Review: Pike Creek 10 Year Old Canadian Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

10 Years; Finished in Vintage Port Casks
Distiller Hiram Walker (Windsor, Ontario)

This whisky, along with Lot No. 40 and Gooderham & Worts, were three fabulous Canadian whiskies, marketed for connoisseurs and produced for some time before production ceased. In 2012, the whisky was re-released. The whisky is double distilled, unlike the typical triple distillation of Canadian whisky. There is another version of this whisky, without an age statement, which is exported to the US. The whisky is named after the creek by the aging warehouses of Hiram Walker.

Review (2012)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2012

Nose: The nose is very fruity, which is contrasted with the dry rye dancing around in the background. Vanilla, Red wine, fruitcake and dried fruit – prunes in particular. It smells sweet, with scents of vanilla and oak. Of all the finished rye whiskies I’ve tasted, this one combines the rye with the port in a wonderful way – even better than the forty creek portwood in my opinion. At some sniffs, the rye appears to dominate. At others, it’s the fruitiness from the port. There are berry-like notes of a style that are reminiscent of some rums.

Taste:  A light sweet, smooth entry dominated with vanilla completed with red wine in the forefront of your mouth and simultaneously rye in the back of your mouth – as if you are drinking 2 spirits at once. It concludes with a lingering and warm exit where dry rye begins to dominate with some bitterness. I love the evolving nature of this whiskey – you might think it light bodied at the beginning before it turns up the heat into a complex mixture of flavours. Not one to bore you! Some whiskies take your mouth on a bit of a joyride – this is one of them.

Finish: Although I really like the exit from the mouth, the finish is the weakest part of this whisky in my opinion. It is at first dominated by fruit and rye together, before the rye starts to dominate with some bitterness and spice. The spice I like, but the bitterness is not great as constructed here. There is a tinge of refreshing pith at the end though as well which is nice, and the finish does linger nicely.

A brilliant combination of port and rye. Fruit and spice, side by side, in a brilliant manner. Fabulous.

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

Value: High. A good buy for $40!

Review (2015; Blind)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L15023 EW10:03

  • Bottling Date: 2015

Oak off the nose, nutty, and lightly dry - with lots of cereal notes. On the palate, some sweetness and nuttiness comes through - raw almonds, vanilla, dried fruits, and a slight creaminess and peaches with some rising spice on the finish.

This is a definite decline from the 2012 release - confirmed in a side-by-side tasting. It is more bready, biscuity, and certainly not as elegant or fruity.

Value: Average.