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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    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 I had not seen Lot 40 for about 2 years in Ontario and assumed it was withdrawn permanently.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

    Gary

  2. #2
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    Re: Lot 40 \"Mark II\"

    I will need to pick up a new bottle. It is a shame they don't easily differentiate the expressions.

  3. #3
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    Re: Lot 40 \"Mark II\"

    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.

    Gary

  4. #4
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    Re: Lot 40 \"Mark II\"

    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. 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.

    Gary

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Lot 40 \"Mark II\"?

    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 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.

    Gary

  6. #6
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    Re: Lot 40 \"Mark II\"?

    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. 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.

    Gary

  7. #7
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    Re: Lot 40 \"Mark II\"?

    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.

  8. #8
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    Re: Lot 40 \"Mark II\"?

    Thanks for sharing this bottle with us at the Gazebo. Truly a delight. Too bad I don't have a stash.

  9. #9
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    Re: Lot 40 \"Mark II\"?

    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.

  10. #10
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    Re: Lot 40 \"Mark II\"?

    Gary,

    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!

    Bob

 

 

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