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Lot No. 40 18 Year Old Cask Strength

Review:  Lot No. 40 18 Year Old Cask Strength   (92/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published May 27, 2022

Lot No. 40 18 Year Old Cask Strength

Last year Corby, owners of the J.P. Wiser’s Brand offered us a brand extension to their popular Lot No. 40 Rye Whisky line-up with the introduction of two new additions, Lot No. 40 Dark Oak and Lot No. 40 18 Year Old Cask Strength.

According to the Corby Website information which I recorded in 2016:

Lot No. 40 is expertly distilled in small batches using only the finest locally sourced ingredients. By distilling in a single copper pot still, the result is a whisky that starts off earthy and woody tasting and then becomes full bodied and complex with a velvety vanilla oak finish.

Recently, Corby released a very exclusive brand addition to the Lot 40 Line-up, the limited edition Lot No. 40 18 Year Old Cask Strength. This is the oldest, and most exclusive expression of Lot No. 40 produced to date. It is a Single Barrel Whisky that was hand selected by Dr. Livermore which was limited to fewer than 150 bottles in total. The expression was bottled at cask strength (56.5 %) and limited to only 130 bottles produced.

I believe the expression has sold out. However, I provide this review such that if such a release were to be offered again, you might have some idea of what might be in store.

In The Bottle 4.5/5

I received only a small sample of the liquid within the bottle rather than a full bottle of the Lot No. 40 Dark Oak, and so I contented myself with a bottle shot from Corby which is shown to the upper left. However, I noticed that the bottle presentation is essentially the same as the one for the previously released 12 year old cask strength, so I have provided a picture of that bottle from from previous review  down below and to the right.

Lot No. 40 12 Year Old Cask Strength

Although, I like the medium tall bottle the cask strength whisky is housed in, I have the same issues with the presentation, as I have in my previous review of the 12 Year Old Cask Strength.

The label is hard to read (especially the small print at the bottom) and the heritage of the mash bill is not clearly stated. Is this a 100 % rye grain distilled whisky as implied by some of the media advertising I have seen, or is this a mixed grain mash. I can’t tell from the label. (If I am missing something, please let me know.)

In the Glass  9.5/10

Colour: Tarnished Penny

Legs: Crest holds the droplets which refuse to drop

Nose:  Maple, cedar and oak spice and sap. Vanilla and baking spice (nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and hints of clove) push through as does a dry dusty impression of burlap. Macintosh apples, orange marmalade, canned fruit, and apricot brandy seem to all appear and disappear as I sip. Pipe tobacco rich toffee as depth and finally burly, rye rye grain and spice come bursting through.

This is really a treat to nose, although I would make the point that one should take the time to allow the nose to gain full expression,

In The Mouth   55/60

The first sip brings heated oak tannin and spice to the fore. I needed to really control myself and take only the tiniest of sips as the heat threatens to overwhelm the palate. Fortunately luscious maple and butterscotch toffee appear almost instantly providing a nice counterbalance to the omnipresent heat. As I sip I can taste vanilla, cinnamon, green apples, fresh cut grass, willow and rye grain.  The complexity is really off the charts. There is a nutty element which reminds of almond which quick merges with the maple sweetness giving me an impression of marzipan. Tobacco flavours add depth. Finally there is an appearance at the end of the delivery of menthol and cooling mint.

I find the balance between the heated spice and the pleasant sweetness to be just about perfect.

Adding ice brings fruitcake and chocolate and allow the rye and the oak to dominate even more.

The Finish 13.5/15

Long heated finish bursting with oak and rye spices, but with the warmth of vanilla and maple provide much needed softness and light menthol cools the palate after the swallow. An ebbing bitterness of oak tannin creeps which mutes the score just a hair.

The Afterburn 9.5/10

Lot No. 40 18 Year Old Cask Strength has lots of alcohol heat and full powered spice from grain and oak. However all this brute strength is balanced by a delightful maple sweetness which appears early in the taste experience and which lasts right through to the finish. This results in high scoring throughout the review. I certainly hope that more releases of this 18 year old whisky are in the works.

You may read some of my other Whiskey Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.

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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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