The Tasting Panel magazine

January/February 2015

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january/february 2015  /  the tasting panel  /  101 I usually receive when I taste this brand; it is a nice after-dinner sipper. Not many Canadian makers will finish their whiskies in this manner," continues Livermore. "In Canada, we generally do not have a mash bill. We separate corn, rye, barley or wheat, ferment them separately, distill them separately, age them separately and then blend them at the end. We are the opposite of bourbon. This is one of the reasons the Canadian whisky category is so innovative: We can change these parameters to suit consumer needs." Because finishing is critical to Pike Creek's character— indeed the finishing step lends the whisky its perhaps defin- ing characteristic—I wanted to know more about how the blender goes about selecting and balancing spirit and barrel. "We range from seven to ten years in age variants," says Livermore. "On the younger end of the spectrum we look at putting a small, brand new–wood component into the blend to keep the vanilla caramel toffee notes consistent across the age range. This is the nature of blending. This is the nature of keeping consistent whisky." The last few years have seen a resurgence, indeed an explo- sion, in American whiskey production, particularly in the num- ber of small producers and range of expressions now offered by the large distilleries. Brand Manager Cheryl Cavanaugh expanded on why PRUSA's re-launch of Lot No. 40 and Pike Creek will do well in Canada's southern neighbor: "Canada has been proud to be a significant supplier of Canadian whisky to U.S. consumers for many, many decades," says Cavanaugh. "The recent explosion of new consumers, as well as a matur- ing of current consumers into explorers and discoverers in the category, lends itself well to reminding consumers of the storied history of Canadian whisky. Consumers are demanding variety; lighthouse brands are important, but variety is critical. So now is the perfect time to re-introduce brands like Lot No. 40 and Pike Creek." Lot No. 40 Canadian Rye Whisky (SRP $59.99) This pale gold whisky clings to the glass but is not viscous. Mild aromas of sweet tobacco, maple, charred wood, gingerbread and chamomile give way to a creamy mouthfeel and notes of pecan and molasses. Ending with ginger and a peppery heat, it is an asser- tive and bold whisky yet very elegant. You'll want to pass an evening sipping this singular spirit in what is fast becoming a crowded field of rye whiskies. Pike Creek Canadian Whisky (SRP $31.99) A blend of vintages, ranging from seven to ten years, aged in oak barrels and finished in Port barrels. On the nose, it's mellow—citrus, floral and light spice shine through base notes of clove and bay leaf, honey and a hint of ginger. It leads on the palate with pepper, closely followed by caramel and raspberry, then trailed by nose charac- teristics. Finishing sweetly with a prickly punctuation, this whisky is a standout among Port-finished whis- kies: warm, sweet and delicate, but with piquant surprises in store. TASTING NOTES Located in Smithtown, NY, The Wine Guy Wine + Spirits' name doesn't tell the whole story. While the Long Island retailer does indeed have an impressive selection of grape-based products, the over 200 offerings of whiskies from all over the globe bring in a very educated whisk(e)y clientele, thirsty for knowledge and new recommendations. Especially over the last two and half years, this category has seen major expansion within the retailer, encour- aged by programs including the store's whisk(e) y club and educational seminars and tastings. Assistant Manager Kyle Carberry explains: "The staff is very passionate about the spirit, and we sell what we believe in." Two such selections include Lot No. 40 and Pike Creek whiskies. "We are finally seeing fine whis- kies from Canada come to the forefront," continues Carberry. "I'm a huge rye fan, so it's great that Lot No. 40 has been receiving the recognition it deserves. And the port finish on the Pike Creek is just so well-done—it's the perfect suggestion for a guest looking for something interesting." No arguments here!—Emily Coleman Your Go-To Guy Kyle Carberry is Assistant Manager at Long Island's Wine Guy Wine + Spirits, located in Smithtown, NY.

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