Monday, November 17, 2014

Pike Creek Whisky: Then and Now

Like Lot 40, one of my favorite new whiskies from last year, Pike Creek is a Canadian Whisky distilled at Hiram Walker and bottled by Corby Distillers.  As with Lot 40, the brand was reintroduced last year after more than a decade long absence. It's a non age statement whisky finished in port casks.  I'll also try a sample of its earlier incarnation from the 1990s.

Pike Creek Whisky, Current Bottling, 40% ($30)

The nose is mostly antiseptic.  The palate is slightly sweet and medicinal with a touch of spice and wood before devolving into pure alcohol notes with a kiss of malt.  The finish has a mild sweetness but is dominated by bitterness and alcohol notes on the palate.  Between the heavy medicinal and bitter notes, this stuff is pretty horrible.  

Pike Creek Whisky, 1990s, 40%

The nose on this is quite a contrast to the new version.  It's mild and lightly fruity like a Sauvignon Blanc. The palate is very light but has rye spice, wood and some medicinal notes, trailing off with some beer like notes, like a light lager.  The finish has some rye on the nose and medicinal notes on the palate.  This one's okay.

The difference between these whiskies is surprisingly stark. While the '90s version isn't great, it's fine to drink, whereas the current version is not something I would want to drink.  Whatever they did to it, they should undo it.     


Andrew said...

Here in Canada, Pike Creek is sold with a 10 year age statement, and while not amazing, is certainly much better than what it sounds like we're shipping to you

James said...

I actually tried some in Canada and it actually wasn't...terrible.

And I know talking about food is probably sacrilege here, but if I'm not mistaken, you enjoy epoisses. Costco (in Norcal) currently has it and considering its price point ($15 for a half pound), it's pretty good.

Justin Victor said...

Sku, any idea what makes this so horrible? Is it bad port pipes? Bad combination of mediocre whiskey and poorly chosen casks?

I am not generally a fan of port finished whiskey. I have seen the pikes creek and thought about grabbing one. Thinking now that I will continue to ignore it.

sku said...

It's hard to say for sure, but I think it's the underlying whisky. I'm not a huge fan of port finishing, but usually it gives an overly sweet and perfumed finish. This didn't have that; it was just bad.

Andrew said...

I certainly can't confirm this, but I can't help but feel all the whisky rejected for the 10yo Canadian bottling is packaged as NAS and shipped to America to extract some value out of what might normally be accepted waste.

Once again, the 10yo stuff up here is Canada isn't mind-blowing, but seems to be rated in the low to mid 80s by most people, well above what you seem to be getting.

Carlton said...

I suffered through most of a bottle of Pike Creek before I poured out the remainder. I would rate it as the worst whiskey I have tasted in several years, and this is coming from someone who enjoys Canadian whiskeys.