Show rating data charts
Distribution of ratings for this:
From the description on the website, it is not immediately clear what sets John's Private Cask apart from other Forty Creek whiskies, or other Canadian whiskies in general. The impression I get is that this is a "reserve whisky", the distiller having set aside casks deemed to be of above-average quality. Also, no fancy wood finishing was implemented, allowing the grains to show their full character.
The nose is subtle. It is not the sweet toffee and vanilla of typical Canadian whisky. Rather you get toasted walnut, hints of fresh oak, dried fruit (dates, apricots). Definitely smells like Forty Creek.
The whisky is silky in the mouth but it quickly hits you with a bracing tartness and then a whole load of spice. The sweetness is mostly of a dried-fruit variety, as well as orange peel. The spices peak quickly and then fade, leaving toasty nut flavours. For a soft-spoken whisky there is a lot going on here.
The finish is long and leaves traces of that dried fruit flavour. There is not a trace of unwanted sourness or bitterness.
True to his word, John Hall showcases the component grains in this bottling. One gets the feeling that a higher than normal proportion of rye was used, but traces of creamy malt also make their presence felt. This is a different style of Canadian whisky; subtle and sophisticated.