Pike Creek 10 year old 40% alc/vol
Spicy dark fruit, poached pears, gingery spice, and clean oak. Like a nutty fruit bar with cleansing bitter grapefruit pith on the finish. Treads softly into single malt territory. ★★★★★Late in the 1990s, Corby Distillers did something bold. Having recently taken over management of North America’s largest distillery, the Hiram Walker plant in Windsor, Ontario, Corby’s began to work on developing some new, high-end Canadian whiskies.The result was the short-lived and sadly missed Canadian Whisky Guild. Three whiskies comprised the guild: a soft Canadian blend called Gooderham and Worts, the all-rye-grain Lot No. 40, and a fruity, port-finished ten year old called Pike Creek.Connoisseurs soon found Lot No. 40 and their enthusiasm turned it into a legend. Meanwhile, both Pike Creek and Gooderham and Worts kind of got lost in the shuffle. Canadians just weren't ready for such richly flavourful premium whiskies. Just a few years after it was introduced, the Canadian Whisky Guild was discontinued. Sales simply had not met expectations.But in the autumn of 2012, they are trying again. The team at Corby’s has resurrected the recipes and the packaging for two of the three Whisky Guild members. Lot No. 40 has made a grand re-entry and right behind it comes Pike Creek, a soft and richly fruity delicacy, hand crafted by Master Blender Don Livermore and his team at the Hiram Walker plant.Drinks giant, Pernod Ricard may own Corby’s but rather than stifle innovation, as so many large bureaucracies are wont to do, Pernod has encouraged Corby’s to manage its portfolio of Canadian whiskies as Canadian distillers would. The result has been one innovative product after another.Pike Creek is a rarity among Canadian whiskies. Double distilled in small copper column stills (beer stills – low abv) the spirit is matured in first-use white oak bourbon barrels then finished in vintage port pipes. These port barrels imbue Pike Creek with undertones of fruitiness not unlike single malt scotch aged in port or sherry wood. The finished whisky is vaguely reminiscent of Forty Creek’s Portwood Reserve or Canadian Club Sherry Cask, but only vaguely for it is a genuine small-batch classic in its own right. A whisky that should be in every aficionado’s cabinet.The name Pike Creek comes from the Windsor, Ontario suburb where the Hiram Walker warehouses are located. With no electricity in the individual warehouse where Pike Creek matures, the oft-erratic Canadian climate strongly influences the maturation of the whisky. Dramatic swings in temperature maximize the interaction of the whisky and the wood as the barrels contract during the cold winter months and expand during the summer. The result is a Canadian expression of single grain craftsmanship with a balanced and elegant taste.Nose: Mild fresh red fruit with overtones of dark fruit and spice, soft, baked nut loaf. Creamy and mouth-filling.Palate: Sweet fruit, hints of toffee, lovely rising spiciness, ginger, pepper, tingling clean oak, and hints of pith. The whisky fairly glows on the tongue, and the fruitiness remains as peppery heat builds on the sides of the tongue,Finish: Long glowing finish with dashes of cleansing citrus pith,Empty Glass: Slightly sour fruit and the vaguest aromas of clean dry oak.Limited supplies for $39.90 at LCBO.Very Highly Recommended. ★★★★★Pike Creek Export Edition is reviewed here.