View Full Version : Lot 40 "Mark II"
Lot 40, the Canadian rye whisky, was released a few years ago, part of an Allied Domecq/Hiram Walker small batch line up which included Pike Creek and Gooderham & Worts whiskies. I had not seen Lot 40 for about 2 years in Ontario and assumed it was withdrawn permanently. This is not so, it is back - and much better than the first release. The first release was "funky", holding big notes of lychee and "floor wax".
The new Lot 40 has a clean, fresh nose disclosing grainy, spicy notes with a mild overlay of sherry or other fruited addition. Possibly it is aged in sherry casks, for part of the maturation anyway. The sherry or other fruity element smooths down the whisky in a good way, preserving some of the waxy, grainy, spicy notes, but melding them into a pleasing result which in effect is a fine Canadian straight rye whisky. The use of copper pot stills clearly qualifies this as a straight-type whisky, i.e., distilled at relatively low proof and showing flavour as a result. This is a rich tangy whisky that has excellent, assertive taste but within a Canadian tradition, i.e., there is no big char effect. The label of the newly released version indicates, as the old one did, that it is made from malted rye and small grains. The latter are almost certainly corn and possibly some barley or barley malt. The current Lot 40 is somewhat like Old Overholt in style but the sherry overlay and lack of charred flavour really distance it even from that excellent whiskey.
I don't know if this version is the same as the original one, just given a couple of extra years aging in sherry wood, or is a different vatting or formulation from that first one.
The label and bottle design are identical to what was used for the first release. I don't think it is possible, except for production codes on the labels I can't decipher, to tell which is old and which is new. The original one was released in limited supply, as no doubt for this one, so I would think most bottles on the market now are the current issue especially as it's been a while since Lot 40 was available in Canada.
Finally, a Canadian rye whisky that really offers traditional straight whisky taste! Thirty three dollars Canadian, and well worth it. I know what I'm bringing to the Sampler for Festival '04
I will need to pick up a new bottle. It is a shame they don't easily differentiate the expressions.
It's really good, the paper label which is pasted on top and over the cork stopper states, "single copper pot still". I don't recall that strip being on the first issue, so that may help. The codes on the side are delphic to me but if anyone knows how to decipher I'd be happy to give them. In nosing this whiskey, I am getting brandy scents in addition to fine sherry. Underneath, a rich, spearmint-like rye nose.
Some notes on using Lot 40 to blend with other whiskeys. I have mentioned before that in 1885, Joseph Fleischman wrote a book in New York on contemporary blending practices. Extracts can be viewed at www.pre-pro.com. (http://www.pre-pro.com.) His blends rose in quality in proportion that real whiskey (bourbon or rye) was used instead of "spirit" (grain neutral spirit). Thus, his cheapest grades use all or mostly GNS; his best blends use all or mostly real whiskeys. The bourbon blends generally mix only bourbons - usually 3 kinds - and GNS. Ditto for the rye blends. Exceptionally, one bourbon blend uses two bourbons and one rye whiskey. Each bourbon constitutes 44.5% of this blend, the rye whiskey 10%, and a blending agent (fruit extracts or other flavoring) 1%. He states this grade (given his highest rating) was the choice of consumers when "they could get it". He states that very little unblended whiskey was sold in the market of 1885.
My most recent recreation of this top-most grade used, in aforesaid proportions, Evan Williams 7 year old, Old Charter 10 years old, and the Lot 40 rye. I added no flavoring because first, clearly this is optional, second, the Lot 40 has an evident overlay of sherry, probably from aging or finishing in sherry casks. This was enough to lend a faint fruitiness to the whole (which is all a 1% fruited addition would do anyway). I got a very good result and I may bring this to the Gazebo to get peoples' reaction. What happens is, the Canadian straight-type rye adds depth and complements the two already rye-oriented bourbons. As stated, the sherry notes hover over the drink lightly, adding interest. Evan Williams' feistiness is smoothed down but still shows its stuff. The barrel smoke of the Old Charter wends its way through the whole. In a word, we get complexity and good length. My next plan is to do this with Woodford Reserve, Weller 12 year old and either the Lot 40 again or maybe ORVW rye (Canadian Club Sherry Cask would be good too for the rye).
Fleischman advised casking his blends and giving them at least three months maturation at the top of the warehouse. I can see how that would meld and refine the drink further, but I got an excellent result as is, rich, stylish, full of flavor - a unique straight whiskey. Now I am going to work on a label for the bottle. Currently it is housed in a EW quart bottle and would benefit from a handsome label.
Just bumping this small thread to indicate that I may have spoken too soon regarding the current availability of Lot 40. After visiting about 8 or 10 of the largest liquor stores around Toronto, I had no dice finding it. The staff at Queen's Quay (the largest outlet and adjacent to the system's main warehouse) told me his computer shows "company delist". Gulp. The bottles I saw at Queen's Quay some weeks ago seem therefore to have been the last of the original inventory, i.e., apparently there isn't a second version or bottling. I know my taste buds did not mislead me: the last Lot 40 I tried was richly sherried or wine-treated and the earlier bottlings (of which I had had a number) were not. The older ones met the taste notes of Jackson and Broome archived www.whiskymag.com (http://www.whiskymag.com) with the signature spice and "orange liqueur". The last one I had had that but softened with a dash of some kind of wine, possibly absorbed naturally from a sherry cask. However, maybe there were variations in the original barrels, or the "bottom of the vat" differed from earlier takings (as we have seen with other whiskeys). Point is, there ain't any nowhere nohow in Toronto. I was given the distributor's number (this was volunteered by the clerk - LCBO service has improved enormously in recent years), but all this to say, if people see any in their markets, I'd buy it because who knows when more may appear. Lot 40 has appeared irregularly in recent years so I don't rule out a reappearance but again who knows? And if the stock people find in their market is the one whose taste is described on whiskymag.com and it fails to please, I advise to add a dash of cream sherry to your glass, this will emulate to perfection the sample I had from a few weeks back.
Spoke today to the Corby's rep who handles the Allied Domecq/Hiram Walker/Corby ryes in Ontario. Unfortunately, Lot 40 is all gone, what I saw some weeks ago were "stragglers". Had I known that at the time I would have picked up the three bottles I saw, not one. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif The rep said Lot 40 was a specially made batch and there won't be any more. He did say that Canadian Club 10 years old (the Special Reserve), while different from Lot 40, has more real rye whisky in it than the other Corby and CC whiskies, so I plan to pick that up soon. He also said, look out for some "new things" in October, but didn't elaborate. I indicated rye drinkers would like to see more real rye whisky in our markets, which he said he would pass on. I suspect that the remaining stocks of Lot 40 are in U.S. and other non-Canadian retail locations, e.g., I would be surprised if Sam's in Chicago doesn't have any. Soon I'll be in Louisville and maybe Liquor Barn has some - irony of ironies, looking for Canadian rye in Kentucky. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
A recent check with the state-controlled liquor stores here in Sweden, reveals that there are at least 17 bottles of Lot 40 left.
If the brand is on its way out maybe I should order a bottle. It was a couple of years since my last bottle but I remember that the herbal qualities of the nose made the deepest impression on me.
Also, of course, looking forward to see Sweden thrash Canada in the ice hockey World Cup. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
Thanks for sharing this bottle with us at the Gazebo. Truly a delight. Too bad I don't have a stash. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif
Yes, thanks for bringing it. I found it to have a nice, well-rounded caramel and vanilla taste with just a touch of graininess that gave it that slightly "primative" impression that we talked about. It's a bottle I wouldn't mind picking up if it was still available.
Thanks for sharing that interesting rye. Did someone else bring that? I think I recall you telling me that.
LeNell, is this available in NY? I too would like to try it again, given it was tasted with so many other goodies, all I can remember is that I liked it! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif
I wouldīve had a bottle this monday but the guy at my local liquor store messed up my order. Instead of Lot 40 there was a bottle of Queen Anne blended Scotch waiting for me. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif
No to pre-empt LeNell, but I was told by Corby's that no more is being, or will be, sold in Canada. At the same time, a number of U.S. outlets still have some. It would surprise me if some stores in or around Manhattan do not have it, but finding which ones may be a chore..
Jeff's comment about Lot 40 being "primitive" is right on, it has a primitive, early-whisky taste. The label implies that it was distilled once only, which might explain the rich congeneric taste. Even if twice distilled, the use of (I understand) both malted and unmalted rye in the palate has ensured a big flavor. The label also calls the taste (surely a first in liquor labelling), "unrefined", a refreshing display of candor but indicative too of the intent to go for a very old-style taste. This liquor is quite the opposite of anything rectified. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif Actually, the last bottle I bought in Canada was less Gothic in taste, or rather, the taste was the same but moderated (I am almost sure) with a shot of cream sherry or some sherry cask aging. I may add a dash of sherry to my next glass because the combo was very good. Whatever the blending agent was, it was added in small measure, but helped the palate. The one tasted at Gazebo in B'town had been bought in the States and, I am sure, was from the earliest stock exported. It showed no sherry or other flavoring influence.
Gary....Our shelves are full of the stuff here in Houston. Want me to pick up a few for you. I'll even give them a taste test for you.
Unfortunately, I've never seen it and did a little search when I got back but had no luck. From what I gathered from Gillman, it's all gone.
Hi Randy, that's very kind, perhaps one will be enough and I can get it at Sampler in April! Many thanks!
Well, I eventually got my bottle last thursday and I have now tried it together with other Canadians, American ryes and Irish pot-stills. The keyword here, I think, is individuality.
Admittedly, it was almost exactly three years since my last bottle and the memory tend to blur but this is much more upfront and in-your-face than I remember from the 2001 bottle. The herbal qualities of the nose, which I remember from old, are still there but they are now fighting it out with something menthol-like and a sharp, almost acidic fruitiness. All this adds up to what almost could be described like (and I actually donīt mean this to be condescending)a scent of mosquito spray.
The finish, although improved, is still, I feel, its achillesī heel. Some faint echoes of fruit and a little vanilla but mostly muted by oak. A bit surprising since this tastes like a quite young whisky.
Around a year after my first Lot 40 bottle I finally got hold of Wild Turkey rye. Back then I noted a faint resemblance between the two but on the basis of this bottling there are no similarities whatsoever.
Thanks for these notes, it sounds like the bottle tabled at the last Gazebo. It does not sound like the last Toronto bottles which (or at least I thought) had a sherried overlay. The mosquito spray thing is another way, I believe, to say "varsol" or "laquer" - these are in my opinion congeneric tastes particular to a youngish or medium-aged straight rye - Jim Beam's rye has some of that taste too, so does Wild Turkey's IMO. One thing which accentuates the taste in the Canadian product is lack of new charred barrel aging, so you are getting the "full" effect. This whiskey surely tastes like some of the earliest ryes made, in my view again. Suggestion: add a dash to a glass of regular Canadian whisky (almost any brand will do). It really will improve the drink and may show that blending is possibly the best use of Lot 40. Of course, it will make a good Manhattan too; if you do this I advise a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio of whisky to vermouth. (Actually I would do 50/50 Lot 40 and any wheated bourbon, and then the other ingredients). It is good to remember that whisky such as this was rarely drunk neat in the old days. Either it was cut with water, sometimes almost to wine strength, or was used in toddies, a term that has almost died out in Canada (not Kentucky, though) and was in common use here in the 1800's. Victorian Canadians would have added a little sugar, hot water and a slice of lemon. Taken that way, the drink has the allure of a folk remedy, if not the storied effect.. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
This blending business is all new to me, I have to admit. Think I will try with 8yo Schenley OFC, a fairly good whisky which failed to ignite me.
The mosquito spray thing is another way, I believe, to say "varsol" or "laquer" - these are in my opinion congeneric tastes particular to a youngish or medium-aged straight rye - Jim Beam's rye has some of that taste too, so does Wild Turkey's IMO.
Agreed, but the "mosquito spray" is much more prominent in Lot 40. JB and WT were actually the first two whiskies that I tried together with L40 and I had no difficulties at all in discerning them from each other. (I often semi-blind taste 2-4 whiskies.)
Had another go at it last night. This time I really concentrated on the palate. The dominant theme, to me, was light orange lemonade mixed with a touch of grapefruit.Beneath this I could sense an undercurrent of something more earthy. This is good stuff.
Schenley would be perfect. First, my understanding is Lot 40 is 8 years old, so this jibes perfectly with Schenley. Second, Schenley's heritage, altough much watered down in rye whiskey today, is partly in Pennsylvania rye. Schenley is the town in Pennsylvania where Schenley established or bought a major distillery. For many years Schenley straight rye was available in the U.S. Therefore, in my opinion, it makes perfect sense to add straight rye to the current Schenley blended Canadian whisky. It already (no doubt) has some, but needs more. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif I have tried this with other Canadian whiskies (e.g. 10 year old Canadian Club) and the result is very good.
Bumping my own post here to update on Lot 40. Initially I thought a second "release" of Lot 40 was better than the first: rounder, richer, sweeter. The product was released initially 6 or 7 years ago, then again about 3 years ago (what I called Mark II), and once the latter were sold, nothing further until this week. I called Corby's overa year ago and was told it was delisted and will not be brought back. Yet today, I saw about 20 bottles at Vintages at the LCBO. In one sense though that rep was right because the bottle labels state, "Imported by [not from] McCormick Distilling Co., Weston MO". The main label states, no less ironically, "Imported Canadian Whisky". So, this is a Canadian whisky imported to the U.S. and imported back to canada.
Are you guys making Canadian rye now? Just kidding. The label says, "Product of Canada". Clearly a bunch of Lot 40 was sent to the U.S. (no doubt it was from this stock Dane kindly got a bottle for me), for sale there, and maybe it didn't do well, but whatever the explanation it is back. I would think this is the second release although, if there was only one bottling not two as I thought, it might be about 7 years old or more by now.
Anyway the clerk told me it was selling really fast, he said 7 cases went out in a week or so. He said many bars are buying it. It is in a section that has whiskies priced from about $75.00 to $1000 and more and Lot 40 is only 35 dollars, that may be one reason, it "looks" very premium. The taste as we know here is big and rye/feisty, like (I would imagine) Potero rye if aged 8 years. There is no age statement but I've read elsewhere it is 8 years old. This one has the hang-tag the older ones did that says, "Distilled in a single copper pot still [so likely one run only] from a mash of small grains and malted rye".
This is slightly confusing in that usually the malted element is part of the small grains. I think they mean, based again on other reading I've done, that it is made from malted rye and unmalted rye. I believe the Hiram Walker site used to say that specifically but when I tried to find Lot 40 on it today I couldn't. Anyway, all this to say, Lot 40 is back, for a time anyway. Another leaflet with the purchase states the whisky is only "lightly filtered", I don't think I've seen that on a Canadian liquor (or many other) label before and the label implies also that the whisky was aged in charred wood (all to the good). I like the whisky but I wonder what it would taste like if distilled twice, maybe that 1960's Overholt? Since it is apparently a singling it may well, like Potrero, replicate the taste of some of the early rye whiskeys.
...the bottle labels state, "Imported by [not from] McCormick Distilling Co., Weston MO". The main label states, no less ironically, "Imported Canadian Whisky". So, this is a Canadian whisky imported to the U.S. and imported back to Canada...maybe it didn't do well, but whatever the explanation it is back...
Or maybe McCormick is currently cash poor after one of its owners paid more than $2M for smuggling high-proof GNS to Russia.
Though the case is several years old, it may be that the a money crunch is a delayed result:
Interesting story. I wonder what "vodka flavoring" means? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
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