Review: Dillon's Rye Canadian Whisky (Cask Strength) / by Jason Hambrey

Dillon's Rye 2.jpg
New Ontario Oak
90% Unmalted Rye, 10% Malted Rye
Distiller Dillon's (Beamsville, Ontario)

This whisky was Dillon's first whisky release, bursting to the scene in 200 ml bottles full of rich cask strength rye whiskies, selling out right away. The beamsville distiller has since released a Three Oaks rye and other whiskies, but this is where it began (arguably, some might say it began with the gin, and perhaps rightly so). It's nice that they released it in nicely packaged 200 ml bottles so that people could try it - I always like this.

Review (2017)

  • Batch: Cask 02 (barreled Feb 2013); 41 months old, 59.0%

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2/8/2016

A big, fruity nose with plum, rye porridge, hard pear (i.e. the sharp scent more than the honeyed scent), caramel, apples, peaches, and candied cherries. The palate is big and creamy, with honeyed notes coming in to complement the peaches and the grain. It is quite grain centric, and it is broad rather than sharp in that sense. The finish is full of more honey, steel cut oats, oak, and toasted fennel.

It doesn’t have the complexity or depth of Dillon’s Three Oaks rye, but this is big and pleasing.

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

Value: Low. $113/750 ml…

Review (2020)

  • Batch: Cask 113 (barreled Feb 2013); 45 months old, 57.2%

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2/8/2016

Nice to see these get a little older, although I think more age would still suit it well.

The nose is oaky, with pear, toffee, loads of baking spices, freshly sawn pine, mixed sawdust, peach stones, banana, rye bread, and a bit of sweet, buttery oak. Some nice toasted notes, here – and a real sharpness of grain.

The palate has a really nice undertow of arugula, dry rice, sharp and spicy rye, dried fruit and a touch of licorice. Vanilla and oak add to the baking spices on the finish, where there is also a decent amount of arugula, banana, and some mixed dried fruit. The finish is surprisingly light, given the intensity of the palate.

It’s still youthful, but this is displaying a surprising amount of balance that aging brings. I’d love to see this after another year. I really like these bottles. 200 mls for $20 is something I’d buy every year. A full bottle at $75? Probably not, at the current pace – but I am looking forward to what is to come.

These are awesome gifts, too – nice size, nice bottles, nice info sheets. I like this one quite a bit more than the last one.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher). It’s just a smidgeon below a higher category.
Value: Average, at $75 for 750 mls. But, I’d say, it’s leaning towards high at $20 per 200 ml.