Whisky Review: Forty Creek Portwood Reserve
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 29, 2009
On September 15, 2009, Forty Creek introduced to the world, (well actually just to Ontario, Canada) a brand new whisky, Forty Creek Portwood Reserve Canadian Whisky. Luckily for me, I had advanced notice. A posting on the Forty Creek website informed all who visited that the whisky was coming, and that it would be severely limited. Only 3000 bottles; and, available only in Ontario Canada. So I emailed my good friend Terry Martin who works for the distillery and reserved a case of individually numbered bottles for myself. Then I arranged (which all who reserved bottles could arrange) for each one to be signed to me by John Hall, the Master Distiller. The people who work at Forty Creek are good at things like this. Last year they arranged for me to get a case of their fantastic Icewine and Brandy with personalized labels for my wife and my 20th wedding anniversary.
Living in Alberta presented problems in getting these fine products to myself, but I have friends in Ontario who do not mind picking up my goods at the Distillery. I guess I should reiterate a little information about the Forty Creek Whiskies which I wrote in my last review of the Forty Creek Barrel Select.
Forty Creek Whiskies are the brainchildren of Master Distiller John Hall. John Hall bought the Kittling Ridge Estates Winery in 1992. Although primarily a winemaker, when John discovered a small pot copper still on the estate he couldn’t resist the urge to experiment with another product he loved… whisky. The wine making heritage combined with the love of whisky has produced what I consider to be a unique Canadian Whisky. Each batch of whisky is produced upon this small pot copper still, but what makes Forty Creek special is that John doesn’t use a single mash for his whisky like other producers. He makes three separate batches. A corn mash produces a corn whisky, a barley mash produces a barley whiskey, and a rye mash produces a rye whisky. Each whisky is aged separately in a variety of oak barrels, and then blended and finished in sherry casks. The sherry is actually made right at the winery so Forty Creek can utilize their own sherry casks for the final finishing.
The Portwood Reserve has been constructed in the same manner. The difference is in the finishing. Beginning in 1993 John began to construct Port Pipes for making his own Port Wine. These port pipes were used to finish the Portwood Reserve Whisky, rather than the Sherry casks. The result is a unique Canadian whisky, which preserves all of the heritage of Forty Creek, yet raises itself to a new standing within their whisky line.
Here is my review:
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