Whisky Advocate

Whisky Advocate’s 19th Annual Award: Canadian Whisky of the Year

January 23rd, 2013

Lot No. 40 2012 Release, 43%, C$40

For decades a handful of whiskies monopolized the high end of the Canadian connoisseur whisky scale. Eight major whisky makers in Canada had their own ultra-premium brand, and that was about it. This all changed in 2012 when, to the disbelief of whisky aficionados, Canadian distilleries launched more than a dozen top-notch new whiskies. And among these, a reprise from more than two centuries ago was greeted with audible cheers.

Lot40 botle shot copyJoshua Booth, an 18th century miller, distiller, and politician made whisky on his farm at Lot No. 40 near Millhaven, Ontario. Seven generations later his whisky is back in production. This is its second return. Late in the 1990s Booth’s great-great-great-great grandnephew, Michael D. Booth — a Hiram Walker distiller — made a whisky called Lot No. 40. It was part of Corby’s superb (but ill-fated) Canadian Whisky Guild that stalled in the marketplace and was quietly discontinued.

In the meantime, a North American rye renaissance has generated a much more receptive environment. Corby’s new Lot No. 40 is all rye whisky with a twist, distilled from a mash of 90% rye grain and 10% malted rye. This time Joshua Booth’s creation is selling briskly.

It’s not history, but flavor that matters in the end. This is one powerfully flavorful whisky that boldly mingles the galvanizing piquancy of distilled rye grain with the soaring floral fragrance of malted rye, and a fruitiness that comes with age.

Here, the exhilarating spiciness of rye simply seethes blistering dried ginger. But it all begins with rye: sour rye bread; floral fruity rye; hard, dusty, and earthy rye. Then a trio of baking spices: cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. Sweet fruits and hard Christmas candies balance a farm-tinged sourness that fades into citrus fruit with velvet oak tannins. A contemporary masterpiece, seven generations in the making.
—Davin de Kergommeaux

Tomorrow, Whisky Advocate’s 19th Annual Award for the Irish Whiskey of the Year will be announced.

11 Responses to “Whisky Advocate’s 19th Annual Award: Canadian Whisky of the Year”

  1. Stevely says:

    Congratulations Corby’s. This is indeed a spicy rye whisky with a hint of sweet fruit. The price is very reasonable too ($40-$45). This award could have easily gone to one of the Masterson’s (I like the French Oak myself) or Forty Creek products – all of which are at a higher price than Lot 40.
    It’s great to see some interesting whisky being released here in Canada as of late and I hope the industry continues to grow and improve.

  2. Davin says:

    Yes, Stevely, the short list was rather long this year. in addition to Lot No. 40 there was Wiser’s 18, Gibson’s 18, Masterson’s, Dark Horse, Highwood 25, Forty Creek Port Wood Reserve, Wiser’s Legacy, Century Reserve Lot 15-25, and Pike Creek. And that was whittled down from an even longer list. Canadian whisky is really on the upswing.

  3. Sean says:

    Sure, choose something I can’t find around here. 🙁

    Wouldn’t be the awards without a little bitching, would it?

  4. BFerguson says:

    While many things do not make it down stateside from the north, and likewise the other direction too, I will not bemoan the lost opportunity to try this. If you can get Wiser’s Legacy in your neighborhood, give that a try instead, it will not disappoint.

  5. Randy Perrelet says:

    A quick check of 1000corks shows a liquor store in Houston, Texas carrying it. Go figure.

    • Dave says:

      Randy, The bottle in Houston will be the original late 90s version of Lot 40. I’ve found dusty bottles in the Atlanta area, and many in Houston and Dallas area stores over the last few years.

  6. Blair says:

    I highly suggest a road trip into Canada to pick up a bottle or two.This whisky has loads of character.

  7. Thomas says:

    I am so proud of my Uncle.Happy to be a Booth
    Thomas Charles Booth

  8. Stevely says:

    If anybody is interested, I am willing to exchange some samples of Canadian whisky not available in the U.S. for some samples of whiskey not available in Canada. Just email me and we can work out an exchange.

  9. Tadas A says:

    If anybody is interested, I can get and send bottles of Lot 40 and other Canadian whiskey. I live by the border with Canada. Email me if interested:

  10. david c. says:

    found it in fl. for $80. Is it worth it? Maybe the Wisers 18 or Mastersons is better for about $55.

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