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Forty Creek Spike (Honey Spiced) Whisky

Review: Forty Creek Spike Honey Spiced Whisky    78/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published August 18, 2015

Forty Creek Spike Honey Spiced Whisky is produced by the Forty Creek Distillery (now owned by Campari). Former owner of the distillery and brand, John Hall is the Whisky Maker (as he likes to refer to himself) at Forty Creek, and this spirit was produced under his direction.

According to the label on the bottle the ingredients are, Canadian Whisky (presumable John Hall’s flagship whisky Forty Creek Barrel Select), sugar, and natural flavors (presumable honey and spices). It is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

FC SpikeIn the Bottle 4.5/5

John Hall presumable used his flagship Forty Creek Barrel Select as the base whisky for this honey spiced offering, and so it is no surprise that he also used the same bottle (with a different label of course) to house the spirit. The label looks sharp. In case you do not know the story, the flavoured whisky appears to be paying homage to the construction of the first Trans Canada railway completed by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company.

At 9:22 AM, on November 7, 1885,  CPR railroad financier Donald Smith drove in “The Last Spike” which signified the completion of the first railway to stretch across the entire country. The story of The Last Spike is told in classrooms across Canada and the Trans Canada Railway has become a strong symbol of Canadian Unity.

In the Glass   8/10

When the spirit is poured into my glass the added sugar and honey are quite apparent. The spirit is sluggish and telltale notes of honey reach the breezes above the glass. The honey notes are not nearly as penetrating as is the case with most honeyed spirits, and I suspect the reason that John Hall added sugar as well as honey to the spirit for sweetening was to diffuse the intensity which honey can bring.

The spirit caries a deep golden colour with reddish hues visible in the glass. The breezes are mild, and along with the notes of honey are additional notes of butterscotch, vanilla, banana, ginger and cinnamon. I suspect I will get a stronger hit of spice on the palate as with sluggish, sweetened whiskies the aromas usually struggle to free themselves of the sugar and remain steadfast in the glass.

In the Mouth 46/60

The mouth-feel is somewhat syrupy and the sweetness of sugar and honey dominate. We can discern some of the underlying whisky in that the sweetness quickly moves to a honey-toffee which represents the melding of that sweetness into the wood spices of the Barrel Select Whisky. There is indeed more heat than was apparent on the nose. Cinnamon, black pepper and cloves come to mind, although even these strong spices are somewhat restrained by the sweetness. I seem to taste hints of red licorice as well.

The spirit is certainly a mixer, although a drop of ice does help quell the sweetness making sipping tolerable. I preferred a mix with ginger-ale and a squeeze of lemon. Mixing with cola seems to accentuate the sweetness.

In the Throat  11.5/15

The syrupy body and the heightened sweetness make the spirit somewhat cloying. The spiciness is nice in the finish (in particular a little hit of ginger); however, it would be fair to say that the exit is relatively short.

The Afterburn  8/10

The Spike Honey Spiced Whisky is a nice spiced/flavoured spirit from Forty Creek. It mixes well with ginger ale, and will therefore serve as a nice back deck indulgence during what is left of the rest of my summer.

You may read some of my other reviews of  Liqueurs and Flavoured Spirits (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Recipes:

Here is a long tall cocktail which is sure to please everyone on the back deck on a hot sunny day:

Spiced MammyThe Honey Spiked Mammy

The Honey Spiked Mammy

2 oz  Forty Creek Spike
1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
dash or two of Sugar Syrup
1/2 cup cracked ice
Ginger Ale
Thin Strips of Lime

Remove thin strips of lime peel from a fresh lime
Fill a tall highball glass half full of chipped ice
Add the lemon juice and the Forty Creek Spike Whisky
Top with ginger ale
Add a few threads of lime peel and stir gently.

Remember, my aim is not to help you drink more…it is to help you drink better!

If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!


As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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