Canadian whiskey has traditionally gotten a bad rap. Mostly thanks to brands like Canadian Club serving the “bottom shelf mixer whiskey” slot with extreme consistency (although their Chairman’s Select Rye proves they can deliver a decent dram.) But dawn is breaking for Canadian whiskey lovers, and Lot 40 Whisky is ushering it in.
With the recent smash-success of Crown Royal Northern Harvest people are tuning back in. And they’re finding wonderful whiskies like Alberta Premium Dark Horse and Forty Creek aren’t what they remember Canadian whiskey tasting like. Lot 40 is among this ilk, and in many ways transcends it.
For American whiskey drinkers, it is often difficult to access, with whiskey-fetching trips north of the border growing in frequency. Lot 40 has been a prize and well-reputed whiskey since before the concept was applied to Canadian drams. And with good reason.
Lot 40 Whisky Review
Perhaps I just have a thing for whiskey made in copper stills, but Lot 40 really impressed me from start to finish. It possessed a unique character that reminded me just how wide the expressions of whiskey can be.
Lot 40 pours a dusky copper-brown. On the nose is a bouquet of aromas. There’s a punch of nutmeg, toasted sugar, sourdough bread, a whiff of charcoal smoke and lush floral undertone. It’s actually a bit overwhelming and I definitely took my time sniffing it. At 43% ABV, Lot 40 certainly isn’t as burly as some of its other rye kin, but it’s no slouch either. In spite of that, the alcohol fumes are remarkable muted.
The quiet alcohol carries into the mouth, where it provides little more than a background of warmth. Lot 40 is a luscious rye, with open floral notes, maltiness, caramel, a touch of citrus and baking spices, and a punch of rye spice. It’s actually one of the more spicy ryes I’ve tried, but it manages it with a delicate balance that far exceeds its price point. The finish is all butterscotch and spice, and it lingers for some time.
Once again, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed a Canadian whisky that punches above its weight (and price.) Lot 40 has a complexity that’s surprising and a balance that’s welcome. It does become almost a little much after one dram, but challenging my palate is always preferable to boring it. Without a doubt, this is a whiskey you’re going to appreciate sipping slow.