Time for another Canadian whisky…
Not so long ago, I became an immediate fan of Corby Distillers’ Lot 40, so I was more than happy to pick up a bottle of Pike Creek, another offering in their premium lineup, which I believe also includes the Gooderham & Worts brand. Pike Creek recently was switched to a rum cask finish but, since I never had the pleasure of sampling the original port-finished version, a comparison is impossible for me. Carrying a 10 year age statement, it’s nice to see a well-aged Canadian whisky. This bottle cost me about $45 CDN and is bottled at 42.5% abv.
To the Eye
Quite a deep orangey-brown… Kind of makes me suspicious of a artificial colouring agent. My customary tilt and swirl of the glass results in a “sheeting effect” where moderate legs might quickly and fleetingly form, but it actually looks more like an oily sheen builds then immediately disappears, leaving only a few lonely droplets behind. Weird!
In the Nose
Lots of caramel and vanilla. Brown sugar, I suppose, which makes sense due to the use of rum casks. There is a bit of savoury, buttery popcorn too but not a whole lot else.
On the Tongue
What immediately stands out is the soft, oily mouthfeel of this whisky. I wish it was the flavour that made the first impression but it’s not to say that this is a bland dram. I am stunned by how strong the rum influence comes across in this whisky, as the dominant flavours all remind me of molasses, brown sugar and, well, rum! In the background, I seem to find some rye spice, but not the floral, fruity flavour of malted rye, rather it is more of the dry, dusty character of rye-grain whisky. There is also a nutty, walnut-pith bitterness on the end that precedes a short finish that re-establishes the notion of rum, as well as an acrid, metallic sensation that I believe confirms my suspicion of E150 being used to colour this whisky.
I’m confused about how I feel about this dram. I find it exceedingly smooth…but that’s not necessarily a desireable characteristic for me, these days. In the end, I once again decide that I still like whisky and I still feel mostly indifferent toward rum. I have yet to taste a rum-finished whisky that I thoroughly enjoy, and that includes this one. It’s certainly drinkable and, if mixed cocktails, I’m sure I could find a good pairing for these bitter, rummy flavours. But I don’t often mix cocktails, so I have to be honest and rate this dram as “just alright”.