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Review: North of 7 Canadian Whisky Barrel #10 (95 % Rye)

Review: North of 7 Canadian Whisky  Barrel #10   (89/100)
Mashbill – 95% Rye and 5% Malted Barley
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted On May June 06, 2018

Some of the North of 7 Spirits

Greg Lipin and Jody Miall are both avid rock climbers who regularly travel to Kentucky on climbing trips. It was there that the two friends developed a passion for ‘brown spirits’ which led them to opening their own Micro-distillery (North of 7) in Ottawa, Ontario. They currently produce several styles of Canadian Whisky, two versions of dark rum, as well as both gin and vodka.

The subject of this review is the North of 7 Single Barrel Canadian Whisky from Barrel Number 10, which is produced from a 95 % Rye Mashbill. The whisky was aged in for a minimum of 3 years in a specially toasted 53 gallon oak barrels from Independent Stave Company.

This is a true locally produced whisky as all of the grain used by the distillery is sourced locally from the  Moulin St.-Georges Mill (corn from the Alexandria area) and the Against the Grain farm in Winchester.

North of 7 Whisky is bottled at 45 % alcohol by volume and is now available for sale in the distillery store (hopefully soon at the LCBO and across Canada).


In the Bottle 4.5/5

I like the medium tall rectangular bottles that the North of 7 Single Barrel Whisky arrives in. The masculine bottle implies substance especially with the heavy glass bottom and lightly tapered shoulders. The medium long neck makes pouring easy, and the synthetic cork stopper is sure to give the consumer that nice ‘pop’ when she (or he) opens the bottle for the first time. To top it off we have a very nice easy to read label with outstanding graphics which give the entire presentation a certain eye appeal.

My only quibble (and this prevented a perfect score) is that the distillery uses the same brand name and almost identical label for its different whisky styles. I was sent two sample bottles (see left), and the only difference on the labels was the Mashbill information at the bottom. It would be very easy for a consumer who was expecting to purchase the Corn, Wheat, Rye and Barley mash whisky (the bourbon style) to grab a bottle of the 95 % Rye, 5 % Malted Barley whisky by mistake. As you can see, these two different whiskies have almost identical presentations. Unless you read the fine print, you do might not realize which version you are buying.

In the Glass 9/10

When I poured the whisky into my glencairn, I see that it has a nice amber colour, and when I tilted and twirled that glass, medium-sized leglets formed at the crest, which fell as mid-sized legs which ambled leisurely back down to the whisky below.

The breezes above the glass brought me a nice mixture of maple, cedar, and rye grain the combination of which reminded me of graham wafers. As I let the glass breathe, baking spices (vanilla, cinnamon and hints of nutmeg) and tobacco seemed to unravel themselves from the oak and cedar spices. I notice some fruitiness in the air in the form of marmalade and canned apricots. Hints of marzipan rounds out the nose.

Everything oozes yumm!

In the Mouth 53.5/60

Oak and cedar are at the forefront of the flavour which some may find just a touch bitter especially with the accompanying flavour of wood sap. Fortunately, along with that wood sap are oozing maple flavours which provide a pleasant sweet counterbalance to the woodiness. Luscious rye flavours and I can’t shake the impression of Graham wafers dipped in syrup. As I sip I notice baking spices in the form of vanilla, cinnamon and cloves, some canned fruit more yummy rye grain. When I add some ice to my glass, milk chocolate seems to ooze from the rye.

I like to mix a bar drink or two with each spirit I review. Because North of 7 also makes a very nice dark rum I decide that I should begin with a cocktail called Whoa Nellie that combines rye whisky with dark rum (see recipe below). I discovered this serving a couple years ago and it has become a standard cocktail for me to make whenever I sample a new rye whisky. As I suspected the serving was delicious, as was the Rye Whisky Splash which I enjoyed the next day.

In The Throat 13/15

This is a medium bodied whisky which has a shortened finish featuring flavours of cedar and oak spice melded with butterscotch and maple. Cloves and cinnamon provide a little pop across the tonsils and the spiciness lingers for just a little while on the palate.

The Afterburn 9/10

North of 7 Distillery’s 95% Rye Blended Single Barrel Canadian Whisky is impressive! This is not a well aged whisky, yet it carries a richness and complexity which I would more readily associate with a whisky aged 10 years or more. Only the slightly shortened finish give us a hint that the whisky is much younger. This speaks to the specially toasted barrels which are being used by the distillery to mature their spirit.

If this is what their young whisky tastes like, I hope I live long enough to taste their well aged whisky!

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


Suggested Recipe

The bar drink was put together by Lally Brennan and Ti Adelaide Martin ( In the Land of Cocktails) with the assistance of  of Ted Haigh (Dr. Cocktail) when they were gathered at Lally’s House to celebrate the first Mardi Gras after Hurricane Katrina. The name is apparently an homage to Lally’s and Ti Adelaide’s grandmother, Nellie Valentine.
Whoa Nellie SAM_2399

Whoa Nellie!

1 1/2 oz North of 7 Single Barrel Canadian Whisky (95% Rye)
1/2 oz Leatherback Special Reserve Rum (North of 7 Distillery)
1/2 oz Bols Triple Sec
1/3 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/3 oz Lemon Juice
a few dashes of Angostura Bitters
1/3 oz Sugar Syrup
Grapefruit Twist

Add the ingredients into a metal shaker with plenty of ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a twist of Grapefruit

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

And if  you are interested in more recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for my mixed drink recipes!


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.)

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