Nose: A bit malty, a bit grainy, with good balance between sharpness and softness. Rye, orange oil, cinnamon, caramel, lemon tart, honey, ginger, dill, apple cider, and faint oak.
Palate: I like this thick, silky mouthfeel. Pencil shavings, vanilla, cream, maple wood, rye, banana, and charcoal.
Finish: Long and dry, with what we scholars refer to as a shit-ton of spices. Woodspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, black peppercorn, mustard seed, ginger, anise, and faint cumin. We quickly move in to molasses, maple, charcoal, grain, rye, pencil shavings, menthol, oak, banana, and unsweetened orange juice.
Thoughts: This is quite different from Lot No. 40, which is admittedly simpler. By contrast this is a broader, heavier, more layered, and more sophisticated. For that reason I can appreciate why it’s the poster child for Canadian quality, although I actually prefer the Lot 40. I find it more balanced and charismatic.
The pros easily outweigh the cons here. For starters, the spices are intense, vivid, and relentless. A lot of sharp flavours to explore, most of which don’t stem from the rye (Lot No. 40 being the rye content). Maybe not an every-mood whisky, but this can and will give you a swift kick in the ass in the most delightful way possible. Another pro is the smooth sweetness and gentle texture which help to calm all that oak and spice; no doubt the work of a quality corn whisky.
HOWEVER, as mentioned above I don’t find this to be a consistently balanced whisky. The component parts are all absolutely lovely, and the final result is mostly a harmonious culmination of those parts, but not always. At times I find it to be over-oaked, and at times I find it generally uncoordinated. Usually there's no problem, but it's a minor shortcoming that I notice on occasion
Still it’s a fine ambassador for our particular style of distillation and production, and an excellent example of the direction Canadian whisky can and should take. So yeah... good stuff. Try it!