Pike Creek 21yo Speyside Finish 45%

September 1, 2017


Fruity sweet with suggestions of tobacco, a long soft peppery glow, hints of malt and lovely dried fruit notes. Very soft and buttery, mouth warming and creamy on the palate. ★★★★★

Pike Creek 21 Year Speyside Malt Cask Finish – in the age of 140-character tweets, just the name uses 44 and this very special whisky earns every one of them.

A blend of corn base whisky and less than 5% rye, Pike Creek is a Canadian whisky that draws some of its character from the previous contents of used oak barrels.

An early edition, now discontinued, employed Port barrel finishing, creating a remarkably balanced, fruity, easy sipper. The core version now, is finished in rum barrels giving it a bit more punch and more complexity. (The rye content has also been boosted a bit.)

So, finishing is important for Pike Creek and for this special 21-year-old, Master Blender, Dr. Don Livermore turned to re-fill bourbon barrels that had first been used to mature an unnamed Scotch malt whisky for Chivas Brothers in Scotland.

As part of the 2017 Rare Releases range of the Northern Border Collection, Pike Creek 21 year old does its job well, taking the whisky in a new direction without losing the underlying Pike Creek house style.

Twenty-one years in used Canadian whisky barrels, stored in warehouses with probably the broadest temperature ranges in North America, created an environment that maximized oxidation and angels’ share.

Given enough time – and 21 years is plenty – oxidation transforms ethanol into the glorious range of high esters tasted here. And with nearly 3% annual loss due to evaporation, large volumes of oxygen seeped in. From 42 barrels that the whisky started out in, just enough remained to fill 24 Speyside malt barrels for finishing.

Livermore’s shorthand for the fruity tones is green apples, and those tones are abundantly present here. As expected for Pike Creek, the whisky has a sweet aroma with clean old barn boards, and from the Scotch-barrel finishing, very subtle remnants of peat smoke. (Don’t try too hard if these don’t pop out at you.) There is a fruity sweetness and a glowing spiciness throughout, with dry grain, malted barley, crisp clean wood, mild dark fruits and a round buttery mouthfeel. Finishes on peppery fruit and old lumber.

★★★★★ Very highly recommended.

$89.95 at LCBO. Price subject to verification when it is released in October 2017.


6 Responses to “Pike Creek 21yo Speyside Finish 45%”

  1. Toronto Tim:

    Best source of Canadian whisky news: can’t wait to get my hands on a bottle. Price a bit steep compared to other 21 yo CAD whsikies (Danfield’s, COllingwood, Higwood’s…)

  2. [...] Pike Creek 21 Year Old is a unique offering in the Canadian whisky category where it is finished in a Speyside Malt cask. This rare release demonstrates how whiskies from Scotland and Canada can complement one another to give a smooth and round sipping whisky. 750ml bottle priced at $89.95. [...]

  3. toronto tim:

    Too pricey, weakest member of the Northern Border Collection, imo.

  4. I think this one is too high for value…Great price for 21 year—But this one doesn’t feel like vintage—More like a cousin who was in the barrel for a long time—Too Cloying– balanced to the point of being boring!… The years sound impressive—But this offering of the Northern Border collection falls into mediocrity of — smooth — without notoriety!

  5. neandrewthal:

    Tempting to go 4 for 4 but I think this might be the only one I’ll leave on the shelf. For one because it’s expensive and two, I’m the least enthusiastic about the existing expressions of Pike Creek compared to the other 3 brands. None of that would matter if this one was getting particularly ravey reviews, but it isn’t.

  6. Tim:

    It looks like of the commenters I’m the only one who’s actually tried it outside of the author of this article!
    . It is outstanding! it is one of the best whiskeys I’ve ever tasted. Well done Dr. Livermore well done Pike Creek!

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