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After Group B of our Battle of the (Budget) Blended Scotch Whiskies, where Forty Creek's Copper Pot Reserve made an accidental appearance, I decided that I should pick up a bottle. Conveniently, at the same time, the LCBO was running a 'Value-Added' promotion, so in purchasing the bottle of Copper Pot Reserve, I also got a 50ml miniature of Forty Creek's Double Barrel Reserve (sorry, no picture of the mini or one of the glasses...our camera was out of batteries), which was the Special Release for 2009, but which later became part of Forty Creek's regular stable of products.
Of course, I've had issues with plastic miniatures in the past, and so I kept my fingers crossed for this one, since, to be completely honest, I've never been overly impressed with Forty Creek's standard bottling, the Barrel Select, and was worried that, despite my favourable reaction to the Copper Pot Reserve, I'd be disappointed in the Double Barrel Reserve. So, with great trepidation, I cracked open the sealed cap and poured one-third of the bottle (Lot 240, Distiller #54SL46) into each of three glasses: a NEAT, a Glencairn 'Canadian', and one of my newly acquired 'official' Glencairn whisky tasting glasses.
Once the glasses were ready, I swirled each of them, covered them with coasters, and let them sit for a bit. Then I nosed from each, took small sips, nosed again, took slightly larger sips, and then nosed some more. When all the glasses were empty, I let them sit for a few more minutes, then nosed the empty glasses to see what scent remained.
Colour: coppery red
Nose: butter tarts, brown sugar, a tiny bit of acetone (which disappeared quickly), maple (like the icing in maple cookies), some vanilla, a familiar rye spiciness (much like nutmeg), and from the NEAT glass I also picked up a cereal note that reminded me of Cheerios...unfortunately, even the tiniest bit of water overpowered the nose;
Palate: thick and rounded, although not as gentle on the palate as Highwood's Centennial 10yr; spices - ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, some pepper; vanilla and more maple; the addition of water made it more buttery and creamier;
Finish: fairly short, with gingery kick and nice warming sensation; adding a few drops of water seemed to kick up the spices in the finish quite a bit;
Balance: overall, I'd say it was fairly well balanced, and while I would definitely take the Double Barrel Reserve over the Barrel Select, a bottle of Copper Pot Reserve costs less than half of what a bottle of Double Barrel Reserve will run you, and I enjoyed the Copper Pot Reserve a lot more;
Empty Glass: cedar wood shingles, vanilla, nutmeg; and
Final Thoughts: a good whisky, and a fine example of what higher end Canadian whisky can be; good, but not great; certainly, in my experience at least, significantly better than either the Barrel Select or Gibson's Finest 12yr, although not nearly as good as the Copper Pot Reserve or the Centennial 10yr.
As noted above, the Double Barrel Reserve is a bit pricy - $59.95 at the LCBO as of October 7, 2013 - for what it is. The Copper Pot Reserve is less than half of this - $28.45 - and I found it a more enjoyable whisky. So, from an economic point of view, I'd definitely go with the Copper Pot Reserve, but I certainly wouldn't turn down a glass of Double Barrel Reserve if it was offered.