Named after the iconic Scottish loch it sits next to, Loch Lomond arose over two hundred years ago in 1814. Sadly closed in the mists of history, the distillery was resurrected again in 1964 before going quiet again twenty years later. Ever resilient, though, production began again in 1993 and has continued ever since under the helm of Master Distiller John Peterson and Master Blender Michael Henry. Loch Lomond is unique in that it regularly produces single malt, single grain and blended whiskies due to having three sets of stills. The distillery also has their own cooperage on site, one of four distilleries in Scotland to do so. About 10,000 barrels are repaired or re-charred there each year. A recent push has seen their offerings expand into new markets, especially their single malts like this 12 year offering.
Pike Creek is a relatively newer Canadian spirit that first saw light of day several years ago when the spirit was finished in Port casks and released by Corby Distillers along with Lot 40. After a couple of years, reportedly due to sourcing issues, the Port casks were replaced with rum barrels. This attention to finishing is in part due to their master blender, Dr. Don Livermore, whose PhD is appropriately enough in wood science. This focus on the wood gives the distillery another element to make their whisky stand out. Pike Creek has been labeled by some reviewers as a “high-end” whisky, and maybe that is true when compared to regular Canadian blends, but we sure hope this attention to details becomes the new normal.
J. P. Wiser was a Canadian businessman in the late 1800s who went about building a spirits company centered around whisky. A lot of the mythology around Wiser involves the dedication to the craft of making whisky, specifically that the time it takes to mature is more than worth it. Wiser’s company has been bought and sold a few times since he founded it and the brand is now part of the Hiram Walker portfolio, which in turn is part of the Pernod Ricard conglomerate. As with many, though not all, Canadian whiskies, any information about the blend or maturation is very difficult to come by.