Lot No. 40 Rye Whisky

There are many Canadian whiskies that I hold in high regard and, at any time, you’d be likely to find at least 3-4 different bottles in my cupboard. At present, I have the following Canadians available:

  • Wisers Delux – a mixer for any rye-and-coke drinking buddies that might pop over 
  • Forty Creek Barrel Select – a mid-shelf offering that I can unpretentiously share neat alongside highball sippers
  • Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye – a premium bottle that’s for me and anyone else I figure is capable of appreciating its splendour
  • Alberta Premium 30 yr Old – the still unopened pride and joy of my Canadian collection… For now I just use it to show off!

What I have recently realized, however, is that my lineup of Canadian whisky has not seen much turnover for quite some time. It seems that my love of scotch and growing affection for bourbon has been keeping me from branching out and trying different Canadian whiskies. Well, no longer!

Lot No. 40 is a premium Canadian whisky distilled by Corby. It is a 100% rye whisky! distilled from a mixture of rye and malted rye. You can read all kinds of history about the brand, how it was started by Hiram Walker in the 90’s, flopped and was discontinued for many years… But I’ll leave that for you to Google and I’ll just tell you what I think of this dram. 

Lot No. 40 is bottled at 43% abv and cost me a little over $40 CDN. 

To The Eye

Beautiful, deep gold – in some ways, it actually looks more like a scotch than a typical Canadian rye! Thick, stubborn legs cling to my Canadian Glencairn after the usual swirl. 

In the Nose

Wow! This is rye whisky!  There is a beautiful dusty, dry rye sensation that is accompanied by a sourdough rye bread note, but it quickly moves aside for a fruity, floral aroma. There are oak notes, dark syrupy and molasses notes and lots of grainy and herbaceous notes… I get some dill and some caraway seed! But then that floral, perfume-like quality makes a return. There is a lot going on in this glass and I find myself delighted by the bouncing back and forth between the typical rye aromas and those of something entirely more sophisticated and complex!

On the Tongue. 

This dram is thick and rich on the tongue, carrying as many flavours as the nose suggested. Toasty cereals, plums, and a sweet citrus note that reminds me of mandarin oranges. There is a funky, mineal sort of character that adds a lot of interest to this dram, as well as oak tannins, vanilla and a touch of a dry, grassy herbal note. The entire experience is held together by a familiar rye spiciness. 

The finish is extremely long and full of another burst of flavours, including malt, lime zest, tobacco, milk chocolate and that floral, honeyed sweetness. The finish leaves me contemplating whether it’s more mini wheats or wine gums… It’s incredible!

Final Thoughts

How much more would you like me to gush about this whisky? In my opinion, this is the rye against which all other ryes should be measured! At the current price, this dram may be the pound-for-pound champion and another example of the quality to be found in Canadian rye… Go out and buy a bottle right now!

3 thoughts on “Lot No. 40 Rye Whisky”

  1. I’d heard a heap of praise & recommendations for Lot 40.
    When I came across it I was keen to try it out.
    Oh dear!
    Way to sweet for my liking and at one point I thought it tasted more like a bourbon than a rye as I got no dry kick out of it.
    Should have listened to Public Enemy, ‘Don’t believe the hype!’
    Just to reassure myself, I sampled a Knob Creek Rye afterwards.
    The rye here smacks you full in the face & doesn’t let up.
    A very marked difference in the 2 bottles as to what a rye is.

    1. Thanks for the reply! Personal preferences and individual palates are incredible things, I guess. I actually don’t find Lot No. 40 all that sweet but I think I do understand your comparison to bourbon, and I believe this whisky is at least partially aged in ex-bourbon wood. (I will look into that.)

      My all-time favourite rye remains the Alberta Premium 30 Yr, which is an amazing expression of those dusty, dry, spicy qualities that the grain is known for. Recently, I am finding myself drawn to rye whiskies that also offer the fruity, floral side of rye, which I believe results from the use of more malted rye. Two examples I know of this would be CR Northern Harvest and Lot No. 40. Of these – both very good, in my opinion – Lot 40 is the superior dram because it does a better job of maintaining that “classic” rye character alongside this perfume-like quality that I find so interesting.

      Anyway, this is the beauty of whisky and the great thing about spirits blogs – the opportunity to discuss and debate our opinions. Keep drinking, keep writing, and please keep reading and contributing to my posts!


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