Pike Creek - Export Edition (40% alc/vol)
Ripe red fruit with candied ginger, caramel and blistering pepper. Minty and herbal notes complement the softest oak tannins. What begins as big fruity whisky strolls leisurely into cleansing citrus pith. ★★★★☆Sharp-eyed visitors to liquor shops in Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Washington will be delighted to find another of Canada’s finest new whiskies beginning to appear on the shelves. With double-digit increases in sales of ultra-premium Canadian whisky, Corby Distillers has decided that it’s time for Pike Creek to enter the U.S. market. Corby, a subsidiary of drinks giant, Pernod Ricard makes this double barreled (port-wood finished) whisky in Windsor at the Hiram Walker Distillery.This is not the first time that Pike Creek has ventured into the U.S. An earlier version was released there in the late 1990s. The whisky was welcomed warmly by connoisseurs, but with management playing musical chairs in head office it lacked consistent marketing support and was eventually withdrawn from both American and Canadian distribution.Corby had planned to bring Pike Creek back as a Canada-only product. However, the launch in 2012 was so successful that international marketing manager, Ross Hendry began having thoughts of taking it south of the border. Hendry comes to Corby from The Glenrothes distillery in Scotland where he learned the value of foreign markets.But exporting means making more whisky, a lot more, and whisky does not just appear out of thin air. It takes ten years, plus a few more years of planning to make a ten-year-old whisky. If sales were to take off in the U.S. as expected, Hendry knew he would have problems meeting demand.With that in mind the planners at Corby made a strategic choice right from the start. Pike Creek will remain a 10 year old in Canada while the export version will be mostly 7- and 8-year-old whisky that has been beefed up with a bit more new wood. One of the glories of blending is that there is more than one way to get the same flavour profile.The original Pike Creek did not carry an age statement and neither will today's export edition. The taste is close enough though to say that the nas version and the Canadian 10 year old are the same whisky.Nose: Rye with red and black fruit, toffee, Werthers caramels, and loads of red wine. Complex aromas are tightly integrated and slightly and pleasingly herbaceous. The vaguest spirit notes appears after a while as does more toffee. Bright and inviting.Palate: Sweet, ripe, red fruit with lots of hot gingery spice, white pepper, and hints of menthol. Sour fruits and citrus peel lead into a slight herbal edge with hints of oak tannins, A big, slippery, smooth, voluptuous whisky.Finish: Medium-long with lingering red wine and tingling pepper.Empty glass: Fresh cut wood.Score: 86$32.00 (U.S.)Highly Recommended. ★★★★☆Pike Creek 10 Year Old (Canada only) is reviewed here.