Forty Creek has a reputation for creating delicious whisky. Many of their releases have been innovative, unique, and anything but trendy.
John Hall, the founder of Kittling Ridge/Forty Creek has been credited with being the catalyst for the recent Canadian Whisky Renaissance. With Hall's departure from Forty Creek, after the sale to the multi-national wine and spirits distributor Compari, a huge void was left in the tightly controlled Canadian distillery. Recent Ltd Ed releases have not lived up to the enormous popularity enjoyed during the Hall era.
In May of this year I engaged in a conversation with the always affable and enlightening Chris Thompson, Brand Ambassador for Forty Creek. During our chat, which took place at the end of the whisky soaked evening, I was treated to a taste of FC Heritage. It struck me as somewhat older than the recent releases that were dominated by (far too) young corn whisky. Chris confirmed my suspicion and indicated that older whiskies were employed in the 2017 Special Release.
Fast forward to today. Yes, there is older whisky in this blend, it is quite evident. The nose is rich and welcoming with a huge waft of cinnamon and raisins. A few more minutes reveal cacao, rich dark chocolate, toffee and green apples...and a sharp spirit note that eventually fades...apparently not all of the young whisky has been eliminated from this iteration. The entry is soft and chewy, very soft. Toffee, vanilla, a wisp of cinnamon followed by a wave of clean oak pierced by a peppery spike, fading into a warm, sharp exit and accented by the continuing pepper, fueled by heat from rye...fading into a dry sweet finish hinting at citric pith. A well balanced whisky, moderately complex. Apparently Forty Creek did not get an invitation to the Canadian Higher Proof Party. 40% abv!?! Campari, oh, oh!...what were you thinking? A definite improvement over recent releases. Welcome back Forty Creek. This is a step in the right direction.