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