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.
Sometimes the Scotch Gods smile upon you. After first encountering this whisky at a Merlin’s Rest tasting in 2014, it quickly sold out in the state and we didn’t think we’d ever encounter it again. Therefore, it was quite a pleasant surprise when we stumbled upon it while driving to Madison, Wisconsin to retrieve another hard-to-find dram, the Glen Breton Rare 10 year. When presented with such an opportunity, the last thing you do is not seize upon it. Glenmorangie’s Private Edition series are yearly releases, with the Companta spirit matured in 60% Burgundy wine casks from Clos de Tart and 40% Rasteau casks from the Côtes du Rhône region of France. As with others in this range, like the 2013 Elanta, the Companta has also won multiple whisky awards.
Westland Distillery is one of the new distilleries popping up throughout the U.S. over the last decade or so, drawing to mind the rise of craft brewing in the preceding decades. Taking a cue from the beer and coffee cultures of the Pacific Northwest, Westland uses five different malts (Washington pale ale malt, Munich malt, extra special malt, pale chocolate malt and a brown malt) along with Belgian brewer’s yeast. They are very clear in that they are trying to make a whiskey true to the region from which they come, including moving towards sourcing all their ingredients locally in the near future. These are very new whiskies, only being on the market since 2013, so we’ll be very interested to follow Westland’s growth.