Lot No. 40 is a Canadian Rye Whisky produced by Corby at the Hiram Walker & Sons Ltd. in Windsor, Ontario. Unlike most widely available Canadian Ryes, Lot No. 40 is an all rye whisky is distilled from a mash of 90% rye grain and 10% malted rye in small batches in a single copper pot still instead of the traditional column still. While there's no age statement on the label, the whisky is rumoured to be around 7 or 8 years old.
The story goes that the recipe for Lot No. 40 dates back to Joshua Booth, an 18th century miller, distiller, and politician from Millhaven, Ontario. Over a century later, a modern day relative and distiller at Hiram Walker, Michael D. Booth helped revive the recipe in the late 1990s before it was discontinued by Corby's. Thankfully, for those of us who missed it the last time around, Lot No. 40 was re-launched in October 2012. Clearly we can expect some variation between bottlings as the label distinctly references that this 43% ABV whisky is part of the "2012 Edition Release," suggesting that there is something unique about this run that may not appear in successive batches. Regardless, the present release has received high praise from enthusiasts, conoisseurs and writers alike, with Canadian Whisky authority Davin de Kergommeaux claiming that it's "become the Holy Grail of Canadian whisky, the quintessential Canadian rye."
Nose: Aromas of sweet hard candies and Violets appear straight away with gusto accompanied by a dash of cloves, and with time, an earthy sort of rye breadiness, hints of raisins and apples round out the nose.
Palate: Big fruity rye flavours punctuated by candied cherries and melon salad and intertwined with toffee and vanilla. Zesty orange citrus, cloves and peppery notes add a bit of heat and an interesting, gentle, bitterness to the dram akin to carraway seeds.
Finish: Smooth, long finish that's lightly peppery and a touch astringent. During the fade out, flashes of spice and bitter cherry.
Overall: Those who may have negative impressions about Canadian whisky ought to give this one a chance to change their minds about just how good an all-rye whisky can be. Contrary to most of the plonk currently being marketed as Canadian rye whisky, Lot No. 40 is a breath of fresh air for whisky enthusiasts. The all-rye recipe offers good complexity and a range of effusive and interesting flavours. Affordably priced at $39.95 in the LCBO, Lot No. 40 is worthy of becoming your go-to daily dram. Since there are still a few hundred bottles of this release available you can safely pick up a few to drink now and a couple to squirrel away until we see the 2013 Edition Release appear on the shelves.