Century Reserve (Lot 1525) Canadian Rye Whisky
Review: Century Reserve (Lot 1525) Canadian Rye Whisky (92/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on August 28, 2010 (Re-scored October 2016)
Somewhere in the Highwood Distillery barrel aging warehouse is a darkened corner where all of the oak barrels are all stamped “Lot 1525“. This corner contains the oldest whisky in the entire facility, with the age of the whisky inside the barrels ranging from 15 to 25 years. (It has been hinted to me that some of these barrels contain whisky that is perhaps even older!) These whisky barrels were originally part of the consignment of whisky acquired when Highwood purchased the Potter’s Distillery in 2005. As such, these are barrels of whisky produced from a corn-based distillation by the old Potters Distillery, in Kelowna British Colombia. The barrels made the journey to the Highwood facility in 2005 and have been sitting in the darkened corner waiting for the right moment to be tapped and bottled. From this darkened corner, the Master Blender has carefully chosen just the right barrels, and then just as carefully blended the wonderful elixir within to create a blend of whisky which contains the distillery’s most prized aged whisky, the Lot1525 Century Reserve Custom Blend Canadian Rye Whisky.
I was inside the warehouse in February 2010, and I captured a few pictures of the aging barrels stacked four levels high standing row upon row. I remember the wonderful aroma of the ‘angels share’ permeating the facility, offering me a gentle intoxication if only I were to stay a little longer. Wisely, I headed to the door before I was subdued completely. Perhaps, one day I will return and stay just a little longer; but, for now I am content to carry the memory of that heady aroma in my mind.
In the Bottle 4.5/5
The Century Reserve Custom Blend is presented in the distinctly elegant bottle pictured to the right. The beige display box has a small paragraph explaining the heritage of the bottling and serves to pique my interest. To crown the presentation, the clear glass bottle is capped by a straight sided high density cork. I love bringing this bottle out for guests as it always elicits a nice “wow’ factor and sets up the evening for an enjoyable tasting and repartee.
In the Glass 9/10
The spirit shows a light shine on the sides of my glass when I tilt it, and small slender legs which run back down into the whisky. A beautiful amber hue seems to accent a lovely honey and caramel aroma rising from the glass. Wonderful mellow rye notes accompany the honey and the caramel and a light bourbon vanilla seems to drift above the glass in the breezes. The impact of nosing the glass is a well received feeling of luxury, and elegance which is divine.
In the Mouth 55.5/60
Upon entry into my mouth, I taste a clean rye whisky which oozes honey and spice. A nice light corn flavour rests underneath supporting the whisky with a gentle elegance. Like the Centennial rye which I reviewed previously, this is polished, with the hard rye buffed and smoothed into a silky suave flavour experience. Oak spices and marzipan weave in and out of the corn, the rye, and the honey, but in spite of the ages of the whisky in the blend, this never turns awkward or woody nor does the oak swamp the mouth with bitter tannins. I find the balance to be superb! The entire presentation is suave elegance and luxurious smoothness.
The gentle profile of the whisky remains true irregardless of previous taste experiences on my palate. This well aged whisky is a wonder.
In the Throat 14/15
Smooth, clean and luxurious right through to the finish. The faintest touches of honey and bourbon vanilla trail down the throat followed by the gentle burn of rye and oak spice. This is one of the most luxurious, mellow finishes in all of Canadian whisky.
The Afterburn 9/10
I have said before, that Highwood Distillers are one of the best kept secrets of the whisky world. This whisky is perhaps their crowning achievement. It is a grand whisky which revels in smoothness and luxury.
You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
I sipped and sampled my way through most of my bottle without even a thought to mixing a cocktail. This whiskey is just that good. But right at the end I thought I would try a classic New Orleans cocktail, The Sazerac. The original cocktail was based upon Cognac, but a variation based upon rye is very popular. The cocktail was delicious, and so I went to the store, bought another bottle and took a few pictures of the Century Reserve Lot 1525 Whisky and the delicious cocktail.
The Rye Sazerac
2 oz Canadian rye whisky
3/4 tsp sugar
Two dashes bitters (Peychaud’s)
a dash Green Chartreuse
Chill an old-fashioned glass by filling it with ice.
In another glass muddle the sugar and Peychaud’s bitters
Add the Rye Whiskey and stir
Now empty the old-fashioned glass of its ice (It should be well chilled)
Rinse the inside of the chilled old-fashioned glass with Green Chartreuse expelling any excess.
Empty the rye-sugar-bitters mixture into the chilled old-fashioned glass
squeeze the lemon peel over the cocktail
If desired, garnish with the remainder of the lemon peel
Please enjoy in a responsible manner!
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)