Review: Hiram Walker Special Old Rye Whisky

A picture from Corby’s Website

I know very little about this whisky, other than that it is distilled at Hiram Walker as part of Corby’s portfolio. However, it is a fantastic whisky and is one of those fabulous value picks that always hides on the shelves, garnering less attention than it deserves.

I should note that a recent re-review of this product, as well as my impressions over a number of different bottles, has dropped this score a little from my initial review.

Nose: It’s bold. Rye dominates, with flavours of light rye bread and lots of spice – clear cut cinnamon and a bit of clove. There’s a touch of fruitiness – apples and a touch of orange which seems to lend itself to some slight acidity. There’s some toasted oak as well, and  I also get some hints of cola and toffee as well. The nose develops, and opens up, and sure enough bourbon and oak notes start to appear. A slight sour bitterness comes in too, which is interesting, but not really an element which I think helps with the nose. The spices are wonderful, I have to say, and it is a brilliant development as it sits. 26/30 (87%)

Taste: This one goes down easy! It’s quite a fascinating mix – it’s a bit sour, with lots of spices but not much heat in the mouth, and then some nice oak and brilliant spices to finish off the taste. It has very nice balance and a perfect amount of sweetness for easy sipping. There’s also some dry and grassy rye in there, carried by some caramel. It has some rye bread notes as well, but light rye rather than dark rye. There’s some great oaky vanilla as well, with some bourbon notes, and I notice them more as I sip more. 26.5/30 (88%)

Finish: Slightly drying finish, with some caramel, a touch of slightly bitter oak (but not too much), a touch of apple, some dark chocolate, some light rye, and then waves and waves of cinnamon and pepper. The tannins pucker up the mouth a bit, which is something I always enjoy in a finish. The cinnamon and spice are brilliant, and the finish is quite long. 16.5/20 (83%)

Conclusion: I really like the way the spice is incorporated and its bold character. And the price – so cheap! It’s sad, but perhaps true, that this whisky might be more well known if it were better packaged and cost more. 17/20 (85%)

Overall: 86/100



3 thoughts on “Review: Hiram Walker Special Old Rye Whisky

  1. Pingback: My Top 10 Budget Canadian Whiskies (Sept. 2014) | Whisky Won

  2. Pingback: My Top 15 “Mid-Range” Canadian Whiskies (Sept. 2014) | Whisky Won

  3. Pingback: Hiram Walker Special Old Rye – Selfbuilt's Whisky Analysis

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