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Issue 150 - Beneath the Underdog

Whisky Magazine Issue 150
April 2018


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Beneath the Underdog

Our chaps chart the rise and fall of this iconic whisky

It was baseballís opening day 1901, bottom of the 9th inning. The visiting Milwaukee Brewers held a commanding 13 to 4 lead over the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers finally bared their claws, scoring ten runs in the greatest rally in major league baseball history.

Detroit is no stranger to comebacks. By 1925, a burgeoning automotive industry had turned Detroit into "The Motor City" and across the river, the Hiram Walker Distillery was making a whisky steeped in history. There, 100 per cent rye grain was fermented, then distilled in a short column still, then again in a copper pot. Nothing foretold that this flavourful blending whisky would one day be released as Lot No.40. But the juice had already made Hiram Walkerís whiskies coveted.

By 1950, automobiles had made Detroit the fourth largest city in the United States until a slow decline began in 1958 when the Packard Motor Car company closed shop. When a 1973 gasoline crisis opened the American market to fuel-efficient foreign cars, slowly, the surviving automakers began to fall. On July 8, 2013, The Motor City finally sputtered to a stop, filing the largest municipal bankruptcy in history.

Lot No. 40 burst on the whisky scene in 1998, as part of the Canadian Whisky Guild, three whiskies made by master distiller Mike Booth and his team at Hiram Walker. Booth traced Lot 40ís heritage back to Joshua Booth, his sixth-generation grandfather. A United Empire Loyalist, Joshua fought for the British during the American Revol...

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