I have a couple of new Forty Creeks lying around, both of which I had tasted before but come from (I think) different batches. Let's compare each to the standard Barrel Select.
The Double Barrel, like their standard Forty Creek (and like most Canadian whiskies) mature each component grain (rye, corn and malted barley) separately, in various barrel types. With this one, they marry the whiskies together in ex-bourbon barrels from Kentucky (I have no idea which distillery). This is Lot 240 - and also strangely features a Distillery No. 54-SL-253. Anyone know what that means? This comes from a mini that was attached to a bottle of Barrel Select I purchased (primarily to make whisky sours).
The colour is a medium-to-dark copper. On the nose we have toasted nuts (almonds and walnuts), vanilla, toffee, rye spice and coconut. You really get the bourbon barrel influence here. Creme brûlée. Buttered popcorn. Quite soft, but it's a little bit metallic. Water brings out more rye and malt. Better than I remember...
On the palate it's a little astringent and even more metallic (betraying its youth, methinks). Still, it features many of the soft notes that are apparent on the nose, with papaya, rosewater and grapefruit pith. Oakier than the nose. Creamier, and with more caramel, with water. It works but a little less successfully.
The fairly long finish is spicier, a little chalky and too prickly. I had a Double Barrel years ago and didn't like it at all; I'm sure this is from a more recent lot and if so, it has improved. I'm tasting it side-by-side with Barrel Select, and I'm not sure which one I like better. The Double Barrel is softer and nuttier, the Barrel Select more robust and fuller-bodied. I previously scored the Barrel Select an 87 but right now I find them different but fairly equal.
@talexander, Thanks for another set of helpful tasting notes. Head2Head tastings are my favourite. My first bottle of a Forty Creek Special Release was Double Barrel Reserve. It was okay. Eighteen months later when I revisited the bottom half of that bottle it was much improved, creamy and sweet like a Wurther's Original (R).
This was my first premium Canadian, and one of the first premium whiskies I ever purchased. Haven't had it for a while, so I won't comment on the review--I do recall liking it quite a bit.