I've got a few older Canadian whiskey releases on my mind and I remember them being quite good. I recall a (fairly old) review of Little Book Chapter 2 where I was amazed by some of the flavors coming out of the glass. A perusal of the tag around the neck showed me there was some 13 and 40 year old Canadian in the mix. I was baffled. I think I found an appreciation for older Canadian whisky that day which ultimately led me to the awesome operation that is Found North.
An interesting array of barrels went into this batch. Found North describes the whiskey well here:
Batch 003 is a 5-whisky blend created to accentuate a vibrant, zesty, fruit-forward nose and palate combination rarely seen in rye whisky. The whisky was built around an 18 year old rye aged in ex-tequila barrels with a verdant and floral nose combined with an herbaceous spiciness. We enriched the fruitiness by blending in an additional 18 year rye aged in ex-Speyside scotch casks and a surprisingly delicate 21 year old corn component aged in used American oak. Lastly, we provided a foundation of baking spices and brown sugar using a 17 year rye and a 25 year corn, both aged in Hungarian oak.
I've been into this bottle as well as Batch 002 and Batch 004 as well. I had Batch 001 hidden on some deep shelf, but I pulled it out for consideration today. Ultimately I asked what people wanted to see reviewed (I love taking recommendations or requests so feel free to reach out) and this Batch 003 came out ahead. Let's see how it tastes!
Company on Label: Found North Whisky
Whiskey Type: Canadian Rye Whisky
Mash Bill Percentages: 64% Rye, 32% Corn, 4% Barley (built loosely from the listed proportions of 100% single grain whiskies)
Age: 17 years
Further identification: Batch 003, Bottle 0768; there is a NCF statement for this and it is bottled in Dover, NH
Nose: Mm, up front I find a soft coffee bean aroma and an oily pot-still vanilla. There's a lush creaminess as fried apple rings and ripe apricot jumps out of the glass. A deeper dive of the nose reveals lemon and pepper entwined. The oak characteristic is bright and lively despite its 17 years of resting dead; I don't find too much of it at all. Resinous bergamot shuffles through the glass at a whimsical pace. Overall the nose is very bright and airy; it reminds me of an early Summer day where the temperature never quite rose to warm. With a swirl of the glass I find the coffee bean aroma from the start of the glass now laced with a confectioner's special tiramisu. I seem to have angered something darker and heavier in the glass which swings a mace of black pepper and soft clove towards my face. Let's have a sip.
Wow, the nose has remained delicious here with chocolate, rye bread, and butter undulating softly. Bright, sweet florals build up in moments of letting the glass rest which are few in my explorative endeavor here today. It settles into an orange blossom honey profile that I enjoy thoroughly. The aromas near the bottom of the glass open up with a trove of dust that is begging my nose to sneeze. The empty glass smells of lemon drop candy and soft, earthy bread.
Palate: Wow - this came across lovely from the get go with lemon, dried apricot and a thick mouthfeel of buttercream frosting. Another sip reveals a delectable cherry citrus scone. The whiskey has remained incredibly light and refreshing despite the many years asleep in the wood. I find soft floral tones underneath everything - almost as if the bigger flavors are resting on the top of a bed of clouds. I find a lovely hint of the oily, viscous mouth feel that typically comes off of pot stills (think a creamy Midleton Irish Whiskey here). A larger sip and swish builds in great fruit to that creamy shortbread cookie base. I find fig alongside rose and strawberry flowers amongst biscuits. There's a lovely beginning of a sweet gum tingle as I near the bottom of the glass I wasn't experiencing before; I get the cooling presence of mint without any of that particular flavor. There's just a hint of sweet bubblegum hiding out if you really look for it. My last sip is a creamy treat as the rest of the glass was. I'm left with a undulating farewell of lemongrass, soft tea, and sweet peach.
This is a great Summer sipper. The sweet flavors and aromas do well at any temperature, but the tingling cool feeling it leaves in the mouth are what make it exceptional for me today. To keep myself honest that the price tag didn't artificially inflate my expectations of the bottle output, I tried a small sip of one of my other favorite whiskeys of all time for comparison... and this bottle surpassed even that. This is great stuff. I was a bit less enthused (though it was still quite exceptional) by their Batch 002 cask strength whisky but this is a great vote of confidence that Nick & Zach Taylor really know what they're doing with these blends. I'm looking forward to exploring more from Found North soon!