Review: North of 7 Three Grain Canadian Whisky ("Trad") / by Jason Hambrey

Image copyright by North of 7 Distillery. Used with Permission.

Image copyright by North of 7 Distillery. Used with Permission.

ABV
45%
Aging
~5 Years; Virgin Charred Oak
Recipe
70% Corn, 25% Rye, 5% Malted Barley
Distiller North Of 7 (Ottawa, Ontario)

This whisky was filled into a barrel at 57% in March 2015, and bottled in November 2020, so about 5.7 years of age. I was able to taste it at cask strength in November as part of a private barrel selection, and it was my second favourite barrel of the ten we tasted so I’ve been waiting for it to come out.

Unlike most of North of 7 virgin oak casks, which are heavily toasted and lightly charred, this one is heavily charred which lines it up closely by recipe and by cask to the most popular bourbon brands.


Review (2020)

  • Batch: Barrel 14

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2020

Quite different in profile to North of 7s other products, but still very rich in both oak and grain character. Caramel, corn husks, baking spice, oaky astringency (slight), dill, stewed peaches, vanilla, coconut, charred oak, fennel seed, dried hibiscus, lemon peel, and some lilac. The palate follows, starting out with loads of rye flavour before some rich corn character, breadiness, and milk chocolate emerge in the middle and the finish is full of spices – baking spices, dried chilli, milk chocolate, dried apricot. The chilli is great. Very nice finish.

Definitely mature whisky, this – reminiscent of some rye-heavy bourbons like four roses single barrel, but altogether different with a sharper oak character and not as much corn coming through.

I tasted it a few months ago and it’s come along further since then. To my recollection, this is only the second “trad” that they’ve released but the recipe shows a lot of potential. I’ll be looking forward to the later barrels.

Highly Recommended (50% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: high at $60


Review (2020)

  • Batch: Barrel 28 (58.5%)

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2021

This was the barrel selection from 2021 for me and a number of friends, from a selection of 6 casks. This one went into the barrel at 52.8% in January of 2016 and came out at 58.5% in October of 2021 (close to 6 years old). We loved it when we tasted it.

It has a rich, oaky nose. It ticks all the boxes - caramel, toasted baking spices, toasted fennel seed, dried apricot, dried peach, buttery caramel, and clove. A touch of dill too. Thick on the palate, with lots of spice. Good fruitiness and spice, and very well balanced. The finish is spicy, full of corn, and baking spice. The spices are surprising on the finish. It is very pleasant at around 45%, but this is just wonderful at cask strength.

Critically, it isn’t as good as cask 16 (our four grain pick from last year from the distillery) but I find it’s way easier to drink, in a way where I will rarely reach for 16 if it beside 28. Critically better doesn’t always mean more crave-worthy. Just awesome stuff. The closest big comparator I have is some of the “OB”, high rye recipes from Four Roses, but it’s still quite a bit different.

Highly Recommended (50% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High at $70.