Review: Bush Pilot's Private Reserve Canadian Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

13 years
100% Corn
Distiller N/A

Bush Pilot's was released in the 1990s in the US as a single cask whisky, at 43% - a batch of 100% corn whisky originally intended for blending. However, when Bob Denton was assessing the whiskies which were part of a bulk purchase of Canadian whisky he discovered the whisky which he would eventually bottle a cask at a time for Marilyn Smith, who named the whisky in honor of her father, Fred Johnson, who had started a bush airline as a hobby.

This whisky is a bit of a legend, highly revered and no longer with us thanks to an absolutely ridiculous lawsuit by Anheuser-Busch because of the similarity of "Bush Pilot's" to "Busch" (really?). It was just terrible, and Anheuser forced Bush Pilot's out of the market with all the money being put into a legal scuffle that Bush Pilot's didn't have resources to defend.

For a better written, and more comprehensive piece on this, please see Davin De Kergommeaux's review at

Review (2017)

  • Batch: Cask14-044 (distilled 1982)

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 1995

A decadent nose: sweet, woody, and creamy. It is full of coconut, vanilla, maple, clove, celery seed, rich toffee, dried corn, and a slightly earthy mashy character. The palate, as anticipated, is sweet, with dried fruits, vanilla, and slight tannins and a load of baking spices on the drying finish with a bit more sweetness, vanilla, and oak. Nice lingering corn on the finish.

Very elegant. This is quite similar to the better Highwood corn whiskies – not quite with the complexity of Ninety 20, yet full of grace not quite seen in those bottlings except perhaps Ninety 20. A shame this beauty is no longer with us.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: N/A