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Forty Creek is the life’s work of wine maker turned whisky maker, John Hall. This whisky-savant’s artisanal expressions are truly unique and have become marked by a style that is now unmistaken.
Today’s nosing is of Forty Creek Heart of Gold Canadian Whisky Limited Edition bottle 8998 of 9000, 43%abv 750ml. It comes in an elegant, yet sturdy clear glass bottle with a cork stopper and an eye-catching black cardboard sleeve. The heavily weighted base, rounded shoulders, long neck and stretched-flask style body make for an easy pour.
This September 2013 limited release was launched at Forty Creek World Headquarters in Grimsby, Ontario, Canada and is from Lot 1972; coincidentally, 1972 is the year that iconic Canadian rocker Neil Young released the highly acclaimed album ‘Harvest’ which featured the chart topping single ‘Heart of Gold’ (well played Mr. Hall) with the angelic sounds of James Taylor and Lind Ronstadt providing backup vocals.
Nose: Open bottle permeates the air with rum-soaked raisins and apricots. In the glass – McIntosh toffee, cherry cola, and green grapes followed by cinnamon, clove oil, peaches, moscovado and a hint of mint/lavender and very faint anice. 24/25
Palate: Buttery goodness and sweet sun-dried Thompson raisins. Prunes and a hint of espresso followed by herbal notes of dried chopped basil. Grapefruit pithiness accompanied by ginger and a light dusting of pepper which dances from the tip of the tongue to the back pallet and through the exit, into the finish. 23/25
Finish: Medium dry finish with a hint of maple syrup and the lingering bitterness of citric pith, ginger and more pepper…. all the while taunting me to repeat the process…and I do. 22/25
Balance: This whisky showcases the spicy and flavourful characteristics of Canadian rye grain, which are too often muted by wood derived congeners. Corn and barley play a backup role and lend a meatiness and creaminess; although subtle oak is present, one cannot help but detect similarities to cognac, which is likely a result of the use of wine barrels (sherry) for finishing. There is some kind of magic happening here; never before have I tasted a rye forward whisky with this level of complexity. 23/25
This is a ‘must have’ whisky. With a limited release of 9,000 bottles; 1,200 in Texas, 720 in Ontario, and a few thousand at the launch, that leaves approximately 5,000 bottles for the rest of the world. Next September cannot come soon enough.
Here is a link to Neil Young performing the studio version of ‘Heart of Gold’.