Review: Lot No. 40 Dark Oak 100% Rye Canadian Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Lot 40 Dark Oak.jpg
Charred Virgin Oak, twice
100% Rye
Distiller Hiram Walker (Windsor, Ontario)

This whisky starts out as a standard lot no. 40 does, with 100% rye which has been distilled in a column still and then a pot still. The rye is then matured in a number 2 char American oak barrel, before being finished in a number 4 char American oak barrel.

Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L20254EW0751

  • Bottling Date: 2020

The nose is very rich in rye spices, dried fruit, vanilla, and some pretty intense woody spices (clove in particular). It is dense and woody on the nose – in fact, the tannic character on the nose remind me of a red wine, even if the tannic character is different. There remains some of the floral notes like lilac that are on the regular lot no. 40 – but the oak is the main player here, not the rye. That being said, the rye certainly offer intense oak with a sparring partner.

The palate is wood, wood, wood. There is a lot there – oak, caramel, clove, vanilla, butterscotch, mint, and a good kick of dried orange, dried apricot, and dried peach. The finish is loaded with tannins and spicy oak. The spicy buildup to the finish, along with the heavy tannins, is appealing. It does develop interestingly with time - perhaps because of all the tannins - and there is some chamomile that edges itself forward, nicely.

In comparison, the standard lot no. 40 is much more vibrant, with a deeper spice, floral, and herbaceous character. Dark oak is stronger, sweeter, and all about oak with rye around the edges.  I like it with a bit of water, as I find the cask character too strong at 48%. I would have preferred a brand extension with a couple extra years added on lot 40 and at higher proof. There, apparently, is a desire for more and more oak these days, but it’s not generally where I stand.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average against the whisky market at $60.