This week I’ll release two reviews from Found North, the first being this review of their Cask Strength Whisky (Batch 04) and later in the week their Cask Strength Rye (Batch 03). Found North is a brand launched amidst the global pandemic by a pair of brothers who wanted to bring Canadian distillate to the American market, but with a focus on targeting bourbon drinkers specifically. Let’s check it out.
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Below is a video interview Jay and I did with Founder Nick Taylor. Nick’s candor and transparency are refreshing, and something that’s not super common these days.
Found North is a brand that really seems to drive to find flavor, to find it by carving their own path. From taking ultra-aged distillates from Canada that have been aged (or finished) in casks from around the world, and blending them in unique way, to skipping chill filtration and bottling at barrel proof, there is no mistaking the fact that these guys are aiming for the enthusiasts.
Batch 004 was built around a 21 year corn component with lovely caramel, butterscotch and vanilla notes and a highly viscous and naturally sweet 25 year corn component aged in Hungarian oak that was dripping in molasses. We balanced the viscosity with spice and fruit from a combination of two different style ryes, both aged for 18 years. The first was aged in ex-Speyside scotch casks providing bright, fresh fruit. The second was aged in rechar American oak, which cut the viscosity in the mid palate with a distinct tingling cardamom and ginger quality. The spice from the rye teases out the concentrated burnt sugar quality of the 25-year-old casks.
Found North Whisky
As an unabashed fan of Canadian rye whiskey that is brought to the market without coloring, flavoring, or additives, I have to admit I was pretty excited to see what the Taylor brothers put together in their offerings. Something interesting to me is the information provided on the label.
Each bottle lists the grain percentages per recipe, which may seem like a declaration of mashbill to the American whiskey enthusiast–but that’s where you would be wrong! They are listing their blend on the bottle, so these are liquid percentages per distillate.
Still a bit confused? Check it out: Found North is utilizing distillates that are each made of 100% single grains–meaning Batch 04 of their Cask Strength Whisky (which lists 80% Corn | 19% Rye | 1% Malt) is comprised of 80% corn whisky that was distilled from 100% corn, 19% rye whiskey that was distilled from 100% rye, and 1% of the liquid in the blend is made from 100% Malt. It’s wordy, and make take a few reads (or a few views of the video above) to totally sink in, but I find it fascinating.
That concludes the crash course in Found North’s products. Now it’s time to pour and analyze the Cask Strength Whisky (Batch 04). Batch info below:
2,746 Bottle Outrun
18-25 Year Old Whiskies
62.4% ABV | 124.8 Proof
80% Corn | 19% Rye | 1% Malted Barley
Nose – Toasted oak and salted caramel. There’s a great vanilla layer that kinda plays with a baking spice reminding me of a snickerdoodle or some kind of holiday treat. Icing on top of rich oaky sweetness that works nicely.
Taste – A viscosity I can appreciate along with a rich cornbread vibe. There’s a nice bit of rye that kinda jumps out with a balanced sweetness and spice, sort of like a crusty rye toast with a black currant jam…that also has syrup on it.
Finish – Medium finish, and really the only downside to the pour. It hangs on long enough, don’t get me wrong, but this is where the flavors sort of collide and mask each other. Where there is great complexity on the nose, and good layers on the palate, I feel like the finish dries a tad and the spice takes over almost entirely. The maple candy and vanilla notes from the nose and palate fade somewhat quickly for me.
Bourbon Finder Grade: B-
The mouthfeel of this product alone brings in a killer level of luxury to distillate that, quite likely, wouldn’t have seen the light of day without Found North. There is complexity in the blending that speaks to the combined spirits knowledge of the Taylors.
Ultimately, I think the layers of flavor are well above average in their Cask Strength Whisky (Batch 04) and I hope to see more and more releases with their unique methods. I’m not sure if this would be deemed sacrilegious, but I can’t help but wonder what a rosé cask finish would do to these…well that’s a story for another day! Thanks for reading along.
TheBourbonFinder thanks Found North for graciously providing us a sample of their product. Being able to try new things in the whiskey space, without strings attached, is an opportunity we greatly appreciate. Per our review ethos, we provide objective reviews and commentary on media samples of spirits and products; remember, friends, these are the good old days of whiskey!
Our grading system: As mentioned in our About Us page, we’re excited to share bourbon with our friends, family, and readers. There are enough critics, cynics, and curmudgeons in the whiskey world as it is, so our goal is to foster the bourbon community in a positive way by bringing fun and entertaining content whenever possible–as such–we decided that applying precise scores to whiskey was simply too serious for us (and didn’t accurately showcase variability in taste from day to day). We use a simple grade school system to apply a grade to the whiskeys we review because we feel it is indicative of the whiskey’s grade for us on that particular day. A grade of a “B” today may very well be a “B+” or even a “B-” on another day, so rather than focusing on a precise score today that may not stand the test of time, we are just sharing our overall grade of that pour for that one tasting. Pour a bit and enjoy, friends, these are the good old days of whiskey!
I got into bourbon for the flavor and experiences associated with it. As I found more bourbon I enjoyed, the need to dive deeper into the history, brands, and technical side of things converted me into a total bourbon geek.