- 114 Proof
- 3rd Edition
I'm not necessarily a Canadian Rye enthusiast. I've certainly enjoyed plenty a pour of the stuff, from Whistlepig to Collingwood to even regular Lot No. 40. Admittedly, I've never considered myself a big fan of Canadian rye. To me it has always been on the sweeter side, and I tend to prefer rye for its spiciness. I also find that I frequently get almost an artificial brown sugar note, enough so that it's a flavor I now associate with Canadian ryes.
That said, even though it may not be my most favorite profile, I do actually like regular Lot No. 40 rye. It's softer, for sure, but it generally has good flavor and just a touch of soft spice. So, when I saw a bottle of the Cask Strength on the shelf, the first I've ever come across a bottle, I figured what the hell and grabbed one. The reviews I've read were mixed, but to be fair, those reviews were posted in bourbon groups, so there was no doubt some inherent bias there. I wanted to see for myself just how good the cask strength version is.
On the nose, the first thing I noticed was that brown sugar note. Like I said above, it's kind of an artificial brown sugar. Kind of like brown sugar and peanuts. It also had a rich, earthy molasses type sweetness to it, along with some cinnamon spice. That cinnamon spice actually reminded me of those heavily scented pinecones they sell at the grocery store around Christmas.
The flavor was a bit different than expected, however. I did get a brown sugar note, but it didn't come across as artificial. In fact, it came across more earthy, like brown sugar and leather. It also came across a bit buttery (at least in flavor, not necessarily in texture).
What struck me most about this was that it had a very rye bread quality to it. The rye was there, but it was almost yeasty, like a good, rich, dark bread. In fact, on later pours it reminded me a lot of a nice thick stout.
The finish had some light wood tannins as well as a warm cinnamon spice. The leather was there on the finish as well, along with a slight smoky note which was quite welcome. This was all well and good, but there was also a strange note that lingered on my tongue for a bit, kind of like orange flavored hard candy.
All in all, this was a good whiskey, albeit a bit odd. However, what was odd about it was actually kind of enjoyable. It was like a dirtier version of a typical Canadian rye, and I mean that in a good way. It may seem odd as you read this. Heck, it seemed odd as I wrote this, but it really was pretty good in its own funky, earthy way. At the very least, it was pretty unique.