Review: Pike Creek 15 Year Old Cabernet Sauvignon Finish / by Jason Hambrey

Pike Creek 15 1.jpg
15 Years; Finished in Wine Barrels
Double Distilled Corn Whisky & Rye Whisky
Distiller Hiram Walker (Windsor, Ontario)

Well, with COVID-19, I’m hoping there won’t be a drought of nice whisky releases. But, thankfully, the ever-bountiful Corby continues to deliver new (and diverse) whiskies. This one was finished in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels from the Foreign Affair winery in Niagara. Notably, the whiskies were distilled in 2004, the first vintage of wine from the foreign affair winery.

Review (2020)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: 54SL24 L2005Z EW 08:25

  • Bottling Date: 2020

The colour of this is very red – wine barrel indeed! The whisky presents typical aged Canadian whisky top notes – blueberry and royal gala apple skin – but also light smoke, wine tannins, black currant, light bourbon nuances, toffee, raisins, vanilla, and baking spice. Slightly sour on the nose, too. There is a touch of rye which supplies its usual magic. Loads of complexity.

The palate leads with light Canadian whisky but then transitions into more wine-forward notes with loads of plum, cherry, black currant, before fading to bean sprouts. A touch of rye comes through on the finish, along with lots of fruit and a bit of wine tannin.

I wondered if this might be terribly unbalanced – it’s not. Wine casks are a big challenge with whisky, and, as usual, the team at Hiram Walker has struck the right balance here.

During some of my tastings with this, I found the tannins combined with a bitterness in a way that I didn’t appreciate – but other times not as much. When that happened, air and/or a bit of water helped. But, I’ve found this one is a bit more sensitive to “palate conditioning” than some other whiskies (…it wasn’t a good cheesecake chaser, but few whiskies are…)

Highly Recommended (49% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Lower end of average, based on $70.