Although I rarely get to Forty Creek whiskies now that there are so many open bottles in my cabinet, and I’ve been more preoccupied with Wiser’s / Corby’s on the Canadian front, this is probably my favourite of the FC special releases (This was released, I believe, in 2013). @Paddockjudge was instrumental in helping me to accumulate a few of these as I entered the game a little late. Interestingly, I have reviewed later expressions but never this one.
I opened my second bottle of this on October 1, 2017, to celebrate the election of Jagmeet Singh as the leader of my party. He had run on a slogan of “Love and Courage” and I had chosen this bottle as the one that would best symbolize his victory.
Fast forward to Sept. 18 (still here in Toronto). I got a call from party HQ asking me to please say yes to being a candidate. I’d be running against 2 other doctors and because an independent MP is running for re-election all eyes will be on this riding on election night.
Today I put on my “election suit” and went to a rally with the leader. I’d met him before but this time we got to chat and take photos together. So coming home, as I work to get my “candidate stuff” in order (and do some charting - I still have to work for a living), I decided it was a fitting time to post a review of this whisky.
This expression is reviewed in a Highland glass my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.
Rich caramel and syrup, rye spices, apples and other fruit in the background. A little hot. Very nice nose. Minimal difference with water.
Sweet arrival, with lots of spices in the development. I get sweet, cooked apples. Nice, thick, slightly oily mouthfeel. A little alcohol nip. This has rich flavour. Water makes it even richer with a mouth feel (not the taste) like the honey left at the bottom of your teacup. (23/25)
Quite short, a little sweet with some pepper in the throat.
Beautifully balanced, both between nose and palate and within the palate
Score: Neat - 88/100 With Water: 89/100
Overall score based on enjoyment: 90/100
One of the downsides of having so many good whiskies in my cabinet is that I don’t get back to some of them as often as I like. On the plus side, it’s like discovering a gem all over again.
I hope I enjoy the campaign as much as I enjoy this whisky!
@Hewie most of the top 5% Canadian whiskies will be available to you only if you travel in Canada, and only then if you know where, when, and how to get some of them. In 2011 I read about all of these Canadian whiskies that Jim Murray was scoring very highly, none of which I could buy in Maryland 500 miles from the Canadian border. So I traveled up there with my sister on a Canadian whisky exploration and buying trip and bought a bunch of them. She, my late wife, and I have been back to Canada about 10-12 more times since then, meeting and tasting with our 15+ Canadian whisky friends in Ontario and Quebec. When we started in April 2011 Canadian whisky was very early into a renaissance which has become much more manifest only in the last couple of years. In 2011 that renaissance was not obvious. It is now, for those who have the opportunity to buy and taste the Canadian special release products.
If you are used to drinking only malt whiskies or blended Scotch whiskies there will be an adjustment in getting used to the flavours from whiskies made primarily from corn, rye, and wheat. You may or may not acquire the taste for them, just as you may or may not acquire a taste for US ryes or bourbons. (yes, I put rye first because I like it better.)
Forty Creek had several nice special releases: John's Private Cask # 1, Port Wood Reserve, Heart of Gold, and Evolution. These were one-off special releases, back in the days when the charismatic founder, John Hall, still ran the show and before the current big multinational corporate ownership. @Nozinan I've only had one taste of Heart of Gold thus far, and I was not impressed by that one taste. I hope it was an outlier, and I hope that I will greatly enjoy the unopened bottle of Heart of Gold which I bought when it was released several years ago.
Also interesting is that because of the current multinational corporate world Canadian products are sometimes bottled in the US, often at higher ABV than they are released in Canada. Some of those products are higher end products unavailable in Canada. It took the last two years of Lot 40 Cask Strength to get Canadian whisky released in Canada above 50% ABV.
@Hewie It has a heart of gold. I’m not a supertaster so I rarely get 40 smells and flavours. But there is a complexity with the flavours and the mouthfeel that is quite exceptional.