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North of the border

The 2018 Northern Border Collection Rare Release
By Rob Allanson
The Northern Border Collection Rare Release is back for its sophomore year. Dr Don Livermore had the luxury of digging deeper into Hiram Walker’s 1.6 million barrels to carefully hand pick casks that give this year’s limited
release straight A’s.

J.P. Wiser’s 35-Year-Old (50%)

Last year’s 35-Year-Old won whisky of the year at the Canadian Whisky Awards. This version looks to repeat the title. Livermore’s predecessors laid down an immense volume of whisky, putting him in a luxurious position to bring some of North America’s oldest whiskies to life. A new 35-Year-Old bond represents the collection’s ultra aged expression in a squared off bottle that honours its award-winning title.

Pike Creek 21 Year Old Finished in European Oak (45%)

Pike Creek maintains its 21-year-old age statement, but expands on last year’s cask concept. This whisky is made from a double-distilled spirit aged in three types of casks: American oak, Hungarian oak and French oak. Wood is the reason why Don Livermore is a doctor. He broke down what each barrel type brings to the table including whittling down the percentage of lignin-derived vanillin from each cask type. (French oak is loaded with it.)

The blend comprises 50 per cent American oak, 25 per cent French oak and 25 per cent Hungarian oak.

Lot No. 40 Cask Strength 11 Year (58.4%)

LL Cool J had a hit with his song Mama Said Knock You Out. Well, here is the Mama of Canadian Whisky. Dr Don Livermore hand selected a 11-year-old bond for this wildly popular cask strength whisky. It’s bottled with a copper label with two intentions. The first represents the whisky’s birthplace, Hiram Walker’s workhorse copper pot still. The second is to prevent the succulent rye spices from causing the bottle to bulge.

Gooderham and Worts Eleven Souls (49%)

William Gooderham was reputed for his generosity and heart of gold. He operated a distillery while raising eleven orphans in his home.

This whisky is a tribute to that story. Livermore exhibits his blending chops by composing a blend based on eleven different casks of whisky – one for each child. The blend uses various distillation types from grains that include rye, Brasetto rye, rye malt, barley malt, barley, red winter wheat and double-distilled base corn whisky. These grain whiskies were aged in white oak, ex-bourbon or Canadian whisky casks before blending.

The Rare Release collection will be available in October in select retailers within Canada, the United States and Europe. Suggested retail prices and allocation numbers were not available at the time of print.