Pike Creek 10 year old Canadian whisky from Corby distillery.

Pike Creek 10 year old 40% alc/vol

March 7, 2013

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Spicy dark fruit, poached pears, gingery spice, and clean oak. Like a nutty fruit bar with cleansing bitter grapefruit pith on the finish. Treads softly into single malt territory. ★★★★★

Late in the 1990s, Corby Distillers did something bold. Having recently taken over management of North America’s largest distillery, the Hiram Walker plant in Windsor, Ontario, Corby’s began to work on developing some new, high-end Canadian whiskies.

The result was the short-lived and sadly missed Canadian Whisky Guild. Three whiskies comprised the guild: a soft Canadian blend called Gooderham and Worts, the all-rye-grain Lot No. 40, and a fruity, port-finished ten year old called Pike Creek.

Connoisseurs soon found Lot No. 40 and their enthusiasm turned it into a legend. Meanwhile, both Pike Creek and Gooderham and Worts kind of got lost in the shuffle. Canadians just weren’t ready for such richly flavourful premium whiskies. Just a few years after it was introduced, the Canadian Whisky Guild was discontinued. Sales simply had not met expectations.

But in the autumn of 2012, they are trying again. The team at Corby’s has resurrected the recipes and the packaging for two of the three Whisky Guild members. Lot No. 40 has made a grand re-entry and right behind it comes Pike Creek, a soft and richly fruity delicacy, hand crafted by Master Blender Don Livermore and his team at the Hiram Walker plant.

Drinks giant, Pernod Ricard may own Corby’s but rather than stifle innovation, as so many large bureaucracies are wont to do, Pernod has encouraged Corby’s to manage its portfolio of Canadian whiskies as Canadian distillers would. The result has been one innovative product after another.

Pike Creek is a rarity among Canadian whiskies. Double distilled in small copper column stills (beer stills – low abv) the spirit is matured in first-use white oak bourbon barrels then finished in vintage port pipes. These port barrels imbue Pike Creek with undertones of fruitiness not unlike single malt scotch aged in port or sherry wood. The finished whisky is vaguely reminiscent of Forty Creek’s Portwood Reserve or Canadian Club Sherry Cask, but only vaguely for it is a genuine small-batch classic in its own right. A whisky that should be in every aficionado’s cabinet.

The name Pike Creek comes from the Windsor, Ontario suburb where the Hiram Walker warehouses are located. With no electricity in the individual warehouse where Pike Creek matures, the oft-erratic Canadian climate strongly influences the maturation of the whisky. Dramatic swings in temperature maximize the interaction of the whisky and the wood as the barrels contract during the cold winter months and expand during the summer. The result is a Canadian expression of single grain craftsmanship with a balanced and elegant taste.

Nose: Mild fresh red fruit  with overtones of dark fruit and spice, soft, baked nut loaf. Creamy and mouth-filling.

Palate: Sweet fruit, hints of toffee, lovely rising spiciness, ginger, pepper, tingling clean oak, and hints of pith. The whisky fairly glows on the tongue, and the fruitiness remains as peppery heat builds on the sides of the tongue,

Finish: Long glowing finish with dashes of cleansing citrus pith,

Empty Glass: Slightly sour fruit and the vaguest aromas of clean dry oak.

Limited supplies for $39.90 at LCBO.

Very Highly Recommended. ★★★★★

Pike Creek Export Edition is reviewed here.


Comments

21 Responses to “Pike Creek 10 year old 40% alc/vol”

  1. I have a bottle of the original Pike Creek. this is a newly distilled and bottle version right?

    • Davin:

      Yes, this is a new batch.

  2. CBrown:

    Also available in B.C.for the same price. Looking forward to trying it.

  3. James:

    Got a bottle last night. Drinking it right now. Love it! It’s very unique. There is a definite fruity, toffee aroma. Love the oak port barrel character. Simply fantastic.

  4. Brian:

    Any word on what the grain content of this guy is? Rye? Corn? I’m looking forward to trying it either way, but am curious.

  5. Sonja:

    Does anyone know if this whiskey is also available online? For an order to Austria?

    • Davin:

      Sorry, on-line sales are not permitted in Canada.

      • Sonja:

        Ok, thanks for answer. Too bad :o (

  6. Got my bottle and one of LOT 40 also.

    Would be interesting to have a side by side tasting with both Forty Creek Port and Pike Creek 10yo !

    • Jamie Betteridge:

      I have done this side by side actually. In fact I just did it yesterday with a few other family members as well. Two out of three preferred the FC PortWood 2012 and the third preferred the Pike Creek.

      I personally really enjoy both, It’s hard to choose which is better, I do have to say that the Pike Creek seems to have a bit more distinctive flavor then the Port Wood but I find the PortWood a slight bit more smooth.

      For Reference I usually sip mine with just a dash of cool water added.

  7. [...] Ricard is tapping into the rising interest in Canadian whisky and plans to release its Pike Creek expression in key states across the U.S. later next month. In the press release, Pernod Ricard [...]

  8. [...] Pike Creek 10 Year Old (Canada only) is reviewed here. [...]

  9. Adam Acuo:

    This is available at the LCBO in Ontario? I popped into the store in First Canadian Place and they said that they hadn’t heard of it.

  10. Jeff:

    This was my favourite late night treat in the early 2000′s, then it just disappeared. I couldn’t be happier that its back. Loved it then, love it now. It’s right up there Wiser’s oldest and gibson’s rarest.

  11. Mike Ruch:

    I have been favor to the Glenlivet 15 year old scotch. This Pike Creek by far surpasses the flavor of that $50+ scotch. I hope you never stop making this excellent whisky..

  12. Robert99:

    I had a dram of this Pike Creek after one of Gibson’s finest and rare 18yo, and I was surprise to find the finish of the softer Gibson’s longer than the one from the Pike Creek. They are both excellent, it is just a fun remark and a reminder that long finish don’t always have to do with bolder taste. The Pike Creek on his own is a reminder that boldness doesn’t have to go with high ABV. The nose is vibrant like cask strenght! As for the finish of the Pike, I got a little note of lavender at the end that is coming out of the blue… Interesting…

  13. Ron Walker:

    Pike Creek is exceptional. The taste is full bodied. Not whimsy. It’s really goid

  14. Balis65:

    I have been a whisky aficionado ever since I’ve been of drinking age (18 here in Quebec)… or even a little earlier ;-) That would be 30+ years ago. I started with Canadian Club and Crown Royal from my Dad’s bar and then had a taste of Chivas: wow! I could no longer drink the “ryes”: somehow, they suddenly were bland and tastless. I quickly evolved to single malt scotches. Macallan was my favorite for a long time until it started declining. I got into peated Islay’s in the 1990s and have generally preferred these since then: Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Laphroaig. I also like others such as Talisker, Benriach 12 y-o sherry cask, Aberlour A’Bunadh and Bunnahabhain.

    The sad thing is in the last 10 years, the price point of scotch whiskies is beyond reason and fair value. This, combined with the new wave of Canadian and American whiskies has prompted me to renew my interest in north American products. The problem is I’m not sure where to start. I bought a bottle of Baker’s 7 bourbon and Pike Creek 10 y-o Canadian whisky (is it rye?… no indication on the bottle). Well, low and behold, the Baker’s is palatable but not great and the Pike Creek is well… I’ll just say not living up to my expectations (where’s the nose?). Both carry this mouth feel some people call “buttery”. I call it “margarine” and it is something in their taste profile I really don’t like. I would imagine this comes from the grain or the yeast fermentation, but it is something my taste buds have difficulty with. I never found that flavor in a single malt.

    Now, I really want to like Canadian whisky, perhaps, for reasons of national pride more than money, but I want to make sure I find a whisky that will better suit my flavor preferences. The problem I find with the Canadian products is they don’t describe what enters into their composition. Perhaps I would like a malted rye if I could find one? Are there malts (single or not) in the Canadian whisky families or is everything blended with grain? Any recommendations on what I should be looking for? I really would like to make my next bottle of Canadian whisky a success.

    • Davin:

      There is such a wide variety of Canadian whiskies. Almost all are single distillery whiskies. Grain whisky is Scottish terminology that doesn’t really translate well for Canadian whisky. Your best bet is to avoid the cheaper ones Generally the more you pay the more robust the flavour. Enjoy the journey!

  15. Steve:

    Great tasting rye with the sweetness of a bourbon. Reasonably priced compared to a high end bourbon or single malt. Beauty eh!!


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