||Wheat, Rye, Barley & Corn, Whiskies|
|Distiller||Hiram Walker (Windsor, Ontario)|
Now here is something unique - a blend to honour the original HQ of Gooderham & Worts at 49 Wellington st. in Toronto - made with a blend of various whiskies including some matured in red oak! This is something that isn’t often seen, and it’s the first bottling I’ve tasted using red oak. When I was at Hiram Walker a few years back, I got to taste some whisky made out of red oak casks (they didn’t leak, surprisingly!) - it was quite unique and I remember thinking it had a brown rice characteristic which was a bit unique.
But, enough about just the red oak - this stuff is 19 years old and a blend of 4 different grains with a bit of focus on wheat. However, wheat is still one of the “small grains” here, with corn being dominant.
Batch: 49 Wellington (2019 Rare Range)
Bottling Code: L19225EW1326
Bottling Date: 2019
The nose is very rich – sweet caramels, a grain character, biscuits, shortbread, oat cookies, and a bit of brown rice. I actually find the nose difficult a bit elusive, in part because it’s relatively light - but it’s clear that there is lots there as in previous years and it does open up in the glass. I tackled this in multiple glasses and multiple tastings. Sweet biscuits, whole wheat noodles, vanilla, clove, baking spices, pine, macadamia nuts, cream of wheat, apple, oak, light earth, maple (it really grows with time), and a nice savouriness. Cleaner and more refined than last year’s excellent Eleven Souls.
The palate is very rich and viscous with a light thread of spice and tannin for a good bit of structure. There is creamy butter icing, light oak, dried apricots, plums, orange zest, and a nice wheat finish which is incredibly soft and delicate. Quite grain forward, but very elegant and subtle. Lots of maple, once again.
Black tea notes, macadamia nuts, and dried fruit notes come out in the finish alongside toasted oak notes and some apple seeds. A very pleasant tingle, too.
Is it perhaps too easy to drink? This is so clean and simple at first glance that one might forget to look under the hood and see everything that is there.
I like this more than the first Gooderham northern border release, but it’s a toss up as to whether I like it more than the eleven souls (as with many whiskies, it’s a mood thing).
Very Highly Recommended (19% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher). Very nice stuff.
Value: Average. But if you’re anything like me, you’re curious about what red oak does to a whisky and that’s pretty rare…
Curious about a second opinion? Check out Mark’s review at whisky.buzz.