Malted Rye

Review: Lot No. 40 Dark Oak 100% Rye Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Lot 40 Dark Oak.jpg
ABV
48%
Aging
Charred Virgin Oak, twice
Recipe
100% Rye
Distiller Hiram Walker (Windsor, Ontario)

This whisky starts out as a standard lot no. 40 does, with 100% rye which has been distilled in a column still and then a pot still. The rye is then matured in a number 2 char American oak barrel, before being finished in a number 4 char American oak barrel.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L20254EW0751

  • Bottling Date: 2020

The nose is very rich in rye spices, dried fruit, vanilla, and some pretty intense woody spices (clove in particular). It is dense and woody on the nose – in fact, the tannic character on the nose remind me of a red wine, even if the tannic character is different. There remains some of the floral notes like lilac that are on the regular lot no. 40 – but the oak is the main player here, not the rye. That being said, the rye certainly offer intense oak with a sparring partner.

The palate is wood, wood, wood. There is a lot there – oak, caramel, clove, vanilla, butterscotch, mint, and a good kick of dried orange, dried apricot, and dried peach. The finish is loaded with tannins and spicy oak. The spicy buildup to the finish, along with the heavy tannins, is appealing. It does develop interestingly with time - perhaps because of all the tannins - and there is some chamomile that edges itself forward, nicely.

In comparison, the standard lot no. 40 is much more vibrant, with a deeper spice, floral, and herbaceous character. Dark oak is stronger, sweeter, and all about oak with rye around the edges.  I like it with a bit of water, as I find the cask character too strong at 48%. I would have preferred a brand extension with a couple extra years added on lot 40 and at higher proof. There, apparently, is a desire for more and more oak these days, but it’s not generally where I stand.

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

Value: Average against the whisky market at $60.


Review: Cirka Premiere Whisky 93/07 by Jason Hambrey

ABV
46%
Aging
3 years; virgin oak, ex-bourbon, ex-sherry
Recipe
93% rye, 7% chocolate malted rye
Distiller Cirka (Montreal, Quebec)

Cirka is an impressive operation in Montreal - this, their first whisky - made from 100% rye, 7% of which is malted rye sourced from Germany. The whisky goes through three casks over its three-year aging process, with nearly 2 years in virgin oak before being transferred to an ex-bourbon cask and then a 30 year old sherry cask.


Review (2020)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2019

Oddly enough, when I first tasted this blind I immediately thought it was Sivo – another Quebec distillery. Some common styles developing in Quebec!


Tons of raisins here , and a big wood character with lots of roasted grains and fruit. A very moreish quality to it – a bit quirky, as it joins fruitiness to oak to roasted grain notes and nuttiness in a unique way - but it works and I like it. Lots of cask character, and a nice flourish of roasted grain on the end. I like the toasted grain finish and the slight wine-like sourness at the end.


At the end of my “tasting notes” I have very few descriptors! So here are some: roasted macadamias, baking multigrain bread, sauternes wine, peach, toasted oak, raisins, roasted fennel, unripe pear, vanilla, marmalade, plum jam, burnt pie pastry, and dried cranberry….and there’s lots more!


Recommended (82% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).
Value: N/A (850 bottles)


Review: 100 Bushels Single Malt Rye Whisky (Sperling Silver Distillery) by Jason Hambrey

ABV
40%
Aging
Ex-bourbon barrels
Recipe
100% Malted Rye
Distiller Sperling Silver Distillery (Regina, Saskatchewan)

Here, another malted rye - this time a whisky - from Saskatchewan’s Sperling Silver Distillery.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2018

Bright, fruity, and sharp – very bright. Apple, pear, beeswax, bubblegum, red twizzlers, and even some rather tropical fruit – think soursop, pineapple, and dragonfruit – and light spices. Tons of fruitiness, and it keeps evolving…the finish and palate explode with fruit, spice, and a gripping texture. Unique, and very intriguing! Very fruity. Grainy notes emerge more with time.

If you want a whisky which is more unique and displays some unique tropical fruit – I recommend. It’s very interesting. But, it’s still “not there yet” – I hope this continues to get a bit more maturity under its belt, then we might get some really interesting stuff! Fairly clean too – perhaps helped by their filtration process.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher). This one presents a rather interesting mix of tropical fruit, oak, and spice. As I spent more and more time with it, I found it continually grew on me.

Value: Average, based on $60.


Review: Golden Stagg Blended Rye Spirit (Sperling Silver Distillery) by Jason Hambrey

ABV
40%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
N/A
Distiller Sperling Silver Distillery (Regina, Saskatchewan)

I haven’t had much whisky from Saskatchewan, beyond Last Mountain’s (very nice) stuff. This is a single malt rye, made from malted rye - it’s not something many small or large producers are doing these days and the character is quite different than unmalted rye - a bit more vegetal without as clean of a grain character. This is a “blended rye spirit - so I assume it is less than three years, but I know very little about it - other than the taste.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2018

Light spice, rich rye, orange, and pine in the mix. Floral, earthy, oaky, fruity – there is a broad array of flavour here. This is loaded with juniper and light coriander - almost as if someone used a gin barrel to mature the spirit! To be a bit more cohesive – the nose has vanilla and oak combined with a light floral, spicy edge and a light roughness. The rye-like character reminds me a bit of MGP rye, in fact. The palate is light, slightly spicy – with lots of vanilla offset by light spice and slight oak tannin. And a bit of patchouli, and with slight tropical fruit character. The finish is sweet, spicy, and fruity – more on the side of berries than orchard fruit.

Quite decent, and clean, with a complexity which is quite decent – but it’s still a bit rough and young. It is also a bit sweet for my liking – I would like this a bit more if it were dryer. I like 100 bushels a bit more, I think, which has some similar characteristics.

Value: High. This is good stuff for $25!


Review: Lohin McKinnon 150th Anniversary Barley and Rye Lightly Peated Single Malt Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
43%
Aging
3 yrs; Ex-bourbon and ex-oloroso barrels
Recipe
Malted Barley and Malted Rye
Distiller Central City (Surrey, British Columbia)

A special release commemorating Canada's 150th anniversary, this was a very unique combination - a lightly peated single malt was combined with a malted barley whisky to create what may well be described a very unique whisky.

This whisky won the award of excellence (innovation) at the Canadian whisky awards, and for good reason. Peated whisky in Canada is rare and a blend of malted rye (rare) aged in ex-bourbon casks and lightly peated barley in oloroso sherry casks.


Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

An interesting one – vegetal notes, but they are bright and not heavy or spicy! Long roasted sweet potato, tamari, apricots, raisins, balsamic reduction, light smoke. Almost a bit sulphury. The smoke characteristic comes out on the palate, and it takes more of a smoky, vegetal, mineral character than the fruitier nose. Perhaps some woody honey, like acacia, too. The best part of this whisky is that you can almost miss the rye – it comes through in a flash – and it is such a nice flash – and then we’re moving on elsewhere. The finish still seems to keep those roasted root vegetables at the core, and the smoke carries onward and onward and you get all sorts of interesting notes like pickled jalapenos. And the sherry character at last comes through on the end, and quite nicely.

 At the Canadian Whisky Awards, this won a silver medal while their other two whiskies only won bronze – but I still prefer the other two I’ve tasted (their standard single malt and their wine finish). I like it, and it’s exceedingly interesting and there is lots of complexity built into it – but it still needs more time. But still, very interesting….(and I like interesting whiskies!)…

Value: Average. A very unique bottle, but not high value at the price (nor low value, either).