My Favourite Drams of 2017 (Part 2) / by Jason Hambrey

Basically, my favorite special releases this year.

1. Canadian Club 40 Year Old

The oldest Canadian whisky ever released, and it is phenomenal – structured, rich, and incredibly complex. This is a whisky to drink slowly, and enjoy – as with the best of the best whiskies.

Read my review here.

2. J.P. Wiser's 35 Year Old

This is incredible – not only 35 year old corn, but also a good portion of 35 year old rye (~10%). The rye comes in and plays magic with the base of the corn, and the 50% ABV allows incredible flavour to present itself. In a sense, it’s too bad it got overshadowed by the 40 year old Canadian Club, but it is still one of the best whiskies I’ve tasted.

Read my review here.

3. Lot no. 40 12 Year Old Cask Strength

Everything you might expect – massive pot still rye, rich and complex and sharp – and yet lots of creamy caramel and a lot of oak. It’s the only whisky I have bought an entire case of.

Read my review here.

4. Canadian Rockies 35 Year Old

Not quite the level of the wiser’s 35 or CC40, but this came out last year as one of the oldest Canadian whiskies ever, and at a blistering 79.3% ABV. Incredible finish.

Read my review here.

5. J.P. Wiser’s Dissertation

This is so nicely blended, and such a wonderful demonstration of what blending of good rye can produce. It makes Lot no. 40 seem light in comparison.

Read my review here.

6. Gooderham Centenniel 15 Year Old (1967)

This whisky was bottled to commemorate Canada’s 100th anniversary, 50 years ago. It is decadant (but not too sweet), easy, and complex with a nicy spicy edge to it.

Review coming tomorrow!

7. Stalk & Barrel #Canada150 blend

A blend from Still Waters Distillery, a micro-distillery in Concord, Ontario – north of Toronto. It is complex, modern, and delicious.

Read my review here.

8. Lagavulin 8 Year Old:

The smokiest Lagavulin, and the complexity and distillate is amazing. An extremely worthwhile whisky, and a demonstration that a low age statement can actually be a good thing as the producers are happy to stamp approval on even a younger whisky rather than try to hide it.

Read my review here.

9. Laphroaig Cairdeas 200th Anniversary Limited Edition

This floor malted laphroaig is incredibly creamy and complex (as usual with Laphroaig). All the best of Laphroaig, but creamy and complex with all the wonderful smoky, earthy, woody, and mineral notes.

Read my review here.

10. Glen Garioch 1965 21 Year Old

Here is an old one I only would have ever tried courtesy of a friend, and, indeed, it is a hit from those who wrote about it long ago (Serge Valentin loved it). Incredibly thick and rich, weaving both heavy and light notes magnificently.

Read my review here.

11. Four Roses Cask Strength Single Barrels (particularly OESF)

I did a phenomenal tasting this year of single barrel four roses, 6 different recipes, all around 12 years old. Of those 6 barrels, 4 of them amounted to being in my top 10 bourbons ever. The OESF barrel (94/100) is my favorite bourbon I’ve tasted – remarkably complex, spicy, and candied. But there was also a massive OESK (92/100), OBSK (92/100) and a easy, dessert-like OESV (91/100) bourbon.

12. Thomas H. Handy Rye

I’ve had some later batches which were so-so, but the 2011 version I tried this year is nothing short of magnificent. Incredibly complex and rich, showcasing all the best elements of rye.

Read my review here.

13. William Larue Weller

Maybe this is like a broken record given all the love for this, but a magnificent whisky, in large part because it is so massive. The 2015 version I have is magnificent with a huge, oaky finish – my favourite part of the whisky. Usually wheated bourbons are too sweet for me, but this has enough boldness to counter the sweet.

Read my review here.

14. William Heavenhill

How about another big William? This is an incredibly complex, well structured bourbon - different than a lot of what comes out of heavenhill, but full of great complexity and really easy to drink. Went under the radar, but this is terrific.

Read my review here.

14. Willet Family Reserve Rye

Willet is another big name, and many of us know the quality of their sourced rye and bourbon whiskies. This is huge, complex, and didn’t cost too much (finding it is the issue these days).

Read my review here.

15. Elijah Craig Barrel Strength 12 Year Old

I had an older batch this year which felt as if it was bottled at a very full-flavoured 45%, while actually being above 67% because it was so elegant and easy. I suppose I did have a good year of bourbon, too. If you like big bourbons, it’s hard to surpass these Elijah Craig Barrel Proofs.

Read my review here.

A great showing this year, once again! If you’re curious about my drams in 2016, you can read about them here and here.