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The Forager Botanical Whisky

Review: The Forager Botanical Whisky   (86.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted On March 15, 2020

Recently Forty Creek Distillery (owned by the Campari Group) released The Forager Botanical Whisky. It is sort of a Gin meets whisky spirit made with a light, yet complex Canadian whisky which has been infused with wild sourced Canadian Botanicals. (According to the back of the bottle the spirit is made from Canadian Whisky and these natural botanicals: Juniper Berries, spruce tips, mugwort, Labrador Tea, Sweet Fern.)

Looking at the botanical list, you can see why I made the reference to gin as Juniper is the foundation of the piny spirit. The other botanicals should be leaving their mark as well. Spruce tips have a resin-like flavour with hints of menthol and citrus. Mugwort has been used in as a bitter flavouring for meats and beverages since ancient times. Labrador tea is an herbal tea which (according to wikipedia has been a favorite beverage among Athabaskan First Nations, and Inuit people for generations. Sweet Fern is another herbal tea ingredient with a slightly bitter resin-like flavour which apparently was consumed by early North American settlers and may well have been used by indigenous First Nations peoples much earlier.

The Forager Botanical Whisky is bottle at 40 % alcohol by volume. 

In the Bottle 4.5/5

As you can see, The Forager Botanical Whisky is sold in the squat cylindrical bottle shown to the left. The stable bottle is easy to hold in your hand, and the medium long neck makes it easy to pour into your glass. I like the wood topped synthetic cork closure although I would prefer if the plastic seal over the closure was coloured to give the presentation more ‘pop’.

The label shows us a circle of botanicals which have been used to flavour the Canadian Whisky. All in all this is a good presentation which uses a common sense balance between cost and design.

In the Glass 8.5

The spirit has a pale gold colour (similar to straw) and the nose brings both whisky-like scents of vanilla, butterscotch, almond and fine wood and grain spices, but also a mild impression of juniper. Their is a vague impression of licorice and angelica, which might be associated with the other botanicals or perhaps an association conjured in my mind by the gin-like juniper scent.

I like the aroma which represents a nice melding of the Canadian Whisky with the natural botanicals. The whisky is not lost rather it remains the focus which the botanicals acting as a nice accent.

In the Mouth 52/60

This is really nice! The whisky flavours are predominant with fine oak and grain spice combined with vanilla almond and butterscotch. However accenting these flavours are light touches of juniper and hints of licorice. The is a light menthol coolness combined with a mild bitterness which reminds me of cedar but which is probably a combination of the herbal botanicals each adding their own peculiar flavour in concert.

I mixed a little of The Forager with Ginger-ale and I really liked it. This would make a fine tall mixed drink for afternoon barbecues. Then I tried a more complicated cocktail with lemon and grapefruit, and the result was even better. I suspect that we could mix many more styles of mixed drink (Forty Creek recommends as serving with tonic water), as so my conclusion is that the spirit is a winner which should please both the whisky enthusiast and the gin enthusiast alike.

In the throat  13/15

The Forager Botanical Whisky is smooth enough to sip on its own. Although the whisky is dominant in the delivery, the botanicals really find their way in the finish. It is a peculiar light bitter flavour although I struggle to define it is nevertheless a very enjoyable compliment to the light Canadian Whisky.

The Afterburn  8.5/10

I am extremely positive with respect to Forty Creek’s new Botanical Whisky. As I am also a gin enthusiast, I may be more inclined to enjoy the botanical mixture which includes juniper berries. That does not diminish my feeling that this is not only a nice spirit to sip neat or over ice; but it is also a wonderful spirit which we can mix in tall or short cocktail!

You may read some of my other Liqueur and Favoured Spirit Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.

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Suggested Cocktail

Maureen of the Pines

1 1/2 oz  The Forager Botanical Whisky
3/4 oz  Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Triple Sec
1/4 oz Sugar Syrup
ice
Lemon or Lime slice for garnish

Add the  Ingredients into a cocktail Shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a slice of citrus
Enjoy Responsibly

Note: 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!

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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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