View Full Version : New Whiskies

10-20-2007, 20:48
It is always fun to try new whiskies and I had the chance to sample a number tonight at Whisky Live's Toronto gig.

First off was Crown Royal's Cask 16, a 50 whisky blend finished in a cognac cask. Just superb, the brandy was very noticeable and somehow blended the other constituents to perfection. A class act.

Next was Forty Creek's Small Batch Reserve (it has also a "40" marked in the centre of the bottle on the front display panel), a blend of the best casks held back by distiller John Hall. He told me the whiskies are a blend of ages of between 6 and 15 years. The whiskey had a deep, oak-driven flavour that was quite unlike any other Forty Creek brand I thought. Very enjoyable, and a bottle found its way home with me courtesy the on-site LCBO store.

Next was Red Letter, a new whisky from Wiser's issued to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Wiser's whisky. This was very good too, a very full-flavored, woody, spicy whisky, still resolutely in the Canadian style but very big in the flavor department.

Apart from that, a local outfit will release soon a 3 year old cask strength malt whisky (mostly from Scotland but with a very small Canadian component) and get this, it comes in a box with a mini-barrel alongside in which the whisky can be inserted for further aging! The owner told me it is a new oak, medium-charred barrel. We speak here of rebarreling all the time and someone has gone ahead and done it for the market! I may put bourbon in mine!

The Wiser's was poured by distiller Michael Booth, responsible earlier for Lot 40, and we had a nice chat about that brand too.

There were some fine malts on the premises of which I thought Arran finished in an Amarone cask, Highland Park 18 years old, Talisker 18 and Ballantine 30 years old were the best but in fact I was only able to taste a small number of the malt and blended whiskies available.

A fine night and a classy performance by Whisky Live. Different in feel and presentation from some of the other whisky events I've attended but every bit as good or better. I liked the fact that it focused on new products.

In bourbon, they had Woodford Reserve (tasting very nice, it was taken from the current LCBO supply which is batch 141 which I know well) but it was a chance to chat with Chris Morris which is always a pleasure. They also had Maker's Mark and a shot went down real nice.

A fine evening but so many whiskies went untried...


10-20-2007, 21:16
Sounds like a great time, Gary. I would be interested in hearing more about your Lot 40 conversation and about the Forty Creek: will this product make it to the U.S. market?

HP 18 is a great malt; glad you enjoyed it.

I would definitely like to hear a bit more about the Crown Royal, too. I've read a bit about it, and I'm very intrigued.

At any rate, thanks for the information. I'm quite envious of anyone who gets to attend an event of this size and scope.

Hedmans Brorsa
10-21-2007, 03:06
Thanks, Gary!

I had not heard about the Red Letter whisky. Sounds interesting. IŽll see if I can track it down in Europe.

10-21-2007, 03:44
Michael Booth said Lot 40 was a pot still whisky and all made from "rye". He said part of the cooperage was reused bourbon barrels that had been recharred. I did not have the time to ask about the remainder of the barrels used (possibly new charred wood). I did ask him, if Lot 40 had been aged all in new charred oak, would it resemble bourbon, and he said it would have but it is a hallmark of Canadian whiskies not to receive aging (or all of it) in new charred wood which marks them off from bourbon. He seemed to want to get a good grain character that was not too affected by the barrel. I told him I added it sometimes to regular Wiser's to "stiffen" it and he found this interesting and (I could see) logical. We also discussed that likely from early times Canadian whisky was a blend of continuous still and pot still productions (not very earliest times though, since the first whiskies were made only in pot stills and he was seeking to emulate that in the Lot 40 style).

Red Letter did have a tang of spice in it that I thought might be a strong component of pot still but overall it was more as I said in the Canadian blended style but the strongest tasting such whisky I've ever had with big oak and spice notes.

The CR Cask 16 was completely different to Red Letter: creamy, soft, brandyish from the finishing in a Cognac cask. An excellent effort and the first CR in my experience really to strike out in a different direction. The whisky tasted as if perhaps Special Reserve (or something like it) was the base.


10-21-2007, 06:17
Excellent information. Thanks, Gary.

10-21-2007, 07:40
Thanks, and just a bit more on Red Letter Whisky: it is 45% ABV and un-chill filtered. Also, it was inspired by a Wiser's whisky of that name from the 1800's.