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.
Younger than some of the more famous Scottish distilleries, Knockdhu was founded in 1893 by John Morrison in Banffshire. The location was chosen not only for access to water and grain sources, but due to proximity to rail lines in the region. Production lasted for the most part continuously for almost a century, before it closed and sold to Inver House. Production began again in 1989 and continues unabated. Annual production is on the smaller side, around 1.9 million liters (18% of The Glenlivet’s annual output). The whisky is named anCnoc (gaelic for “the hill”) to differentiate it from Knockando, with a core range of 12, 16 and 30 year malts, along with a NAS peated range.