Lot 40 Canadian Rye Whisky 2012 Release

I wish I could say that after tasting through all that blended Canadian whisky, that I personally discovered this gem. That would be dishonest, though, and if you can’t trust something you read on the Internet, then what can you trust? Seriously, though, I had it on good authority from David Driscoll at K&L that Lot 40 was worth a close look, so I bought a bottle blind. It’s also significantly more expensive than any other Canadian whisky I’ve reviewed, and it’s not a blend, so it’s not fair to compare to the cheapo blends below. Still, THIS is what I wanted – really good Canadian whisky available in the US. It’s happening!

This guy was Whisky Advocate’s 2013 Canadian Whisky of the year. Apparently available (even in the States) previously, it disappeared from production for over a decade and sparked a global bottle hunt among Canadian whisky drinkers in the know. Bottler Corby Distilleries has re-launched Lot 40 with its 2012 Release. The whisky is distilled at the Hiram Walker plant from a mashbill of 90% rye and 10% malted rye using a copper pot still. This is the real deal. This is what Canadian whisky (should be) all about, and thank goodness it’s available in the US!

Nose: Oh my God. Delicate cherry blossoms, crushed eucalyptus, sticky dried golden delicious apples. No dusty spice cabinet. Instead, the “rye spices” smell like freshly-opened seed pods of clove and allspice. I now know what rye whisky is supposed to smell like. This is -amazing-.

Palate: Soft. The spices are slightly more predominant on the tongue, with clear cinnamon and clove. Gingersnap cookies. Soft rye grain with a touch of oakiness and some vanilla-flecked caramel. Nice, but not as earth-shattering as the aroma.

Finish: Mild, medium-length. The eucalyptus returns, with a ghost of fresh mint leaves. Finishes totally devoid of bitterness.

With Water: Oddly, a few drops of water dulls the aroma. The palate is sweeter, with some nice fleshy stone fruit. I’d avoid the water here, just because of the disservice it does to that lovely aroma.

Overall: This isn’t saying much, but this is the best Canadian whisky I’ve ever had. It’s also the best nose I’ve ever smelled on anything with rye in it. Hell, I’ll say it, it’s even better (on the nose) than any bourbon I’ve tried, including those from Van Winkle. The palate doesn’t quite live up to the promise of the nose (what can?), but is soft and subtle in its own right. The finish is sedate and unobtrusive. Really, though, I could sit here and smell this all night.

If you like bourbon, rye, Canadian whisky, or American craft whisky, then you now have a mission. You must smell this whisky. Find a bar that carries it, a friend with a bottle, a retailer who will pour you a sample under the table, or a public tasting event. Buy a bottle if you have to. You must smell this whisky.

Lot 40 Canadian Rye Whisky 2012 Release
43% ABV
ScotchNoob™ Mark:
Price Range: $50 - $60
Acquired: (bottle) K&L Wine Merchants, Redwood City, CA. $60.

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13 thoughts on “Lot 40 Canadian Rye Whisky 2012 Release

  1. Hi ScotchNoob!
    Here in Canada, this bottle is sold for $40 taxes in. At this price, in your opinion, it’s still a MUST TRY or become a MUST HAVE ???
    Thank you!

    1. I love that it is actually cheaper in Canada than the US.

      This is a great whisky. The only other Canadian whisky I’ve had that comes close is Alberta Premium Dark Horse. Amazingly it’s even cheaper at around $28 a bottle. Definitely 2 whiskies that are a great value in Canada.

  2. Here it is, the bigfoot of canadian whiskies. Im glad i bought a bottle, as it is way better than high west double rye that i had in the cabinet representing the rye category. I was little disappointed at the abv at first for the price, but it hits the pallett more like 46%. Thanks for reviewing it SN.

  3. Found 4 bottles at Bloomington Il Binny’s. 15% sale brought price down to $51. Cherry blossom and rye spice nose is amazing!

  4. I wish I had read this review yesterday. I was looking at this at a liquor store today wondering what was up. I’m in the same situation as Fred, $40 out the door because I’m in Ontario.

  5. For those who are, like me, very sensitive to banana flavor this Lot 40 got a very exotic profile with a big ripe banana going with the nutmeg cinnamon and rose water. For me, it is by far the best canadian whisky I ever had. I wrote a full review of it on Connosr and there’s one by Victor as well, it should interest you all.

  6. About having a great bourbon nose, I did a homemade vating of 50% of Gibson’s 18 yo Finest and Rare with 50% of Fighting Cock (I have the batch with a big punch). I was braging at how good it smells and taste and I received some doubtful look from Scotch snobs (not you) but when they tasted it, they were comparing it to Glenfiddich Solera but even better! (Their words) It was all about the soft spices and the floral notes (rose and jasmin). I had to admit, I was proud of myself.

  7. Hopefully some of the Highwood distillery (Alberta) whiskies will be available in the US,Highwood Ninety (proof) aged 20 years (under $50)is as good as anything I have ever tasted.

    Don’t turn your nose up at Pike’s Creek whiskey (age statement 10 years on Canadian labels)Lot 40’s brother.

  8. Lot 40 was the Canadian whisky in my small noob collection (been mainly focusing on scotch-style single malts since getting the taste a couple of years ago). Outstanding nose, and great balance of rye flavours – but more baked desserts than dusty bread. Think cinnamon scones with a bit of dark fruit jam, yum. Nathan’s review is spot on, as usual – I could happily just smell it all night (Mrs selfbuilt opines it would last longer that way ;).
    At $40 CDN, it remains an outstanding value. I’ve come across many other excellent Canadian whiskies in a similar (and higher) price range, but little below – aside from the above mentioned Alberta Premium Dark Horse (another favourite for tastings at my house, especially by sherried malt lovers). But the Canadian Club 100% Rye is a good “budget” version of the Lot 40, for those of you who cross the border (similarly unavailable in the US). Very similar palate and finish – maybe a touch more fruity, a bit less floral. Sadly, the nose isn’t as impressive as Lot 40’s, but it’s definitely on the same relative balance of “dessert rye” flavourings. Certainly much better than any regular CC.

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