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

17 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…


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