This is what happens when the picking gets good! Mass Bourbon Alliance has once again teamed up with Liquor Junction to deliver some of the best whiskey in the world to our great local community here in MA. Found North does their single barrel program a little different than most. They took a blend of some exceptionally aged whiskeys and filled that blend into 18 different finishing casks. We were able to select from a handful of options but ultimately settled on this Calvados finish for its beautiful depth, sweetness and complexity.
Found North describes their process on their website, saying:
Our single barrel program captures the precision inherent in blending Canadian whisky and the magic of selecting and bottling single barrels. We use well-aged whiskies to create an initial blend. We then re-cask that blend into a variety of different barrels, using different oak types and different char levels to create varying flavor profiles and a distinct style for each single barrel.
Our program therefore allows us to be particular about the starting point of our single barrels, while also creating distinctiveness and individuality from barrel to barrel.
They also further describe the base whisky makeup of Season 1 prior to finishing:
We blended and married Season 1 in December, 2021 and re-casked it in January, 2022 into 18 barrels. We used three different whiskies to create a blend optimized for re-casking. We maximized the rye spice and bright fruits, while layering in a viscous foundation.
The younger rye provided a primed canvas with zesty citrus, verdant straw and herbaceous spice. We mixed in the older rye aged in Speyside scotch casks, which developed richer fruit notes of green apple, sugar-coated strawberries and cantaloupe. Lastly, we mixed in an old corn component that saw 13 years of ex-bourbon and a further 8+ years of new American oak. This provided an oily depth to the palate and had a rounding effect on the lively younger rye.
The resulting blend was bright, floral and hefty with lots of room for wood spice, wood sugars and tannin, a perfect starting point for further maturation.
The whole project sounded like a prime example of some amazing whiskey nerds applying themselves wholeheartedly to a passion project. The end result is truly a masterpiece with this Calvados finish and I tip my hat to Zach and Nick Taylor for their exquisite blending skills. It sure makes my job easy! Now let's dive into a review!
Company on Label: Found North Whisky
Whiskey Type: Canadian Rye Whisky
Mash Bill Percentages: 66% Rye, 30% Corn, 4% Barley
Age: 12 years (a blend of 50% 12 year rye, 20% 19 year rye, and 30% 21 year corn whiskies)
Nose: Bright butterscotch and oak upfront. It is so damn buttery on the nose. White, sweet florals dance well. An inherent French characteristic that is hard to pinpoint is woven into the fabric of this delicious whiskey blend. A light lemon squeeze layers in on top of creamy tea with milk. A swirl of the glass releases aromas of an "appletini". Orange peel, plum and juicy apricots are delectable treats on long inhales. Milk chocolate, toffee and rich apple cider donut aromas give this exceptional complexity. I can't find anything I dislike and it's constantly evolving in the glass. The empty glass smells of applejack, pop rocks candy, and silky strawberry syrup.
Palate: My first sip is laced with lovely orange peel zest. Brown sugar, molasses, demerara sugar, Angostura bitters, and deep cherry sweetness coat the tongue. Like the nose I'm transported to France with the elegance of this delicate apricot and cider influence. The finishing barrel has imparted exactly the right amount of flavor while letting the base whiskey still shine. Another sip is silky smooth with bold flavors still getting served up on a silver platter. Honeysuckle, candied orange, and peach flambé combined with the brown sugar, mascarpone and linen undertones make this a yummy, layered dessert pour. Not too sweet, not too savory. Just right. Mmm. My last sip shows off the lovely barrel funk that this pour has picked up in it's extra large surface area barrel. The finish is medium with just the right amount of crushable, sweet deliciousness that will keep you sipping at a dangerous pace if you're not being careful!
Rating: Two Thumbs Way Up*
*Since I was involved with selecting this single barrel, I feel that it would be intellectually dishonest to give it a numerical score at this time. I think you know where it would land though, this stuff is truly drool worthy. It opens up marvelously over time with air as well. My 750 mL sample bottle did not last long. This pick is now available at Liquor Junction for purchase. Get some before it's gone!
In the group page discussions for Mass Bourbon Alliance, I made the following comments which I still stand by today:
This one has truly been a delight. Every glass I've pulled out of this sample bottle has been like liquid gold. I tasted quite a few great things yesterday (including William Larue Weller) and this was the highlight of my day & easily the best tasting dram I had. Yes, I honestly think this pick was higher quality than 2021 WLW.
Hope this review is helpful! Cheers.