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Gooderman and Worts Little Trinity (17 Year Old)

Review: Gooderham and Worts Little Trinity  94.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (aka Arctic Wolf)
Published December 20, 2017

Corby Spirit and Wine Limited has added yet another premium brand to its Gooderham and Worts whisky line-up, Gooderham and Worts Little Trinity (Three Grain) Canadian Whisky. The whisky pays homage to the former whisky giant, Gooderham and Worts which in the latter half of the 19th century was the largest spirits producer in Canada. (The company was founded in the early to mid-nineteenth century by James Worts and his brother-in-law William Gooderham.)

Gooderham and Worts was merged in 1926 with Hiram Walker & Sons Ltd. (producers of Canadian Club Whisky) by Harry Hatch who at the time owned both companies. Over time, distilling declined at the Gooderham and Worts distillery until 1987 when it was sold to Allied Lyons who chose to close the facility in 1990. The Hiram Walker & Sons Distillery remains in operation, although it now owned by Pernod Ricard. Pernod Ricard incidentally own a major share (about 46 %) of Corby Spirit and Wine Limited who market and distribute Pernod Ricard’s products in Canada.

Gooderham and Worts Little Trinity is named for the oldest surviving church (Little Trinity Church) established by William Gooderham in Toronto in 1842. The church was established for his mill and distillery workers who could not afford the high pew fees in the nearby  local churches. In keeping with the theme of the Holy Trinity, the whisky is produced from three grains, corn, wheat and rye (I’ll leave it to you to decide which is the Father, which is the Son, and which is the Holy Spirit).

The Little Trinity whisky is bottled at 45 % alcohol by volume and is part of the new Northern Border collection of premium whiskies produced by Corby Brands.

In The Bottle 4/5

The bottle presentation for Gooderham and Worts Little Trinity brings us a style meant to honour the history of the Little Trinity Church and the Gooderham and Worts Distilling Company. The front of the bottle shows us an illustration of the  Little Trinity Church, and if you look at the back of the bottle you will learn a bit of the history of the both the parish and the distilling company.

The bottle is a traditional long-necked tall bottle designed to be easy to grab, easy to pour, and easy to store. The roughened parchment style label makes the bottle less slippery which of course aids in both the ‘easy to grab’ and ‘easy to pour’ categories.

A 17 Year age statement is on the neck-band and the entire presentation is sealed with a cork closure. My only disappointment was the tacky plastic covering which helps to seal the cork. A 17 Year Old Whisky deserves a more elegant foil cover over the cork.

In the Glass 9.5/10

When poured into my glencairn, the whisky displays itself as an amber coloured spirit which has perhap started on its journey towards copper. When I tilt and twirl my glass I see a slightly thickened liquid sheen on the inside with a reluctant crest that slowly releases a multitude of small droplets which turn to slender legs running  back down into the whisky at the bottom of the glass.


The breezes above the glass bring merry notes of rye spice and oak sap complimented by  maple and toffee. Vanilla wafts into the air along with some lightly sweet corn syrup. Then I notice damp straw, some fresh leather and tobacco. There is also some almond-like nuttiness which soon melds with the vanilla and the corn-like sweetness to bring me an impression of marzipan. As I let the glass breathe I begin to notice a mustiness which reminds me strongly of baby corns. All in all, this is very nice indeed!

In the Mouth 57.5/60

The Little Trinity is a full flavoured/robust whisky which brings all of the impression I gathered in the breezes to fruition across the palate. Added to those impressions are new impressions of cedar, bitter rye kernel and bitter citrus pith as well as lots of peppery oak spice, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and clove. The complexity is through the roof as I notice even more flavours of apricot jam and marmalade with almond and burlap underneath. Adding ice tempers the push of the 45 % alcohol but does not seem to diminish the wonderful flavours although perhaps maple and cedar are highlighted by the cooling effect of the ice.

I know that sound like a lot of taste descriptors just rattled off in succession. Trust me the whisky is much more than just impressions of flavour. Those flavours play well together making the dram more than the sum of its parts. The best word to use is YUMMY!

In the throat 14/15

Oak spice whacks the tonsils, and then we are treated to a long finish with bitter rye flavours in the throat which slowly turn to cedar and maple. A mixture of glowing cinnamon and rum-like brown sugar settles in reminding me of the cinnamon buns my Mom used to bake. (If you tasted my Mom’s cinnamon buns you would know what high praise that really is.)

The Afterburn 9.5/10

Gooderham and Worts Little Trinity is a mouthful of Yumm! The whisky is robust, finely balanced and displays a level of complexity which is unsurpassed in the Canadian Whisky category. I have seen people on Facebook and Twitter asking if the whisky is truly worth its $80.00 price tag. I can say unequivocally, yes it is!


As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74   Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79   You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84   We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89   Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94   Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+        I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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