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Forty Creek Heart of Gold

Harmony of Flavour

0 2592

@paddockjudgeReview by @paddockjudge

2nd Oct 2013

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Balance
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  • Overall
    92

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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’.

grooveshark.com//…

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25 comments

@talexander
talexander commented

This is a fantastic review! Super well written. And spot on. An excellent Canadian whisky, though I haven't opened my bottle yet, I remember exactly how it tasted (though how I remember anything from that weekend is beyond me).

6 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

Congratulations, @Paddockjudge, on a very nicely written first Connosr review! Well, I am certainly going to have to get me a taste of this Forty Creek Heart of Gold. And hearing Heart of Gold from Neil Young's Harvest album puts me right back in the dorm at college, dropping about 40 years.

6 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@talexander Good luck in NYCity. @Victor I have a bottle that is at your disposal, No. 1933.

For the benefit of connosr members who are not aware of the significance of 1933 - The Eighteenth Amendment (1920 The Volstead Act)establishing National Prohibition was repealed by the Twenty-First Amendment 1933. HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN!

6 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

This is indeed a very good whisky....probably the most unique of all the special releases I've tried. Thanks for inspiring me to pick up a bottle or three.

5 years ago 0

@JasonHambrey
JasonHambrey commented

so you snatched up 8998! I was looking for a high numbered bottle but my reservation came up too late to get that close to 9000. well-written review - all agreed here. fantastic, unique, intriguing, complex - an excellent whisky. Very much looking forward to Forty Creek Evolution, though I sometimes am a bit hesitant about wine-finishes.

5 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@JasonHambrey - Yes, a very unique, intriguing, complex, and delicious whisky is 'Heart of Gold'.

I am excited for the arrival of 'Evolution' the 2014 limited release and hoping John Hall has nailed another of his signature offerings. Red wine finishes are not common and likely because it is difficult to marry whisky and a red wine...if it can be done successfully, John Hall is one of the few who can pull it off. I've placed my bet by pre-ordering a dozen; that's a wager nearing a thousand dollars.

It would be nice to meet you in September at Whisky Weekend in Grimsby...last year was a great time - won't drop names for fear of leaving out someone - there was a solid group of Connosr members in attendance and a lot of other fantastic people from the whisky community.

Cheers!

5 years ago 0

@JasonHambrey
JasonHambrey commented

I will be there, and yes, I do trust John Hall in this - I've also put some money down.

5 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

If 'Evolution' doesn't work, I bet people will blame Campari.

5 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@talexander - Oh yeah, totally agree; however, I am optimistic and eagerly await the release date.

Plan B: my favourite cocktail is red wine and ginger ale on the rocks, my second favourite is whisky and ginger ale on the rocks...win/win.

5 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@talexander, Evolution works and it is a wonderful creation. John Hall has once again hit it out of the park. Campari won't be shouldering any blame for this release.

5 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

By the way, what is this "Forty Creek Spike Honey Spiced" listed on the LCBO app? I don't see it on their website. Did you try this?

5 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@talexander, I did try "Forty Creek Spike Honey Spiced". I am of the opinion that there is a market segment that will appreciate this value-priced offering. It would probably be very nice in a hot cup of orange pekoe tea...nuff said.

5 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@paddockjudge It tastes like the bottom part of a cup of tea with honey that wasn't fully mixed. Or, a more seasonal reference, like the inside crust of a honeycake made in a bundt pan

5 years ago 0

@JasonHambrey
JasonHambrey commented

so...@paddockjudge @Nozinan you like Evolution more than Heart of Gold? How did the wine cask finish effect the Forty Creek product relative to the Port Cask? I am eager to get my bottle...but I still have a week to wait.

5 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@JasonHambrey, I like Evolution, it is another unique limited release expression from John Hall and very different from Port Wood and Heart of Gold, yet it is unmistakeably Forty Creek. Port Wood is addictive. John's Private Cask was the pinnacle of Canadian artisanal expressions when it was released. Heart of Gold is one of the most delicious whiskies, ever. Evolution has a lot to live up to.

5 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

I finally tried Evolution - unfortunately, was not crazy about it...but that's for a later review.

5 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@talexander - sorry to hear you didn't like it...but I guess that leaves more for the rest of us. Is it the wine influence? I admit it is strong.

5 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@talexander, 'Chameleon Under Cork' might have been an alternative name for this FC expression. I have nosed this three times and scored it 91, 89, and 87. This is not my favourite FC special release to date, but I do find it enjoyable.

I wonder how many creative experiments are in the FC pipeline at one time?

5 years ago 0

@JasonHambrey
JasonHambrey commented

I have also often wondered how many experiments are underway...what made John Hall pull out Heart of Gold last year rather than leaving it another year? It must be quite the process. @nozinan I have been worried about the wine influence dominating too much - but I figured a wine-maker ought to be able to balance that out well. We'll see - I'm picking some up this weekend and then I'll know

5 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

@Nozinan, I'd have to sit down with it but yeah for me it's the wine influence - and I'm very iffy on wine influences in most whiskies.

5 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

Enjoying a dram of FC Heart of Gold from a bottle that has been opened for more than a year- actually one of three bottles opened last year with two surviving. This is every bit as delicious as when it was opened.

5 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

I'm beginning to suspect that HoG is my favourite of the special releases. I must get around to my own review at some point.

5 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

Reminiscent of 32 YO Delord Bas-Armagnac 1981. While nosing a pour of this exquisite French brandy I was reminded of the delicious bouquet of Forty Creek Heart of Gold. The similarities are incredible. I am now doing a h2h and I must say, at half the price of Delord, this Forty Creek is a value play.

4 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@paddockjudge

Not many drams have me reflecting the next day. I am still thinking of the dram I had from a freshly opened bottle last night. It cements my view that it is my favourite of the releases. I can now confirm by trying it H2H with Confederation Oak (original). But not today.

Thank you again for beefing up my inventory of this expression that is now a unicorn.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

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