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On May 5th I was at Spirit of Toronto with @Nozinan and @Paddockjudge, we attended the Wiser's Masterclass that was given by Dr. Don Livermore. We were presented with the 6 new expressions that would be released by the distillery in 2018.
By this point in the presentation we we're a bit rushed as the masterclass was only allocated an hour, the crowd was well lubed with 4 previous whiskys preceding this one.
The Pike Creek recipe is a high proportion of double column corn distillate with just a hint of rye, it's aged in ex-bourbon or refill casks and then given some sort of finishing barrel. This 21 year old version includes a proportion of whiskys finished in French oak &Hungarian oak (I have read somewhere that the ration is 50%/25%) the idea being to highlight the influence of all three oak types.
Nose: Nutmeg, vanilla, that corn sweetness, ginger, lots of oak, mincemeat, nougat, a little bit of red fruits.
Palate: Warm, slightly creamy and sweet, fresh ginger and apples, spicy...very spicy. A hint of Indian spices like a sweetened Garam Masala, caramelized onions with maple syrup, the oak lingers at the end.
I am really enjoying the effects of the European oak on Canadian whisky, which is also something we tasted in the Seasoned Oak expression. It seems to meld well with the usual spices and grippy oak we get in most expressions. I think this is an interesting direction that should be further explored and doesn't feel as gimmicky as most cask finishes, perhaps because it is only a proportion of the blend that is finished?
*I am marking this in accordance with the environment and time I had with it, so it's only a quick preview.