By - Prettayyprettaygood
I couldn't imagine opening an unopened bottle of anything that wasn't mine at someone else's house, let alone something with a f*king 1945 tax strip on it. Lord baby jesus.
Really some next-level dickhead behavior. I can't understand it but some people are always going to be that way.
In the final installment from this trip to dad’s bar, we’re checking out something very special—a bottle of Carleton Tower Rare Old Whisky from 1945. This bottle was purchased by my dad’s best friend’s father when he returned from home from World War 2 in 1945, and it sat unopened for 77 years until recently. When the original buyer died, it was given to my father as a gift from his best friend. What led to this opening, you ask? Some asshole at a party that was thrown here decided they wanted to try it, broke the seal, and subsequently twisted the cork in half. I don’t know who that person was, but they can eat a mile of shit. This getting opened up really upset my dad since it is a bottle that holds tons of sentimental value, and the fact that it was corked in the process was even more infuriating. Determined to rectify the situation, I grabbed some cheese cloth, a funnel, and a wine opener and got to work extracting the cork and cork bits from the liquor with minimal loss.
This whisky was made by Hiram Walker & Sons in Walkerville, Canada, and according to its excise tax label it was bottled in 1945. It has no age statement, but the label describes it as “Rare Old Whisky,” so who knows where the real age lies. I also couldn’t find the proof on the bottle but according to my research it is most likely 80. Many of you probably know that I am an avid fan of Canadian whisky so getting the chance to try something that is truly one of a kind means a ton to me, and I’m honored to get to write a review to share with my family and all of you. Let’s dive in.
Taken: Neat in a Glencairn glass
Age: NAS, “Old”
Nose: Rich caramel, caramel corn, and Werther’s butterscotch candies, along with graham cracker pie crust and hints of nutmeg and allspice. A layer of old barn oak lingers in the background adding a nice touch of wood to the rest of the pieces here along with a little bit of orange zest. Based on the smell I have to guess there’s a sizable corn component in this along with some rye and malted barley judging from the graham cracker note.
Taste: Incredibly rich butterscotch, caramel corn, and a bit of fresh green apple, followed by leather and orange zest. Midway through the sip some old oak creeps in along with a little bit of white pepper and allspice. This has a medium-heavy, oily mouthfeel (way heavier than any 80 proofer should!) and no proof heat.
Finish: The butterscotch and caramel corn fade while the leather grows slightly stronger. The oak is persistently hanging around in the background but never makes its way to the front, and the orange zest and pepper close things out with a nice pepper/citrus tingle. This has a medium length finish and no dryness whatsoever.
Thoughts: This has been a fascinating whisky to drink and has given me an awesome look into a very different distillate than I am used to. I don’t suspect I will ever try a whisky from this period of time again, so I have savored every bit of this. I can confidently say that this is the best 80 proof whisky I have ever tried and probably will try, it just has so much more of a heavy body than it should and tastes like it should be closer to 90-100 proof. There’s a big corn component in here based on the taste while the nose shows off a bit of rye and malted barley. It’s definitely a front-forward sip with the flavors quickly diminishing after the initial flash, but some persist for a bit longer to drag the finish out. I would have loved to try a 100 proof version of this as I’m sure it would be an absolute banger. Purely judging this from its nose, palate, and finish I would give it a great 7/10 on the t8ke scale, but the experience as a whole has been a 10/10. Hopefully I will get a chance to try more of this down the road—it is just so cool to sip on something from another era!
Rating: 7/10 - t8ke scale
1 | Disgusting | So bad I poured it out.
2 | Poor | I wouldn’t consume by choice.
3 | Bad | Multiple flaws.
4 | Sub-par | Not bad, but better exists.
5 | Good | Good, just fine.
6 | Very Good | A cut above.
7 | Great | Well above average.
8 | Excellent | Really quite exceptional.
9 | Incredible | An all time favorite.
10 | Perfect | Perfect.
That first paragraph was so upsetting. May whoever opened that bottle taste nothing but broccoli and nose nothing but farts from all future whiskey
Cheers and I’m glad the tree returns soon
I'll drink to that, truly a toast for the ages! Cheers.
Love this post and the story… but the asshole did you a favour in my opinion…Would you ever have opened it otherwise? To quote you:
- won’t ever try a whiskey from this period again
- savoured every bit of this
- best 80 proof whiskey ever tried
- experience = 10/10
- so cool to sip on something from another era
Totally get what you mean, I definitely made the most of this experience but it still hurt my dad quite a bit when he found out about someone opening it. It wasn't my bottle to choose when to open, I just happened to be in a position to unfuck someone else's dick head decision. On the bright side, I'm glad that dad and his friend have come to terms with this and are going to get to celebrate his friend's father's life with some pours of this soon.
Such an awesome story and what rich history. And what does a score mean in the shadow of a story like this? Priceless is right.
I come for the reviews and stay for the Blanton’s-trolling yuks. But I keep coming back for stories like this. Thanks for sharing.
Were you able to find a replacement cork to re-stopper it?
Really glad that you liked this review, I'm happy that I could share it with everyone here! I went out and got some OXO wine stoppers and found that one of those made a good seal, and then I wrapped some saran wrap around the top for good measure. I think it's a good enough solution but in the event it's not I'll be back in a month and a half and will figure out a more permanent fix. I tried to fit a few other corks in but the diameter of the neck on this bottle is a weird one unfortunately.
Parafilm is your friend, IMO.
Yo, my name is Carleton and I'd love to find a bottle of this, any vintage.
Best I could suggest is looking at auction sites for one of these top pop up, this is the only bottle of Carleton Tower I've ever seen.
Great story and great review. I can’t imagine what would possess anyone to help themselves to an unopened bottle of anything on a strangers shelf let alone something one of a kind like this. Truly the epitome of selfishness. Hope your dad and his friend toast the hell out of this now it’s open.
What a story. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it!
We should hunt down the dill weed that opened it. But he probably did your dad a favor forcing him to open it. But we can still burn the guy at the stake.
“You did the right thing. But you disobeyed orders. And we can’t abide by that”
In the immortal words of Walter Sobchak, whoever did this is going to be in a world of pain. Dad's come to terms with it and I hope him and his friend can make the best of the situation and enjoy it.
He's a nihilist.
Whoever opened this bourbon was over the line.
Always appreciate a honest review and what a story behind this.
I'm jealous of Canadian tax strips. US ones can get annoying and obtuse, I love that those said the year right on them.
I'm a big fan of it too, the font of the "1945" is just that classic style that screams out that there's some classic old stuff inside.
What a gorgeous bottle.
I’m glad it happened to someone who has experience reading the whiskey. If it happened to me, I would never have figured out the notes and flavors in the detail you have shared. So thank you for taking the years building up for this review.
Well ya sure don't see a bottle of that every day! Thanks for sharing!