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As I’m starved for any quality Canadian products in my neck of the woods, I tend to snatch up anything I can get my hands on. I had seen Pike Creek mentioned online, but knew very little about it. But when I saw a 50ml sampler of it on a local store shelf a few weeks back, I couldn’t resist. While this is decidedly no Wiser’s, it’s still a fun and adventurous product from our friends at Corby’s. Port cask finish on a Canadian rye? Why not?
Nose: Initially we’re greeted with woody notes; cedar, maple, and wood chips. With time comes a drying fruity character with a strong wine presence. I’m getting big whiffs of port (go figure!), raisins, blood oranges, grapefruit, and red apples. Finally, there’s caramel, maple syrup, banana bread, mild rye, and a strong herbal/vegetal note that reminds me of Angostura bitters. I’m struck by how dynamic this is. The nose seems to change character with every passing minute. It’s quite a dynamic nose with a generally dry character.
Palate: Quick arrival. I’m first struck by the texture here. Velvety smooth mouthfeel. Initially salty, then a zesty citrus note quickly moves in. The rye here is mild and subdued. Sangria, ginger ale, sultanas, maple, butterscotch, and blood oranges. Much juicer than the dry nose suggested. I’m enjoying this.
Finish: That lovely, juicy sultana note persists. There’s also caramel, licorice, hints of oak and maple, bitter coffee, butterscotch, and a faint, lingering citrus note. Pleasant, but a bit short-lived.
This is a hard whisky to peg. It’s dynamic. Perhaps it’s a bit too dynamic. I never know what flavour will dominate my next sniff/sip. It seems to bounce randomly between sultanas, caramel, wood, and citrus. Each of these flavours is actually lovely on its own, but the overall effect is confused. A note that seemed emphasized a moment ago can disappear into the background as a new highlight appears. Also, the finish is nice, but quite short. However it redeems some points with a lovely mild rye character, a luxurious mouthfeel, and the interesting character imbued by the port finish. While it’s not on par with its cousins from Corby’s, Pike Creek is still a pleasant and special little whisky.