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Pike Creek 10 Year Old (Finished in Rum)

Review: Pike Creek 10 Year Old (Finished in Rum)   84.5/100
a review By Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published October 24, 2017

Pike Creek 10 Year Old (Finished in Rum)  is a Canadian Whisky produced from a double distillation in small column copper stills, and aged in re-used American bourbon barrels. Once aged and blended, the whisky is finished in rum barrels.

Pike Creek was originally released in the late 1990s as part of Corby’s initiative to introduce new high-end Canadian whiskies into the North American market. Unfortunately the whisky was discontinued after only a brief time as consumers seemed uninterested in a the new premium product. The whisky was re-introduced in 2012, originally finished in Port Barrels. Sometime in 2016 a switch was made to a rum finished whisky.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

The bottle presentation for Pike Creek Whisky is shown to the left. The bottle is both appealing and eye-catching. I think the colour scheme works well on the label as does the overall brand messaging. I am not really sure what the significance of the paper cord wrapped around the neck is; but overall, the long-necked squat bottle looks good on my whisky shelf.

This ten-year old whisky is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

In the Glass 8.5/10

Although the whisky is now finished in Rum barrels, the spirit bears an uncanny resemblance to the former spirit which was finished in Port casks. In fact my brief tasting notes from blind tasting sessions (as part of my judging duties for the 2017 Canadian Whisky Awards) seem to reflect a Wine finished spirit much more so than a rum finished spirit.

Colour: Reddish bronze

Nose:  Dusty rye and fine oak spices, fruity with red  berries and some baking spice, vanilla and marmalade

I like the nose a lot as the combination of dusty rye and wood spices works very well with the fruit which seems to be in the air alongside. I do have one question though, “Where is the Rum?”

A few months after the judging for the awards was over I obtained a full bottle for review and decided to re-visit the spirit, this time knowing what it was. In isolation from the other spirits in the CWA tasting flights I was hoping to find that lost rum. Although I did find the spirit seemed to have a firmer push from butterscotch this time, I have to admit that I would never have guessed the spirit was finished in rum barrels based upon the nose.

In the Mouth 51/60

When I examined the flavour, my tasting notes from the blind sample again seem to reflect a wine enhanced spirit.

Flavour:  Maple followed by peppery whisky with hints of red fruit and mild red licorice.

In later tasting sessions, I noticed some bitter chocolate flavours evolving especially when ice is added.  As well a firm rye-like bitterness permeates the whisky. The rum enhancement is still obscured by the whisky although perhaps that maple flavour I am detecting is the sweetness of the rum barrel. Although the Pike Creek Whisky tastes quite good. I feel that the balance between the overt wood and rye spice and the butterscotch sweetness is not quite right. The two aspects of flavour seem to battle each other. I taste a little vanilla and baking spice which perhaps could be just a little firmer as this might help bridge the gap.

In The Throat 12.5/15

Finish: Bits of cinnamon and wood spice with vanilla and thankfully a touch of maple.

The whisky has a surprising bite with both rye and wood spice heating the palate. A buttery texture ensures that those spices linger. That touch of maple at the end really helps to soothe the palate.

The Afterburn 8/10

I like the Pike Creek Rum Finished Whisky, but I am not quite completely sold. Two aspects of the spirit bother me, the first is the limited impact from the rum barrel finish. Frankly I wanted to taste that rum which was promised on the label. The second niggle I have is that the spirit seems just a little off kilter. It has a spiciness that builds with each sip, and a maple like sweetness within the dram which seems to sit apart from that spice; harmony between the two is not found.

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

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Suggested Recipe:

Here is a cocktail which works well with any good Canadian Rye Whisky.

Canadian Whisky Splash

2 oz Pike Creek 10 year Old Whisky
2 or 3 Large Ice-cubes
Splash of Ginger-ale
Slice of Lime

Add the Ice-cubes to a rocks glass
Pour the Whisky over the ice
Add a splash of Ginger Ale
Garnish with a lime slice
Enjoy!

Note: If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

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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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