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I've got mixed feelings about Forty Creek. John Hall helped shape a Canadian whisky revival, but FC's offerings are notoriously inconsistent in my experience. I've tasted some batches of bottom shelf Forty Creek Barrel Select that were phenomenal, and some that should never have passed quality control. The Copper Pot Reserve has even wider batch variations in my experience, with some of it tasting like vodka served in a glass that previously contained whisky, and some batches tasting like pure heaven. Oy! The Port Wood Reserve, to my knowledge, is no longer available, so I was fortunate to receive a sample and try one of the most sought-after bottles on the Canadian interweb...
Sample provided by @Nozinan 45% abv, bottle opened in 2012, gassed after each use, and sample poured on April 18, 2018.
- Nose (undiluted): Werther's Original hard caramels, plums, cocoa powder, cinnamon, orange zest, dates, figs, and a bit of oak spices
- Palate (undiluted): rich and sweet on arrival, wonderful "fat" texture, plenty of rich dark toffee, brown sugar, figs, dates, oranges, a bit of oak
- Finish: medium length, dark chocolate, salted toffee (Skor bars?), plums, figs, with oranges lingering
Why aren't more Forty Creek whiskies bottled at 45%? Why don't they make more whisky like the Port Wood Reserve? Forty Creek makes some very good whisky, but this is another level. This is rich, dark, fruity, chocolatey, with absolutely no spirit-driven bitterness, which creeps into some batches of the Barrel Select and Copper Pot Reserve. Tasting this whisky was a bittersweet experience. It highlights what Forty Creek CAN be when things go right. But it also brings into sharp relief the areas where the distillery is lagging: quality control.