Canadian Whisky Fall Preview

February 25, 2017

If you’ve been under the impression that Canadian whisky is only for the bottom shelf, or that it’s only for mixing, then you better prepare for a course correction. Whisky drinkers at large have been taking more notice of the category thanks to recent highly touted, big brand releases such as Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye, and Crown Royal Cornerstone Blend—an expression Distiller exclusively previewed before its launch.

Now, it’s time for more good news. This fall, Corby is releasing a lineup of four top shelf expressions. Each one highlights different characteristics of Canadian whisky and its production.


According to Ross Hendry, Corby’s director of Canadian craft whisky, the series was inspired by the likes of the annual Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. The goal therefore is to build on their current brands and offerings with special, high-end takes that truly showcase what the lineup is capable of at its best.

They’re keeping the premium releases approachable in terms of price tag, coming in at or under approximately $100 a bottle. Each expression will enjoy only a limited run, too, with 325 cases apiece. Availability expected for fall 2017.

Corby Canadian Whisky Preview / Photo Credit: Jake Emen


Pike Creek 21 Year Old Speyside Cask Finish (45% ABV)

“Pike Creek is all about aging,” says Master Blender Dr. Don Livermore. “And southern Ontario is one of the more unique places to make whisky.”

Barrels in the warehouse may often be at below freezing temperatures for water as the lake-effect from the Great Lakes takes charge in the winter. But in the summer, it can be as hot as the rickhouses in Louisville.  These differences create a huge seasonal flux in maturation conditions.

Starting with that unique climate, Livermore searched for old stock clocking in at over two decades. He then opted for a Speyside cask finishing process of between four and six months to bring out a spicier, fruitier side. Along with those notes, expect a spicy, herbaceous nose that’s big on bold rye characteristics, moving into a richer palate with vanilla and rum raisin.

Lot 40 Cask Strength 12 Year Old (53.1%)

Lot 40 is already a Canadian crowd favorite, particularly amongst the bartenders out there. This one dials up the entire concept a few notches, bringing the whisky to 12 years, and offering the release at a robust cask strength.

The result is my personal favorite of the foursome. Look for an intriguing nose with tropical fruits, nuttiness, and marzipan. This moves on to a big palate with spicy and medicinal notes. The whisky is mixed with fruits, a little sweetness, and chocolate.

Gooderham & Worts Little Trinity 17 Year Old (45%)

This is a three-grain blend as opposed to the four-grain blend of typical Gooderham & Worts. However, there’s a total of five different distillates used across those three grains.

Livermore also wanted the proof above a standard 40% ABV in order to showcase more grain characteristics. Little Trinity 17 is definitely unique, showcasing everything from peanut brittle to crème brûlée, and the soft, smooth profile you’d expect from this type of grain blend.

JP Wiser’s 35 Year Old (50%)

Whoa – 35 year old Canadian whisky? And at $100? You betcha.

This is the oldest stock that JP Wiser’s has in their vast warehouses, and at that age, along with its anticipated price tag, it’s an instant best value on any liquor store shelf as soon as it’s released.

“When we first blended this together, we just went wild,” says Livermore.

Expect a smooth stunner with a buttery, creamy profile, and an overall rich character that’s backed with citrus and wax.

Thirsty for some Canadian whisky?

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