC there are many fans of wheat whiskies and wheated bourbons. It is the soft subtle flavour of wheat that is generally admired by its fans. The cult of Van Winkle exists around the love of wheat flavours. How else do you explain people paying vast sums for bottles when they can get whiskeys nearly as good for 10% on the amount paid for Van Winkle on the secondary market? Wheated whiskies can be very spicy, but here the spice is from the oak, not the grain. The magic quality of wheat as a whiski grain is that it melds with the flavours of the oak in a way which no other grain does. Wheat and oak together do something you don't get in barley whiskies, rye whiskies, corn only whiskeys, oat whiskeys, quinoa whiskis, etc. That is the magic and unique appeal of wheat whiski.

4 days ago 3Who liked this?

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